Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Beat the Reaper

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Beat the Reaper

A Novel

by Josh Bazell

Beat the Reaper
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2009, 320 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2009, 336 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Beyond the Book

The United Partisan Organization
In Beat the Reaper the fictional Peter Brown/Pietro Brnwa recounts the story of how his grandparents met in the winter of 1943 when they joined the Jewish resistance movement in Poland, hiding out in the Bialowieza Forest. According to Brnwa family legend the young couple (they were both fifteen at the time) were duped into going back to Krakow in order to save her brother from the Nazis. It was a ruse and they were sold into Auschwitz. They survived because both were sent to work in the manufacturing part of the famed death camp. In one of the more poignant passages of the book Brown tells about when, as an adult, he made a trip to Poland to seek out the man who had betrayed his grandparents and, while there, he visited Auschwitz.

Although he doesn't say one way or the other, the group in the Bialowieza Forest might have been part of a larger resistance organization that was founded in the ghettos of Vilna (now Vilnius, ...

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