A first-hand account that gives special attention to the author's experience among predominantly
non-Jewish partisans in Soviet Russia, where he confronted anti-Semitism
while facing a common enemy.
"Zissman's story is gripping, unusual-and he tells it well."
John K. Roth, author of Holocaust Politics
In this candid memoir, Harold Zissman examines Jewish existence in prewar and wartime
Poland. Born into an observant family, he begins by recalling his youth in the Polish town
of Ostrow-Mazowieck, near the German border. It is the 1930s, a time of childhood nostalgia
darkened by ominous anti-Semitic uprisings and government indifference.
In lean and concise prose, Zissman relives the German invasion of Poland and his own
incarceration in a forced labor camp. He recalls life in the Derechin ghetto, where every day
brought brutal Nazi persecution and the constant threat of slaughter. Finally, he tells of
escape to Russia, where he fought alongside Soviet partisansonly to face prejudice from
his comrades. In the tradition of Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi, Zissman probes the Nazi
impact on Jewish notions of identity and community during and after the Holocaust. Few
books offer such detailed insights into the complexity, peril, and volatility of life as a Jew
among non-Jewish Soviet partisans, even while battling a common enemy.
View other books in this series
Harold Zissman has lectured about his experiences during the Holocaust at a number of
schools and organizations across the country. This is his first book.
6 x 9, 272 pages, 10 black-and-white photographs, 1 map