A Promise at Sobibór: A Jewish Boy’s Story of Revolt and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland

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9780299248000: A Promise at Sobibór: A Jewish Boy’s Story of Revolt and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland

A Promise at Sobibór is the story of Fiszel Bialowitz, a teenaged Polish Jew who escaped the Nazi gas chambers. Between April 1942 and October 1943, about 250,000 Jews from European countries and the Soviet Union were sent to the Nazi death camp at Sobibór in occupied Poland. Sobibór was not a transit camp or work camp: its sole purpose was efficient mass murder. On October 14, 1943, approximately half of the 650 or so prisoners still alive at Sobibór undertook a daring and precisely planned revolt, killing SS officers and fleeing through minefields and machine-gun fire into the surrounding forests, farms, and towns. Only about forty-two of them, including Fiszel, are known to have survived to the end of the war.
    Philip (Fiszel) Bialowitz, now an American citizen, tells his eyewitness story here in the real-time perspective of his own boyhood, from his childhood before the war and his internment in the brutal Izbica ghetto to his harrowing six months at Sobibór—including his involvement in the revolt and desperate mass escape—and his rescue by courageous Polish farmers. He also recounts the challenges of life following the war as a teenaged displaced person, and his eventual efforts as a witness to the truth of the Holocaust.
    In 1943 the heroic leaders of the revolt at Sobibór, Sasha Perchersky and Leon Feldhendler, implored fellow prisoners to promise that anyone who survived would tell the story of Sobibór: not just of the horrific atrocities committed there, but of the courage and humanity of those who fought back. Bialowitz has kept that promise.


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About the Author:

Philip (Fiszel) Bialowitz (1925–2016) was a retired jeweler. He frequently spoke in North America and Europe about his experience at Sobibór, including testifying at several war crimes trials, most recently at the German trial of John Demjanjuk in 2010. Joseph Bialowitz is Philip’s son. He is an environmental manager and Holocaust lecturer who lives in California.

From Booklist:

Most of the Nazi concentration camps were brutal slave-labor facilities, in which the deaths resulted from disease, malnutrition, and the sheer brutality of daily life. Sobibor, on the other hand, was designed from inception as an extermination camp. Located within a forested area in Poland, Sobibor had a full array of sophisticated equipment for mass murder, and an estimated 250,000 Jews were killed there in 1942 and 1943. In October 1943, camp inmates revolted, killing guards and staging a mass escape. Few of them survived. Philip Bialowitz, now a retired jeweler living in New York, was one of them. His story, told with the aid of his son Joseph, is riveting, horrifying, and inspiring. Philip’s life in a tiny Polish town before the Nazi invasion was tolerable but tense due to touchy relations between the Jewish and gentile communities. Life in Sobibor is vividly described as hell on earth, and the violent revolt provides an almost joyful emotional release as Jews strike back at their tormentors. This is a superb account of survival and redemption as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy. --Jay Freeman

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Bialowitz, Philip "Fiszel", Bialowitz, J
Editore: University of Wisconsin Press (2010)
ISBN 10: 0299248003 ISBN 13: 9780299248000
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Descrizione libro University of Wisconsin Press, 2010. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110299248003

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