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Prisoner B-3087by Alan Gratz
Synopses & Reviews
Survive. At any cost.
10 concentration camps.
10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.
It's something no one could imagine surviving.
But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.
As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner — his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.
He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.
Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will — and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?
Based on an astonishing true story.
"The Nazis killed more than one million Jewish children and teenagers; Jack (Yanek) Gruener, who was 10 when Krakow, Poland, fell, was a rare survivor. 'Survive,' however, hardly seems adequate to describe what unfolds in these pages. Having lost his parents and close relatives just as he entered adolescence (Yanek has a secret bar mitzvah in a basement of the Krakow ghetto), the boy is totally alone as his life becomes a roll-call of nightmares: Trzebinia, Bir-kenau (where his arm is tattooed with the number in the book's title), Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Gross-Rosen. Yanek is finally liberated at age 16, when American soldiers arrive at Dachau. Gratz (Fantasy Baseball) has fictionalized some aspects of Gruener's life to 'paint a fuller and more representative picture of the Holocaust as a whole,' and this determination to be exhaustively inclusive, along with lapses into History Channel — like prose, threatens to overwhelm the story. But more often, Gratz ably conveys Yanek's incredulity ('Not long ago, all these half-dead creatures around me had been people'), fatalism, yearning, and determination in the face of the unimaginable. Ages 10 — 14. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Mar.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Alan Gratz is the author of a number of books, including SAMURAI SHORTSTOP, which was named one of the ALA's 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults, and THE BROOKLYN NINE, which was among Booklist's Top Ten Sports Books and Top Ten Historical Books for Youth in 2010. A native of Knoxville, Tennessee, Alan is now a full-time writer living in western North Carolina with his wife and daughter. Look for him online at www.alangratz.com.
Ruth Gruener was born Aurelia Gamser in 1930s Poland. Ruth and her parents survived the Holocaust by hiding in the homes of gentile families. After World War II was over, Ruth and her family moved to the United States, where Ruth tried to start an ordinary teenage life in Brooklyn. Ruth is married to Jack Gruener, another Holocaust survivor, and they have two children and four grandchildren. Ruth and Jack live in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, and Ruth works as a docent at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in downtown Manhattan. She and Jack travel all over the country to speak to schools about their experiences in the Holocaust
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