This post contains affiliate links. I’ve read a lot of fiction and non-fiction about World War II and the Holocaust. I’ve read many amazing and heart-wrenching stories, but The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield was so powerful. This is easily one of the best books I’ve read on the Holocaust.
About The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz
The Kleinmanns are a Jewish family living in Vienna in 1938. They’re not a particularly devout family. At first, they think they’ll be safe when they hear that Hitler wants to annex Austria and make it part of Germany. Within a very short time, the Kleinmanns realize how wrong they are in that assumption.
Tini Kleinmann, matriarch of the family, begins a long battle to get her children safely out of Auschwitz. First up is 18 year old Edith. Tini is able to send her to England as a house maid. However, before Tini is able to make much more progress, both her husband, Gustav, and her son, Fritz, are taken by the Nazis.
Because the Nazis take Gustav and Fritz in 1939, they are some of the earliest concentration camp residents. Amazingly, they both survive selection and are able to labor together at the camp; they even share the same bed.
Meanwhile, Tini continues her relentless pursuit to get her children out of Austria. After a long battle and against all odds, she’s able to get young Kurt sent to America to live with a relative. She continues to try to also get Fritz and her other daughter, Herta, out of the country.
My Thoughts on This Book
This is a fascinating, almost unbelievable true story about one family’s attempts to survive the Holocaust. Gustav and Fritz’s story is gripping, but so are the stories of the other members of the family.
This book is not for the faint of heart. Sadistic things happen in the camps, and Dronfield documents them in unflinching detail. If you’re like me, you may often cringe while reading this story. I also learned new things about the war and the camps that I hadn’t known, so even if you’ve read a lot about this period in history, you will probably learn more in this book.
I wish the author had been able to go into more detail about the lives of the family members who survived and gone into more detail about how the rest of their years were once they survived the war. However, by the time the author learned of and wrote this story, many of the participants had died of old age.
I give The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz 5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.
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