The Fight­er

Jean-Jacques Grief
  • Review
By – November 11, 2011
Moshe Wis­ni­ak is a poor Jew­ish boy from War­saw, who can’t run away from the Pol­ish boys who attack him because his legs are too weak, so he learns to use his fists and his head as well as oth­er weapons to defend him­self and his broth­ers. Sur­vival of the fittest is dis­played here in Maurice’s sto­ry based on a real life man, Mau­rice Gar­barz. The fam­i­ly moves to Paris in 1929. Moshe now Mau­rice, to be more French, takes up box­ing at a Jew­ish sports club. He becomes an ama­teur fly­weight. Mau­rice mar­ries and has a child, but in 1942 the French police round up for­eign Jews and the Ger­mans deport them to the death camp at Auschwitz. This nov­el is told in the first per­son, with lots of dia­logue and jokes. Not for the faint of heart, the author describes the dai­ly cru­el­ty of the SS. The present tense nar­ra­tive vivid­ly describes atroc­i­ties as well as exam­ples of courage, friend­ship and luck. An exam­ple of this is when Mau­rice, who is small of stature, is set to enter­tain the camp guards by fight­ing a dying man. When it comes to end­ing the fight, Mau­rice refus­es to deliv­er the killing blow. For those who say the Jews went to slaugh­ter like sheep, this book high­lights the sto­ry of a Jew­ish hero fought like a man and won. Orig­i­nal­ly writ­ten in French and titled Le Ring de la Mort, this book is often assigned read­ing in French high schools. For ages 14 and up.
Bar­bara Sil­ver­man had an M.L.S. from Texas Woman’s Uni­ver­si­ty. She worked as a children’s librar­i­an at the Cor­pus Christi Pub­lic Libraries and at the Cor­pus Christi ISD before retir­ing. She worked as a vol­un­teer at the Astor Juda­ic Library of the Lawrence Fam­i­ly JCC in La Jol­la, CA. Sad­ly, Bar­bara passed away is 2012.

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