Anton the Dove Fancier and Other Tales of the Holocaust, expanded edition
Extraordinary true stories of the author's teenaged years in Nazi-occupied Poland.
Recipient of the 1991 PEN/Martha Albrand Special Citation for Nonfiction; Winner of a Christopher Award
This collection of extraordinary true stories—including nine stories new to this expanded edition— illuminates the experiences of a young Polish boy before World War II, through the gathering storm of Nazism, into the death camps, to poignant reunions many years later. Here we watch young Bernard break curfew to secure a rare chicken for the High Holidays—only to see it given to the Christian janitor because it is not kosher; we meet Alexandra, a Polish resistance fighter who enlists the teenaged Bernard in the cause but who perishes while he survives; and we share Bernard's fear as he spends one very uncomfortable night—hours after his liberation—in the seemingly sympathetic home of the parents of a young SS officer.
About the Author
Bernard Gotfryd was born in Radom, Poland. During World War II he was involved with the Polish underground until being imprisoned by the Nazis. He spent time in six concentration camps before his liberation from Gusen II in May of 1945. Two years later Gotfryd emigrated to the United States, where he served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps before joining the staff of Newsweek in 1957. He was moved to begin recording his Holocaust memories when he photographed the Pope's visit to Poland in 1983—Gotfryd's first visit to Poland in forty years. Currently he divides his time between writing and photography at his home in Forest Hills, New York.
"From time to time one comes across a book of true tales that not only has the power to be painfully moving, but also terribly informing about what it was like to survive the Holocaust. Bernard Gotfryd, in his true tales, has given us such a book."
"Thirty autobiographical stories whose banal details and well-placed silences haunt long after the book is finished."
"Written with integrity and honesty, Anton helps us to recognize human strength and precariousness, and the complexity of human existence. The book rouses our responsibility and makes us face people and history through the specific voices Gotfryd lets us hear, and the specific faces and places he lets us see."
"[A] fine collection of 30 true stories, some nostalgic, others heartbreaking, all of them moving."
"Astonishing and important... quite marvelous... these stories are real pearls."
"Bernard Gotfryd... shows himself to be an exemplary man, mild and strong, never desperate, in constant search for goodness even in the most extreme situations. We are grateful to him for this book because it makes us think."
"An important contribution to the literature of memory."
"The book gave me a bit of hope about the worst things in us, and that is an achievement."
"Poignant and painful reading... so immediate that it is as if it... is happening today."
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