Tuesday, January 5, 2010

From the Ashes of Sobibor: A Story of Survival

Until I read this book, "Holocaust" to me was just one of those small sparks of a big firework called "World War II". It was briefly mentioned in a very short paragrah in one of the World War II chapters in my history class in high school. But after reading this book, the word "Holocaust" gives me goose bumps. This book is a great revelation of one of the darkest time in human history. I had never read any thriller that is as thrilling as this real story. I had never read any page turner that enthralled me like this book did. I just couldn't put the book down while I was journeying with the author through one near-death experience to another. (it seemed as if those incidents were never ending...)

The book not only taught me a very important piece of history that my history book failed to show me. It also helped me understand an aweful lot about the Jewish culture, the Jewish people and their lives before World War II. (and after WWII, since the book got me curious enough to research more on Israel and the Jewish people). This book showed me in great detail why, how and what had happened during the Jewish extermination campaigns, and finally understand why such appalling schemes were so successful and unstoppable.

Besides being an excellent history book, it's also a very compelling book that shows all human weaknesses there are. (greed, cowardice, prejudice, ignorance, fear, lack of faith, lack of ethical conviction, group thinking, etc...) Sometimes I wonder, if only we didn't have all these flaws and weaknesses in us, the Nazzi wouldn't have a chance to execute their plan, and the entire history of war and atrocity wouldn't keep repeating itself. The sad part is, history always repeats because we are still what we are, we are all so afraid of death that our fear often stops us from doing the right thing, and we are greedy and materialistic still, yet we don't have faith that the world has enough for us to propser altogether......

But the bright side is, as this book demonstrated, even in the most hopeless situation, there is still a chance that one can survive and thrive. I highly recommend this book because it helps me appreciate my family and loved ones a lot more. Now, whenever I start to have the slightest complaint about my life, my mind flashes me with the story of this book, holds my temper back and makes me realize I literally have nothing I should be unhappy about.

I hope more people can read this book and remember not to let the Holocaust victims perish in vain by living our life with gratitude, appreciation and compassion. I think people in this world should recognize that any regime that promotes hatred or destruction of any race or religion is dangerous.

Note: To learn more about this book's author Thomas Toivi Blatt, or more information about Sobibor's role during the Holocaust, you can click here to go to the author's website.

My reading diary about this book: December 7, 2009 , December 9, 2009 , December 13, 2009 , December 19, 2009

Blogs that blog about this book (If your blog blogs about this book, please email me your url, so I can post it here, thanks!):
Bryan's Book Blog

Newspaper mention about Sobibor and this book's author:
Cleverland.com (some of the readers comments about the author and the Holocaust got me really sad, you read it yourself and you will understand why.)


inthehammockblog said...

Great review, I have a friend who reads about this topic often, I'll have to recommend it to her.

Bryan R. Terry said...

Glad you liked it (and thanks for the mention) ... When Mr. Blatt came and spoke with the middle schoolers I worked with, it was--quite simply--one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. Afterwards I had the privilege of meeting Mr. Blatt, shaking his hand, thanking him for coming and speaking to us, and he autographed my copy of his book. Simply thrilling.

Alyce said...

I haven't heard of this particular WWII book, but I remember some of the first books I read about the Holocaust, and they left a huge impression on me.

Editor said...

I had seen some footage here and there on TV WII documentary. But this book shows me how the Jewish life and the Jewish culture was like before WII. It gives me the details of the dilemmas faced by the Jewish people at the time regarding their survival. More than that, it shows me that hell didn't just end with the end of WII and the Jewish liberation. It's really an eye opening account of history. I have a lot of respect for the Jewish pepole and culture all over the world, and Israel as a nation. They have been going through hell and persecution for the longest time and yet they still excel and thrive. They didn't just get beaten down and give up because of the adversities. They don't sit there and complain about they are not succeeding because of their long history of being suppressed and persecuted. Instead, they just work and strike for excellence, do the best they can, live their own lives the best they can. That attitude is something I admire a lot and I think we should all learn from.

Misty said...

I find the Holocaust completely fascinating, in a completely disturbing way. I'm surprised you never got much out if it in History class, because it was a major focus in mine. I still remember the pictures that were in my history book of bodies piled as high as a man's head. It was the single most disturbing thing I had ever seen to that point, but it really made you feel the horror of the situation and connect to what happened.

Editor said...

I went to highshcool in Hong Kong, our world war II history focused on the Chinese Japanese war and I saw piles of Chinese dead bodies and dead babies piling up in our history books, instead of the Jewish ones.... I learnt about Holocausts, but only as a sub-topic of World War II on the European front... never in such great detail until I read this book.

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