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A boy's world is shattered by the Holocaust.
When German troops come to the small village of Bełzyce, Poland, in 1939, nine-year-old Jakub Szabmacher's world is forever changed. At first the humiliations inflicted by the Germans seem small, but the conditions worsen until eventually Jakub's family and much of his village are murdered, and he is sent to various concentration camps in Poland and Germany, where he struggles to survive the terrible conditions of camp life. Finally liberated in 1945 from the concentration camp in Flossenbürg, Germany, Jakub is befriended by American troops and with their help brought to the United States, where he takes the name Jack Terry. Coauthor Alicia Nitecki, whose grandfather was also imprisoned at Flossenbürg, uses Terry's personal memories to tell young Jakub's story, as well as unpublished memoirs, private letters, and interviews with former inmates of the Flossenbürg concentration camp and the townspeople of Bełzyce and Flossenbürg. Part history, part autobiography, Jakub's World offers an anguished young boy's perspective on the Holocaust.
“In an era in which the term ‘survivor’ often brings to mind a television program touted as ‘a reality show,’ this book is tremendously important. It should be part of the required reading in high schools and colleges across this country. It has been said that if we forget history, we are doomed to repeat it; expanding on that, how we remember is as important as keeping the memory alive. This is a five star book.” — Curled Up with a Good Book
"In the hundreds of Holocaust memoirs I have read over the years, it is rare to see such seamless integration of external documentation and personal narrative. Without a sense of persuasive argumentation or overtly scholarly intrusiveness, the work has an authenticity, an objectivity, while it offers an entirely compelling story of an individual's struggle for survival." Myra Sklarew, author of Over the Rooftops of Time: Jewish Stories, Essays, Poems
"This volume has considerable historical as well as literary merit. By resisting the temptation to turn their story into a struggle between heroes and villains, the coauthors of Jakub's World create a much more honest report of one boy's painful fight to survive, leaving to the reader the challenging task of grasping how he managed to do so." Lawrence L. Langer, editor of Art from the Ashes: A Holocaust Anthology
Alicia Nitecki is Associate Professor of English at Bentley College. She is the author of Recovered Land and the translator of several works, including We Were in Auschwitz by Janusz Nel Siedlecki, Krystyn Olszewski, and Tadeusz Borowski. Jack Terry is a psychoanalyst living in New York, where he specializes in the treatment of Holocaust survivors.