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From Ghetto to Death Camp: A Memoir of Privilege and Luck

When German soldiers invaded the Polish city of Lodz at the start of World War II, they confined the local Jewish community to a miserable, overcrowded ghetto. Through family connections, a Jewish teenager named Anatol Chari became a ghetto policeman. Because they were sometimes viewed as collaborators, ghetto policemen who survived the war kept their past a secret. In From Ghetto to Death Camp, Chari reveals that hidden story, describing the policemen’s duties—guarding food, rounding up prisoners for transport—and the privileges it brought them. Those privileges ended when the ghetto population was transported to Auschwitz. As a slave laborer, Chari went on to various work camps, endured long marches and an Allied bombing raid, and ended up in the Bergen-Belsen death camp. To survive the camps, he now says, you needed help, smarts, and most of all luck. He depicts a seemingly senseless world where guards could be decent or cruel, where some prisoners were sent to hospitals and others to gas chambers, and where food was everything. Written with remarkable honesty and unexpected wit, this unique memoir is in many ways a reflection on the human condition.

Important places

Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp (1)
Lodz (21)

Regions

Niedersachsen (99)
Łódź (22)

Countries

Germany (3,818)
Poland (895)