Twenty years since its first publication, this new anniversary edition of the Holocaust memoir of George Salton (then Lucjan Salzman), gives readers a personal and powerful account of his survival through one of the darkest periods in human history. With heartbreaking and honest reflection, the author shares a gripping first-person narrative of his transformation from a Jewish eleven-year-old boy living happily in Tyczyn, Poland with his brother and parents, to his experiences as a teenage victim of growing persecution, brutality and imprisonment as the Nazis pursued the Final Solution. The author takes the reader back in time as he reveals in vivid and engrossing details the painful memories of life in his childhood town during Nazi occupation, the forced march before his jeering and cold-eyed former friends and neighbors as they are driven from their homes into the crowded and terrible conditions in the Rzeszow ghetto, and the heart-wrenching memory of his final farewell as he is separated from his parents who would be sent in boxcars to the Belzec extermination camp.
Alone at age 14, George begins a three-year horror filled odyssey as part of a Daimler-Benz slave labor group that will take him through ten concentration camps in Poland, Germany, and France. In Płaszów he digs up graves with his bare hands, in Flossenbürg he labors in a stone quarry and in France he works as a prisoner in a secret tunnel the Nazis have converted into an armaments factory. In every concentration camp including Sachsenhausen, Braunschweig, Ravensbrück and others, George recounts the agonizing and excruciating details of what it was like to barely survive the rollcalls, selections, beatings, hunger, and despair he both endured and witnessed.
Of the 465 Jewish prisoners with him in the labor group in the Rzeszów ghetto in 1942, less than fifty were alive three years later when the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division liberated the Wobbelin concentration camp on the afternoon of May 2, 1945. George recalls not only the painful details of his survival, but also the tales of his fellow prisoners, a small group who became more than friends as they shared their meager rations, their fragile strength, and their waning hope. The memoir moves us as we behold the life sustaining powers of friendship among this band of young prisoners. With gratitude for his courageous liberators, Salton expresses his powerful emotions as he acknowledges his miraculous freedom: "I felt something stir deep within my soul. It was my true self, the one who had stayed deep within and had not forgotten how to love and how to cry, the one who had chosen life and was still standing when the last roll call ended.”
“A powerful, searing recollection of the past, telling George Salton's story with a fierce
integrity that is both descriptive and introspective."—Michael Berenbaum, author of What the World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust as Told in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
"This memoir is among the best I have read ... a must read that belongs in most libraries [for] high school to adult readers." --Martin Goldberg, Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter
“This powerful memoir articulates the daily life of a Jew enslaved by the Nazis and forced to do their bidding and obey their every whim in a series of concentration camps. The graphic description of the slave’s miserable condition is counterpointed to the hope of liberation….an account of the triumph of hope over hatred.” –Murray Baumgarten, The Jewish Street: The City and Modern Jewish Writing
"To safeguard the memory of The Shoah from being distorted, abused, trivialized and undermined by blatant lies, memory must time and time again mobilize its collected arsenal of witnesses and documents, to fortify the loosening ground beneath it.
The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir is one of those testimonies, which in its remarkable sense of detail and unfailing human spirit manages to do just that."
--Goran Rosenberg, author of A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz, a winner of the 2012 August Prize