“I was afraid of everyone and everything… I was not afraid of the nuns. I knew they were rescuing me and that I would experience nothing bad from them. Mostly I was afraid of the children of my age, that they would denounce me. I knew that I was different, that I was a Jew, and was therefore someone condemned to death. I learned this very quickly. I knew I must not take my clothes off in anyone’s presence.”
This is the testimony of a boy who was ten years old when he arrived at a Polish convent where he found refuge. It is one of many such testimonies recorded by survivors who were children at the time of the Holocaust. The fate of those children during those terrible days was one of the most charged and sensitive issues relating to the desperate struggle for their lives, and can only leave us with feelings of wonder and admiration. This book is the result of Bogner’s unique and pathfinding research relating to the rescue of children who lived and survived under an assumed identity in Poland among various strands of the Christian population – in towns, in villages and in convents – as well as the efforts made by various bodies after the war to locate the children. At the heart of this carefully documented drama is the author’s discussion of the fate of the child survivors as he explores their lives in alien Christian surroundings and their tortuous journey back to the Jewish fold. The book was awarded the Buchman Prize of Yad Vashem for Holocaust Literature.
“Bogner’s memories break through, spurring him on to write them down, but he prefers to keep his personal memories to himself and publish a comprehensive, fascinating book summing up his one-of-a-kind research on saving children hidden in Poland under false identities among an alienating and mostly hostile Christian population…” [Makor Rishon].