Thursday, March 23, 2017

Architecture of Survival: Holocaust Diaries by Israel Stein

I am fascinated by accounts of the Holocaust and was looking forward to reading Architecture of Survival. Israel Stein gives his first person account of what he went through during the Holocaust as a child in one section. His parents Paula Stein and Meir Stein wrote in diaries during their time and those have been translated and provided in other sections. The pictures and other information included in the memoir make this account a definite must read of the Holocaust.

I like the cover depicting Israel’s family and the countryside. The formatting is perfect. There were no issues in reading this on a Kindle. Grammar, editing issues: the story was adequately edited. There were no glaring typos or unclear sentences. Translation of the language sometimes threw off the flow of words, but not to the point where you couldn’t understand it. His mother spoke Polish and his dad German.

From the memoir, while in Russia, family and neighbors would go missing and never come back. Israel and his family were then taken away to the Lukishki prison. They escaped being sent further on because his mother was an architect. The rest of the memoir is Israel, his mother’s, and then his father’s recollections of that time period.

The author brings to life the ongoing struggles to stay alive and not be caught. I felt like I was there, hiding from the police, afraid for my life. Escaping to Bialystok, Israel and his family experienced a paradise of sorts, until he was intentionally separated from his family and hiding in a small space of a Polish family. Architecture of Survival is Israel Stein’s recollection of the holocaust and I recommend this memoir to all who are interested in this time period of history. At times graphic, at times very sad, at times incomprehensible, this memoir will touch your heart.

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