Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

I received the following in my email from a publicity firm.  Most of the time I just delete emails that ask me to post something, etc but this one moved me to tears.  

Jill Klein


Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  Please read the following and remember Gene Klien, the German who helped him survive, his father, mother, and all those who survive and didn’t survive the Holocaust!

Please Remember: Holocaust Remembrance Day by Gene Klein

It has been 70 years since I was liberated from a Nazi concentration camp. I was just a teenager then; I’m 87 now.  Holocaust Remembrance Day is April 15th, and I have been thinking about what I want you and your loved ones to remember about the Holocaust. I speak frequently about my experiences, and I am able to remind people about what happened, provide them with vivid descriptions, and answer their questions. But I am among the last of the survivors, and one day—sooner than I would like to think—we will all be gone.

Here is what I want you to remember after we are gone, when our memories must become yours, so that future generations will have the knowledge and compassion to avoid the mistakes of the past:

Please remember the life we had before it all started; before the name-calling, the bricks through the windows, long before the cattle cars and the camps. I was born into a middle class Hungarian family in a small town in the foothills of the Carpathian mountains. Our town was charming. We sat in outdoor cafes on summer evenings, and skated on the river on winter afternoons. My father owned a hardware store, was an avid soccer fan, and loved to tend to his garden. My mother took care of my two sisters and me, and was preoccupied with getting me—a naturally skinny kid—to eat more. We were not wealthy, but we had everything we needed. In the most basic of ways, we were not unlike you and your family. And we felt as secure as you do now.

Please remember that all of this was taken away. Within a few weeks in the spring of 1944, my father’s store was confiscated, my Jewish friends and I were told that we were no longer welcome at school, and we were forced to wear a yellow star. Then we were forced from our home, crowded into cattle cars, and taken to Auschwitz. When we arrived, the men were separated from the women, and then my father was separated from me.

My father had been a POW in World War I, and during his years of imprisonment he learned to play the violin and to speak five languages. He was intelligent and humorous. I loved him the way any 16-year-old boy loves a wonderful father. The way you love your father, if you are lucky enough to have a good one. So imagine this: a man in a black uniform sends you to one direction and your father to another. You don’t know why, until the next day a veteran prisoner points up at the smoke coming out of a chimney and says, “Your father is up there.” Please remember my father.

Please remember that it is terribly easy for one group to strike another group off the roster of humanity, to see others as vermin or pests, as an affliction that must be destroyed. It happens again and again. And once it does, people are capable of inflicting terrible hardship and pain on others, and to feel they are righteous in doing so. None of the SS officers who ordered me—a starving teenager—to carry heavy steel rails up a hillside thought of themselves as monsters. They were adhering to their beliefs, and they were serving their country. We must be constantly vigilant for the descent that takes us from self-righteous beliefs, to the dehumanization of others and into the sphere of violence.

Please remember that while we are capable of all of this, we can also rise to amazing heights in the service of others. For two weeks I had the good fortune to have a respite from hard labor while I was assigned to work with a civilian German engineer who was surveying the landscape where future roads would be built. He saw the terrible conditions I was living under and decided to help. Everyday he hid food for me from the SS kitchen where he ate lunch. Chicken, milk, rice, and cheese left under a bench in the back corner of a barracks. He cared, he took a risk, and he saved my life. Please remember him.

And finally, remember that no one should be judged because of his or her nationality, religion or race. We were sent to the camps because propaganda was believed, individuality was erased, and hate was rampant. When asked if I am angry with Germans, I think of the German engineer, and know that individuals must be judged by their own personal actions. If I can hold this as a guiding principle after what happened to my family and me, then you can, too.

Please take my memories as yours, share them, and carry them forward. It is by doing so that you can help keep the next generation from forgetting, and help fill the space that we survivors will leave behind when we are gone.

Thank you so much Gene for sharing this moving piece.  I will always remember!

Gene’s Daughter Jill Wrote a book about her family’s struggles in Auschwitz, ‘We Got the Water’.

Description of ‘We Got the Water by Jill Gabrielle Klein:water_cover_front-final-cropped

We Got the Water is the story of the Klein family: Herman and Bertha, and their three children, Lilly, Oli and sixteen-year-old Gabi. In the spring and summer of 1944, along with more than 400,000 other Hungarian Jews, they were forced from their homes, rounded up, and sent to Auschwitz. The Kleins were aboard one of the very first trains of this mass deportation.

Author Jill Gabrielle Klein follows her father, his sisters and their mother through Auschwitz and into slave labor camps in Poland and Germany, providing a narrative—both harrowing and inspirational—of resilience in the face of terror. As it charts the author’s personal quest to reconstruct the past, the book also documents the inexorable disappearance of living Holocaust survivors, whose first-person accounts illuminate this dark period and inscribe it in our collective memory.

About Jill Klein:Gene & Jill Klein

 Professor Jill Klein, Ph.D. is a social psychologist who is on the faculty of Melbourne Business School at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She and her father speak internationally to audiences on the topic of resilience.

Xinran was born and raised in China and worked there as a reporter for a radio station.  The book begins, “A Book Written for Adoptive Daughters.”  Xinran begins,

“It took a long time for me to summon the courage to relive the personal memories and experiences of my life as a reporter in China.” Page 1

China has a strict one child per family rule, due to over-population.  If you are caught with having more that 1 child, there are deep penalties, including losing your job.  Xinran  goes on to recount numerous stories of mothers forced to give up their daughters  because their parents in-law insist that they have a boy. 

For a very long time, China would not allow adoptions of children from outside the country.  Many of the stories Xinran heard and some that she even witnessed, firsthand were gruesome.  Parts of this book was shocking to read.

“Suddenly, I thought I heard a slight movement in the slops pail behind me, and automatically glanced toward it. I felt ice in my blood. To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Then the tiny foot twitched! It wasn’t possible. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slop pail!” Page 92

There were other stories of female babies being abandoned and left to die.  There were some orphanages but they were all very poor.

“The children were just left to cry all day. She mostly fed them on rice gruel, and kept them clean by sluicing the urine and excrement off the mat with cold water. By night she slept squeezed onto the mat with the babies, at the mercy of the mosquitoes just as they were.”  Page 244

Things improved, some when adoption was opened up to families from other countries.  Though mothers don’t know where their daughters live, they did give messages to Xinran to pass on to adopted daughters, her main motivation for writing this book.

I found these true stories to be raw, heart rendering, and shocking.  Xinran writes beautifully but opens the child issue in China up for the entire world to see.  If you don’t know what is happening in China, even to this day, read this book.  If you know what is happening read this book and learn more.


Did you review this book?  Please leave the link in the comments and I will post it here.


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