Moshe Wisniak grew up malnourished and fatherless outside Warsaw at a time when Jews and Poles lived in poverty and violence. When Moshes brothers emigrate to Paris in the 1930s, it means a new life for the whole family, who follow soon after. A decent job, a lovely young wife, and a hobby as an amateur boxer vastly improve Moshes prospects until the day he is rounded up and sent to Auschwitz. There he is tortured, starved, and most shockingly, asked to entertain Nazi soldiers by boxing against dying prisoners.
Moshe wants to survive without killing his comrades, but how? Based on the memoir of his family friend, Jean-Jacques Greif has taken the facts and turned them into a gripping novel about life and death in Auschwitz.
The Fighter has proved very popular in France (where it was first released) as a book to accompany the study of World War II during the first year of High School. Unlike some books chosen for reading in school, it also resonates with young readers: In 2000, it won the five main literary prizes given by French students! (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
School Library Journal - Rita Soltan
In the end, however, Greif reminds readers that one not only needed emotional and physical strength but also a whole lot of luck and cleverness to be able to resist and emerge from the torturous nightmare of the camps. Tough, realistic reading with some raw language.
Booklist - Hazel Rochman
This novel.....may be too much for some readers...[his] present-tense narrative vividly describes the atrocities as well as the importance of courage, friendship, and, especially, luck in the fight for survival.
Greif based the novel on the experiences of his father's friend—not just a witness, but a Jewish hero…It's a spirit that will resonate with readers.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by killa BEST EVER! This book is the best ever. It has a lot of suspense and mystery.
Jews in Poland Jews became a significant part of the Polish population in the 14th century
when they were offered a safe haven by King Casimir the Great after being
expelled en masse from much of Western Europe (including England, Spain, France
and Germany). By the 18th century about 750,000 Jews lived in Poland,
representing about 7% of the Polish population andabout two-thirds of
the world's Jewish population (then estimated at 1.2 million). However, the presence of Jews had always been a source of tension amongst
the Catholic majority, and from the late 18th century anti-Semitism steadily
increased. Of course, there were also groups that opposed anti-Semitism,
but by the 1930s the anti-Semitic forces had by far the upper hand - Jews were excluded from government jobs, quotas prevented many from taking university places, and anti-Jewish riots were common.
When Germany annexed the Western portions of Poland (leaving the Eastern
parts to be annexed by the Soviet Union as a result of the 1939...
"You must understand that I did not become a resistance fighter, a smuggler of Jews, a defier of the SS and the Nazis all at once. One's first steps are always small: I had begun by hiding food under a fence." An amazing, courageous, uplifting autobiography about a brave teenager who was not afraid to get involved.
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