Survivor: Aron’s Story

Alex Teplish  2015

 

Aron is a typical Soviet boy, growing up in the Ukraine in the 1930s in the multi-cultural city of Odessa. But Aron is also Jewish, which means trouble is looming. World War II begins, and before long the alliance between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union falls apart. Aron and his family narrowly escape being killed in the Odessa Massacre, only to face a daily struggle to survive during the cruel and bloody occupation.

The twists and turns of this true memoir (written by Aron’s Grandson and based partly on Aron’s interview with the Shoah Foundation) are unbelievable—except that they are true—and they will keep readers turning pages of this compelling graphic novel.

Part 2 of the book offers up, in straightforward prose, the historical facts that led up to World War II, as well as the long history of anti-Semitism. This section, which takes up almost as many pages as Aron’s narrative, is much less artful, and although it’s helpful for context, probably should have been distilled and condensed down. Pages of information, for example, on the Jewish Diaspora or on Eugenics, may be interesting to some readers, but many may wish that the story, with perhaps just a brief historical note, had been allowed to speak for itself.



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