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Harry Haft
Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano

Alan Scott Haft
With Forewords by John Radzilowski and Mike Silver

Cloth $24.95    |    0-8156-0823-3    |    2006

An unflinching account of a young Jewish boy’s will to survive, chronicling his unimaginable journey from Nazi concentration camps to the professional boxing arena, eventually fighting Rocky Marciano.

"Harry Haft: Survivor Of Auschwitz, Challenger Of Rocky Marciano is the unique biography of a Jewish man who survived the Nazi concentration camps while being forced by brutal German officers to fight his fellow prisoners—to lose was to die. Haft was only sixteen when he was sent to the concentration camps; four years later, he barely escaped with his life, and killed German civilians while struggling to survive. Prone to fits of violent temper, made worse by the permanent scars of the unspeakably inhuman treatment he endured, Harry Haft decided to take his talent for fisticuffs into the professional boxing ring. But in an era when boxing was heavily infiltrated by organized crime, gangsters threatened Haft with execution unless he lost his fight with heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. Written by Harry Haft’s son, Harry Haft: Survivor of Auschwitz, Challenger of Rocky Marciano gives a complete picture of a flawed yet courageous human being, a survivor beyond measure, and is highly recommended for biography and holocaust studies shelves."

"Alan Scott Haft, a first-time author, retells his father’s tale in a straightforward and unadorned style. He has opted to stay out of the way of his father’s tragically engrossing tale and avoids the pitfalls of overwriting. . . . Like a younger skier clinging to a towrope, he lets his father’s story guide him—and the reader—along."
The Jewish News Weekly

"The riveting and tragic story of Harry Haft should be, indeed, must be told, for Holocaust narratives have the mandate to provide a lesson for generations to come. I might go even so far as to state that the Harry Haft story is what Hollywood movies are made of."
—George Eisen, author of Ethnicity and Sport in North American History and Culture

Alan Scott Haft provides the first-hand testimony of his father, Harry Haft, a holocaust victim with a singular story of endurance, desperation, and unrequited love. Harry Haft was a sixteen-year-old Polish Jew when he entered a concentration camp in 1944. Forced to fight other Jews in bare-knuckle bouts for the perverse entertainment of SS officers, Harry quickly learned that his own survival depended on his ability to fight and win. Haft details the inhumanity of the "sport" in which he must perform in brutal contests for the officers. Ultimately escaping the camp, Haft’s experience left him an embittered and pugnacious young man.

Determined to find freedom, Haft traveled to America and began a career as a professional boxer, quickly finding success using his sharp instincts and fierce confidence. In a historic battle, Haft fights in a match with Rocky Marciano, the future undefeated heavyweight champion of the world. Haft’s boxing career takes him into the world of such boxing legends as Rocky Graziano, Roland La Starza, and Artie Levine, and he reveals new details about the rampant corruption at all levels of the sport.

In sharp contrast to Elie Wiesel’s scholarly, pious protagonist in Night, Harry Haft is an embattled survivor, challenging the reader’s capacity to understand suffering and find compassion for an antihero whose will to survive threatens his own humanity. Haft’s account, at once dispassionate and deeply absorbing, is an extraordinary story and an invaluable contribution to Holocaust literature.

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Alan Scott Haft is the eldest son of Harry Haft. He graduated from Queens College and received his J.D. from University of Miami Law School in 1978. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with his wife, Gail, son, Hartley and daughter, Jamie.

5 1/2 x 8 1/2, 208 pages, 12 black-and-white illustrations, 2 forewords

Harry Haft

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