Title: A Gypsy in Auschwitz
Author: Otto Rosenberg
Publication Date: 4th August 2022
Otto Rosenberg is 9 and living in Berlin, poor but happy, when his family are first detained. All around them, Sinti and Roma families are being torn from their homes by Nazis , leaving behind schools, jobs, friends, and businesses to live in forced encampments outside the city. One by one, families are broken up, adults and children disappear or are ‘sent East’.
Otto arrives in Auschwitz aged 15 and is later transferred to Buechenwald and Bergen-Belsen. He works, scrounges food whenever he can, witnesses and suffers horrific violence and is driven close to death by illness more than once. Unbelievably, he also joins an armed revolt of prisoners who, facing the SS and certain death, refuse to back down. Somehow, through luck, sheer human will to live, or both, he survives.
The stories of Sinti and Roma suffering in Nazi Germany are all too often lost or untold. In this haunting account, Otto shares his story with a remarkable simplicity. Deeply moving, A Gypsy in Auschwitz is the incredible story of how a young Sinti boy miraculously survived the unimaginable darkness of the Holocaust.
I’ve read a fair amount of both fiction and nonfiction about the horrors of the holocaust. However, I haven’t read a first hand experience from a Sinti or Roma prisoner, although I was aware how they were persecuted. It does have to be admitted, however, that their stories are definitely not as prominent and that is not right – their stories must be remembered and documented. Humanity cannot afford to forget.
A Gypsy in Auschwitz is told with simplicity but is all the more powerful for it. Otto Rosenberg tells his tale of loss, violence, death and some small moments of hope with an admirable clarity. He tells of the brutality and indifference to pain that he encountered himself with honesty in a way that makes his story feel immediate and deeply personal. An important and brave addition to the documented history of one of the worst atrocities ever committed.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for inviting me on this tour and organising it. I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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