Boy 30529: A Memoir
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
"Anyone who survived the exterminations camps must have an untypical story to tell. The typical camp story of the millions ended in death ... We, the few who survived the war and the majority who perished in the camps, did not use and would not have understood terms such as 'holocaust' or 'death march.' These were coined later, by outsiders."
In 1939 twelve-year-old Felix Weinberg fell into the hands of the Nazis. Imprisoned for most of his teenage life, Felix survived five concentration camps, including Terezin, Auschwitz, and Birkenau, barely surviving the Death March from Blechhammer in 1945. After losing his mother and brother in the camps, he was liberated at Buchenwald and eventually reunited at seventeen with his father in Britain, where they built a new life together. Boy 30529 is an extraordinary memoir of the Holocaust, as well as a moving meditation on the nature of memory.
From the Hardcover edition.
what it is like to have a horrific nightmare and the relief of waking to reality. Few, I think, can imagine the converse: waking from wonderful dreams of happy childhood to the nightmare of reality, the reek of bodies crowded either side – the realisation of where one is – night after night, week after week, month after month. Strangely, a consoling thought was that even if one died from having one’s face ground into the mud by a jackboot, death would be the same as for all those millions who
barely lift it when it was fully laden with stones. There were other strange and wonderful implements. After the sleepers had been put into place, rails were carried in huge tongues, at least one man to each handle. This involved the entire team working in two rows with the rail in between (unless one had the good fortune to be the odd man out). Finally, the stones were compacted under the sleepers using a kind of pickaxe, one end of which had a blunt hammer instead of the spike. I dare say that
that not many people have tasted Alsatian soup, but it was the best meal I had that year. All the members of our teenage gang suffered from extreme sleep deprivation. As a physical craving, it came only just second to hunger. I had no watch, of course, or sight of a clock to refer to, but I doubt we ever got more than four hours’ sleep. Our days started before dawn with the early-morning roll call. This required us to stand to attention in rows and columns of multiples of ten to be counted. The
had been hit and collapsed, burying the occupants. By that time we had returned to our tools at the track we had been working on and were about to begin the rescue work. Unfortunately, an SS guard turned up to inspect the damage. We had our shovels on our shoulders, ready to dig out the poor devils in the collapsed shelter, but were ordered to return to the rail-track repairs. That was the occasion when we got closest to mutiny. The guard drew his pistol, yelling that he would kill anyone who
his ‘master race’, not ‘the others’ – the Jews, Slav sub-humans, or the feeble-minded – but, in the end, when Hitler felt let down by his own people, when they proved unworthy of his insane schemes, he was ready to sacrifice them too. This, to my teenage mind, defined the demented evil of the man. At the time, I did not know that he died by his own hand in an underground bunker. Looking back upon it now, it seems just that the evil genius who cast a black shadow over all my childhood, who