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Memories of Evil


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About the Author

I was born in 1930 in a town called Trencin, in what was then Czechoslovakia -- a country that no longer exists. It is now called Slovakia. I was the only child of a well-to-do Jewish couple. My father was the owner of a store, a kind of department store, in a prime location of the town's principal square. We lived in a large, comfortable apartment above the store. I grew up bi-lingual -- fluent in German, in addition to Slovak. I attended a local Jewish elementary school where, at the age of six, I also started studying Hebrew. Additionally, from the age of eight I received private lessons in English. This peaceful existence was shattered in 1939 when Hitler's Germany annexed the Czech part of the country, with Slovakia becoming a quasi-independent country governed by a local fascist party, firmly allied to Nazi Germany. A firm feature of this Slovak government was its anti-Semitism. A series of anti-Jewish laws was promulgated, ultimately stripping us of our property and all civil rights. In 1942, the Slovak government started deporting the Jewish population to concentration camps in "the east," as the euphemism had it. Between March and November of that year, of a Jewish population of close to 90,000 people, some 60,000 were deported -- the vast majority to their annihilation in extermination camps such as Auschwitz. You can read in my book how my family escaped deportation in 1942; and how we were finally caught in the net and deported in October, 1944. I describe this desperate period in my book: how I was separated from my family and how I survived a succession of six German concentration camps. In 2006, I published my memoir entitled "1000:1 ODDS." My current memoir is an expanded version of my earlier book and is now published under the new title, "Memories of Evil." I immigrated to this country in November, 1946. I mark this event of my life as my rebirth and my new life. After a fruitful and satisfying 68 years in the U.S., the travail of my childhood years -- of what I call my previous life -- ought to be long forgotten. And yet, survivors of the Holocaust cannot forget, cannot forgive. Vestiges of our trauma will remain with us to our last breath. If you want to come a little closer to understanding the Holocaust, read my modest book. It is far from the whole truth, which is beyond human understanding. But it is nothing but the truth, based on fragments of my memory, supplemented by historical research.

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