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There is no way to process what Joe Rubinstein has seen and experienced. No way to rationalize it, understand it, come to grips with it or accept it. No way to understand the torture. No way to grasp the magnitude of such evil. Our bodies simply do not have a way to process such overwhelming images of pain and death, injustice and loss. No way to process it - apart from the God whom Joe Rubinstein loves and serves. In this book, Joe tells us he always hid his story from everyone because everyone has an idea that terrible things happened in Auschwitz, "but no one knows." Yet Joe Rubinstein can now say it is a blessing to tell us about his life and what he went through. Yet he admits what he has seen is like a cancer that never leaves him. "I'm going to love my life, love my family and love God" he tells us. And he ends his book by doing exactly that - praising God. At the end of this book, I'm left shaken to the core. None of us ever want to come face to face with pure evil, yet Joe Rubinstein faces it daily, in his own mind. But he stands firmly on his faith and claims he is not defeated. His family is not defeated. Why? Because he lives on to love others.
Nancy Sprowell Geise did a beautiful job of capturing Joe's story. I love the way she portrayed his innocence and complete inability to understand what was happening and why his world had changed when he was taken from his family suddenly. We have truly been given a glimpse through Joe Rubinstein's eyes, thanks to Nancy Geise, and it's a view that is impossible to forget.
Richard Rieman did well to capture the confusion and innocence of Joe Rubinstein as well as a myriad of other overwhelming emotions throughout this journey.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
This is one of those books that everybody should read / listen to - especially those, who think that for whatever reason one group of people is better than others and has the right to decide of the others' life and death... It's a book both for those interested in the history of World War II and those who do not know anything about it and doubt the existence of the Nazi concentration camps...
I am Polish, have lived in Poland all my life and I have taken my students to visit the camps mentioned in the book: Auschwitz (Oswiecim in Polish) and Treblinka, I've also visited another camp, situated in Majdanek - all those places really remind us that there are no other species on this planet as cruel as man... So although the memories of Joe Rubinstein may not be so revealing for me (we in Poland learn from primary school what the Nazi occupation of Poland looked like during the war and what the Nazi camps were all about), for someone not so familiar with this aspect of World War II the book will probably be extremely shocking - and yet I am convinced that the story behind the book is much harsher, that the author filtered it a bit to make it easier for the reader to fathom...
And you can only admire Joe and others like him who did not allow their horrible experiences to break them and who, after being rescued from the camps, have lived their lives to the fullest...
What did you like best about this story?
I like the fact that although it's a book about an unimaginably horrible experience it's not all dark and gloomy... There are memories of good moments, too, and there is this strange kind of optimism, coming from faith (I believe), somewhere behind the story... And I like the fact that although we can feel the hate that Joe felt for the Nazis who took him from home, put him and thousands like him in a death camp, and killed all his family, we still see that that hate did not destroy Joe as a person, that he was able to put all that hate behind him and did not allow that feeling to rule his life after the war...
And I loved the introductory sentences in each chapter being read by Joe Rubinstein himself:)
What about Richard Rieman’s performance did you like?
As with the previous book narrated by Mr Rieman I listened to, I liked the tempo of his reading - the pace was quite fast, but not too fast; and the interpretation was very good. Mr Rieman tried to be quite detached and unemotional in his reading of this particular book and yet - maybe thanks to that detachment - the story got even more emotional and vivid, and it was almost impossible for me to stop listening...
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
He went through the hell of Auschwitz - and then lived his life to the fullest...
Any additional comments?
I received the audiobook as a gift from the narrator after reviewing "The Coelho Medallion" by Kevin Tumlinson in his interpretation - thank you very much, Mr Rieman, it was a great although unsettling experience listening to Joe Rubinstein's story...:)
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
what a blinding story of a man that suffed so much and still remains humble
Remarkable story of survival and thank you for sharing it. World must never forget the horrors of what went on