Berthawerk is a compelling historical novel about the experience of a sixteen-year-old Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz who was sent into the SS slave labor system. This is a story of hope by a young man who defied all odds and lived even though he was a prisoner in the political whirlwind of one of Europe's most powerful and sophisticated countries losing its sense of moral direction. This moving story narrates his life as a laborer in Krupp Industries' Berthawerk artillery factory, as he learned to survive constant SS brutality and death threats.
Theodore Lehman spend his high school years in concentration camps where he learned to cling to life even as the last of his family was exterminated; instead of going to school, he was learning to read and navigate the constant SS death threats. He learned heroism even before he had a chance to experience life.
Lehman lived that experience, survived the camps, and eventually arrived to the United States where he has lived his adult life. He pushed these near death experiences in the Nazi netherworld to the back of his mind for decades until he received a letter from a German commission inquiring information about the death of prisoners that he might have observed. As Lehman went back into his memories of this time period to tell what he knew, he began to relive the concentration camps and Berthawerk, and he formulated the idea of writing this chronicle of those events.
Theodore H. Lehman is a first time novelist, who has written one of the most powerful accounts of the slave labor system in Nazi Germany. Lehman has a secure sense of story telling, building vivid characters in a narrative style seldom seen. The novel leaves the reader wanting to read more about this story of courage.
This novel narrates the experiences of David, the boy, subject to the dehumanization of transport trains, concentration camp life, and work as a slave laborer. In Ted Lehman's narrative the Nazi demonization of the Jews is palpable, and the destructive psychology of the constant threat of death demoralizes Jew and non-Jew alike.
ISBN: 9780977751488. Cloth. $29.95.
ISBN: 9780982065747. Paper. $18.95. 248 pages
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