MIDDLE GRADE TO ADULT
All Holocaust memoirs are important books, but this one is extraordinary. It’s beautifully, rivetingly written by a survivor and his daughter. Extensive research enabled Bornstein to fill in the blanks in his and his relatives’ memories; he was only four years old when his family was sent to Auschwitz. Although he tells his story in grim detail, this is ultimately a story of hope: many members of his family remarkably, improbably survived. It’s an excellent introduction or addition to any young (or not so young) person’s awareness of the Holocaust. Fewer and fewer survivors are left; there’s never been a more important time to learn this essential history.
- Banna— From Banna's New Recs
A New York Times bestseller
“Both moving and memorable, combining the emotional resolve of a memoir with the rhythm of a novel.” —New York Times Book Review
In 1945, in a now-famous piece of World War II archival footage, four-year-old Michael Bornstein was filmed by Soviet soldiers as he was carried out of Auschwitz in his grandmother’s arms. Survivors Club tells the unforgettable story of how a father’s courageous wit, a mother’s fierce love, and one perfectly timed illness saved his life, and how others in his family from Zarki, Poland, dodged death at the hands of the Nazis time and again with incredible deftness. Working from his own recollections as well as extensive interviews with relatives and survivors who knew the family, Michael relates his inspirational Holocaust survival story with the help of his daughter, Debbie Bornstein Holinstat. Shocking, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting, this narrative nonfiction offers an indelible depiction of what happened to one Polish village in the wake of the German invasion in 1939.
This thoroughly-researched and documented book can be worked into multiple aspects of the common core curriculum.
A New York City Public Library Notable Best Book for Teens
About the Author
Michael Bornstein survived for seven months inside Auschwitz, where the average lifespan of a child was just two weeks. Six years after his liberation, he immigrated to the United States. Michael graduated from Fordham University, earned his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, and worked in pharmaceutical research and development for more than forty years. Now retired, Michael lives with his wife in New York City and speaks frequently to schools and other groups about his experiences in the Holocaust.
With Debbie Bornstein-Holinstat, Michael is the author of Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz.
Debbie Bornstein Holinstat is Michael Bornstein’s third of four children. A producer for NBC and MSNBC News, she lives in North Caldwell, New Jersey. She also visits schools with her father, and has been working with him for two years, helping him research and write his memoir, Survivors Club, although she has grown up hearing many of the stories in the book her entire life.
“This book is published as narrative nonfiction for young readers, but the equal measures of hope and hardship in its pages lend appeal to an audience of all ages . . . Remarkable.” —Ruta Sepetys in the New York Times Book Review
“A wrenching, shocking, and ultimately inspiring memoir, a tale of unrelenting optimism and resilience that is no less than miraculous . . . [Survivors Club] is hauntingly timely.” —Esquire
“Enhanced by meticulous archival research, Bornstein’s story unfolds in novelistic form . . . This moving memoir [is] an important witness to the capacity for human evil and resilience.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[An] exceptional book of memoir and history . . . worth reading more than once. It is compelling; there is something novelistic about it. It certainly reads with more verve and detail than most straight testimonies . . . Although listed for ages 10 – 14, it also makes excellent adult reading.” —Jewish Book Council, starred review
“A tenderly wrought tribute to family, to hope, and to the miracles both can bring. A powerful memoir.” —Booklist
“The most memorable part of this extraordinary nonfiction work is the hope amidst tragedy and the ways individuals and families banded together despite unimaginable odds, including the challenges to rebuild after breaking free from the concentration camps only to find a world still filled with hatred and fear.” —VOYA
“A powerful reconstruction of family history . . . An ideal follow-up selection for students who have read The Diary of Anne Frank.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Middle schoolers will be engrossed by Bornstein’s account . . . The book is written in a soothing tone, which helps balance some of the grim details of Jewish life under the Nazi regime . . . The storytelling is fast-paced, and readers will be fascinated by this family’s survival and endurance. Few Holocaust survivors are still alive; Bornstein’s account is an excellent addition to middle school collections.” —School Library Journal
“In today's world, it remains more important than ever to remember these survivors.” —Kirkus Reviews