One Who Came Back: The Diary of a Jew­ish Survivor

Joseph Katz; Hil­da Reach, trans.; Fore­word by Her­man Taube
  • Review
By – May 11, 2012
The details Josef Katz records can often be over­whelm­ing: the death of friends and com­rades by mur­der, hunger, exhaus­tion, beat­ings, dis­ease, ter­ror and the per­ver­sion of most of the Ger­man guards and sol­diers. Read­ers are wit­ness to the pro­gres­sive dehu­man­iza­tion that Katz and oth­ers were sub­ject­ed to and must mar­vel that any­one sur­vived. It began for Katz in Lubeck, a small Ger­man city, and pro­gressed over the next four years from Riga, Latvia, to the Bik­erniek For­est and the Rum­bu­la For­est where 27,000 were mur­dered, both Jews and Russ­ian pris­on­ers of war. Over the next four years, Katz would expe­ri­ence the worst that Nazis could design in four con­cen­tra­tion camps and a death march. Still, there were occa­sion­al instances of help and good­will, even from one Nazi guard. This mem­oir reached the pub­lic after being stored in a draw­er for 25 years. An impor­tant tes­ti­mo­ny to the fact of the Holo­caust and the amaz­ing resilience of the human spirit.
Mar­cia W. Pos­ner, Ph.D., of the Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al and Tol­er­ance Cen­ter of Nas­sau Coun­ty, is the library and pro­gram direc­tor. An author and play­wright her­self, she loves review­ing for JBW and read­ing all the oth­er reviews and arti­cles in this mar­velous periodical.

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