This is certainly different than any other Holocaust memoir I've ever come across. In a way it's a breath of fresh air because while I'm sure the genre is one of the most honest non-fiction groups, this just can't be anything but.
It struck me that most of the harrowing situations Frister found himself in were outside of the camps. Being in any of the camps was no picnic but the picture I got from this book is that, for the most part, he knew what to expect and it usually stayed along the same lines in each camp. It was his "free" life that was more shocking.
I don't know if the reason there are no pictures included is because Frister has none or if this was a decision of his. I wish some were available. In the beginning and maybe even the middle I really wanted a face to put to his parents and grandparents. Even some of the other players in his life but his family especially.
Roman Frister is definitely the sort of man I don't think many people meet. He totally encompasses both sides of the coin I think and he shows this well in his memoir.
The alternating chapters (some chapters had alternating times/situations within themselves) was annoying to me at first, it wasn't until the last quarter of the book that I got used to it. I still can't decide though if I would have wanted it any other way.
I've been reading books on the Holocaust for over 25 years, and this book stands out as among the most amazing - which is saying a lot because every book written by a survivor of concentration camps is amazing. What makes this book special is that he not only describes his life in memorable detail, but unlike any other book, he talks openly about an especially humiliating event. Also, the title is very meaningful. Every time I think of or see the book, I think back to the humiliating event, and the reason for the title. This is not a book for those newly interested in the Holocaust, but is a must read for those like me who are fascinated by the tenacity of those who survived.
Really harsh, an unsentimental view of life and survival in Nazi concentration camps.
the astonishing story of a survivor of a concentration camp..one mans
instinct for survival