Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora Review

Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora
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Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora ReviewLet me first say I have read 100's of Holocaust survivor books so I do consier myself well educated in what happened in WWII.
This book arrived in the advanced uncorrected proof for my review at 3pm. I read non-stop until 1:30am and finished the book.
The story opens when an 18 yr old Pierre Berg, Gentile, non-Christian part of the French Resistance arrives at a friends home to visit just as the Gestapo arrives. He is asked for his "papers" and of course he has false ones so he is taken away also.
What he indures in Auschwitz is very accurate to well documented eye witness accounts that I have read. His treatment was brutal. When reading this keep in mind it is being told in the language of an 18yr old. He wrote down his account right after the war when the memories were fresh. Now in 2008 Pierre is getting the word out in English before all who where there are gone.
I was amazed at his strengh of spirit and will to live as he had the dead all around him. I cannot image doing some of the things he had to do. Picking up the dead, waking up with the dead, riding in a boxcar on top of mounds of dead bodies. But he kept on.
During a long part of the story he meets up with an old classmate Hubert and they keep each other going.
The punishment he got on his second day at Auschwitz after "pooping" aside the Block at night was horrific. I myself would not have survived that one act.
He was in the wrong place at the wrong time in the beginning but as things play out he gets the lucky if you can call it breaks. He also had the advantage of speaking 4 languages and understanding more. Being well educated and quite smart he was able to pass himself off for different trades that he knew just enough to get by which in many cases saved his life.
Pierre became a master at "organizing" This was what they called stealing things to survive. You had to do this or you die.
I like the fact that when they write a German sentence they give you the translations, this makes for a much fuller understanding of what is going on.
He lives through Drancy confinement, Auschwitz,the famous Death March out of Auschwitz, Dora, Ravensbruck, Living through the Russian liberation at Wustrow which alone was a miracle. I think we forget sometimes how hard it was for all after "liberation" to get back home when you are sick and starving and have nothing but your stinking rotted "pajama's" to wear.
Now Pierre Lives in the USA and had worked 40 years as a machinist in the movie industry.
This book is very well documented as to being historicaly correct. It is a fresh story being written by a non-Jew. I wept at what he had to go through, I thank God he made it and has shared his experience so that we never forget.
Well Done. I would suggest this is for readers over 17yrs old due to the very graphic nature of the story.The book is quite graphic and the language is what it would have been at Auschwitz. They don't say will you please do this sir. Keep that in mind. I do not like a lot of bad language but this is HISTORY and this is how it was.
The book is right up there with accounts like All But My Life and Elie Weisel's Night.Scheisshaus Luck: Surviving the Unspeakable in Auschwitz and Dora OverviewIn 1943, eighteen year old Pierre Berg picked the wrong time to visit a friend's house -- at the same time as the Gestapo. He was thrown into the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp. But through a mixture of savvy and chance, he managed to survive...and ultimately got out alive. "As far as I'm concerned," says Berg, "it was all shithouse luck, which is to say -- inelegantly -- that I kept landing on the right side of the randomness of life." Such begins the first memoir of a French gentile Holocaust survivor published in the U.S. Originally penned shortly after the war when memories were still fresh, Scheisshaus Luck recounts Berg's constant struggle in the camps, escaping death countless times while enduring inhumane conditions, exhaustive labor, and near starvation. The book takes readers through Berg's time in Auschwitz, his hair's breadth avoidance of Allied bombing raids, his harrowing "death march" out of Auschwitz to Dora, a slave labor camp (only to be placed in another forced labor camp manufacturing the Nazis' V1 & V2 rockets), and his eventual daring escape in the middle of a pitched battle between Nazi and Red Army forces.Utterly frank and tinged with irony, irreverence, and gallows humor, Scheisshaus Luck ranks in importance among the work of fellow survivors Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi. As we quickly approach the day when there will be no living eyewitnesses to the Nazi's "Final Solution," Berg's memoir stands as a searing reminder of how the Holocaust affected us all.

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