A riveting, well-documented account of survival that’s harrowing, inspiring and unforgettable.

Auschwitz #34207


Debut biographer Geise (The Eighth Sea, 2012) tells the remarkable story of Joe Rubinstein, a survivor of the Holocaust.

The author writes that Rubinstein was born Icek Jakub Rubinsztejn, in Radom, Poland, in the 1920s, “when the world paused from its madness—between the great and terrible war and the one yet to come.” Along with three brothers, he was raised in a devoutly Jewish home. His family was poor, and barely scraped by after the early death of Rubinstein’s father. At the age of 12, Rubinstein was hired at a lumberyard, where he worked to supplement the family income. Later, he learned shoemaking, and in that job, he first became aware of the Nazi movement and growing anti-Semitism. Then, in September 1939, his world changed, as the Germans invaded Poland. Joe and his brother Abe are forced to dig trenches around the city for fortification, and he experienced the cruelty of Nazi commanders who randomly shot and killed people in the work camp. When the Nazis sequestered the Jews of Radom, Rubinstein was taken prisoner––barefoot and in the middle of the night––and shipped to a prison camp at Auschwitz, where he was stripped, shaved and tattooed with the number 34207. He remembered thinking, “You mark me like an item to be sold! Who are you to do this to me?” The harrowing details of his next several years are mind-numbing and nauseating; indeed, Geise’s account of the horrid prison conditions, beatings and mental abuse almost defies human understanding. The disturbing black-and-white archive photographs accompanying the text will nearly overwhelm readers, who may need to take frequent breaks from the material. Fortunately, in the final section, Geise recounts Rubinstein’s inspiring climb out of darkness, as he finds true love, starts a new life in America and, in an ironic twist, becomes one of New York’s most renowned shoe designers. With its thorough chapter endnotes, helpful timeline, extensive research citations and suggested discussion questions, this biography may serve as an ideal teaching tool for students of the Holocaust.

A riveting, well-documented account of survival that’s harrowing, inspiring and unforgettable.

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-939919-12-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: Merry Dissonance Press

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2015

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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