Author: Henry Orenstein
Publisher: Beaufort Books Publishers
ISBN: 979-0-8253-0597-9Click Here To Purchase I Shall Live: Surviving the Holocaust Against All Odds
If you never read anything about the Holocaust, Henry Orenstein's commemorative edition of I Shall Live: Surviving the Holocaust Against All Odds
is a must read and the perfect one with which to start. (The first edition was published nearly a quarter of a century ago).
After briefly filling us in as to what daily life was for Jews in Hrubieszów, Poland, before World War II, Orenstein proceeds to narrate with feverish detail his horrific and dangerous experiences during the Holocaust beginning with his flight east to Russia from Hrubieszów, Poland accompanied by his father, his brothers Sam and Felek. His mother and sister Hanka would remain in Poland. After being captured by the Nazis, Orenstein goes on to describe how he survived and his personal perspective of the conditions and brutality of the concentration camps of Budzyn, Majdanek, Plaszow, Ravensbruck, Saschsenhausen and his final march to freedom. Orenstein believes that in retrospect what kept him alive more than anything else was his intense, almost fanatic desire to live to see Hitler destroyed.
Orenstein informs us that he wrote the book primarily from his own experiences, which for the most part are etched into his memory with unusual clarity. He further states: “A few events were so terrible and were buried so deep in my memory that only when someone who had shared the experience reminded me of them would the whole scene suddenly flash before me, intact in every detail and as fresh as though it was happening at the moment.” And this is exactly how I felt, after reading this unbelievable and true account narrated by one of the few that were fortunate to survive and provide first-hand evidence of an era that was savage, wild and merciless, where the primary objective of the Nazi beasts was to eradicate all Jews. Although, as it should be pointed out, Orenstein does make reference to a few humans who risked their own lives to save a few Jews-one in particular was a Polish woman, Mrs. Lipinska, who years later was acknowledged by Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs museum in Israel, as a non-Jew who risked her life during the Holocaust to save Jews.
In another peculiar twist of events, Orenstein describes the creation of a special and farcical Chemiker Kommando,
which were made up of phony chemists, engineers, and mathematicians, whose goal was to employ Jewish know-how and intelligence for the purpose of inventing a unique gas that would save the Germans from disaster by paralysing the engines of enemy tanks, aircraft, and other motorized vehicles. As a member of this group, he was to some degree sheltered in his incarceration in each of the five concentration camps.
In essence, I Shall Live: Surviving the Holocaust Against All Odds
is more than an excellent vivid chronicle of the events prior to and during the Holocaust. In an expertly voice narration, Orenstein masterly evokes time and place, and provides a clear and precise counterclaim to Holocaust deniers that maliciously spread lies that the genocide of Jews during World War II did not exist or that the number of Jews who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators is exaggerated, as the devious and mad President of Iran, Ahmadinejad would have us believe.
Henry Orenstein immigrated to the USA after the war and became a philanthropist, inventor, and entrepreneur. He was a toymaker who convinced Hasbro to start producing Transformers in the US. Orenstein holds over 100 and other patents, the best-known gave him in the USA exclusive rights to detect and display a player's hidden cards to the audience in poker games, one of the principal reasons that televised poker is so popular today. He is also the creator and executive producer of the Poker Superstars Invitational Tournament
as well as the popular TV show High Stakes Poker
and in 2008 he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Perhaps it was his innate poker playing genes that kept him alive during the Holocaust? Click Here To Purchase I Shall Live: Surviving the Holocaust Against All Odds