By Chance Alone

By Chance Alone

A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz

eBook - 2016
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WINNER of CBC Canada Reads In the tradition of Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz comes a bestselling new memoir by Canadian survivor Finalist for the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize More than 70 years after the Nazi camps were liberated by the Allies, a new Canadian Holocaust memoir details the rural Hungarian deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau, back-breaking slave labour in Auschwitz I, the infamous ?death march? in January 1945, the painful aftermath of liberation, a journey of physical and psychological healing. Tibor ?Max? Eisen was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia into an Orthodox Jewish family. He had an extended family of sixty members, and he lived in a family compound with his parents, his two younger brothers, his baby sister, his paternal grandparents and his uncle and aunt. In the spring of1944--five and a half years after his region had been annexed to Hungary and the morning after the family’s yearly Passover Seder--gendarmes forcibly removed Eisen and his family from their home. They were brought to a brickyard and eventually loaded onto crowded cattle cars bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau. At fifteen years of age, Eisen survived the selection process and he was inducted into the camp as a slave labourer. One day, Eisen received a terrible blow from an SS guard. Severely injured, he was dumped at the hospital where a Polish political prisoner and physician, Tadeusz Orzeszko, operated on him. Despite his significant injury, Orzeszko saved Eisen from certain death in the gas chambers by giving him a job as a cleaner in the operating room. After his liberation and new trials in Communist Czechoslovakia, Eisen immigrated to Canada in 1949, where he has dedicated the last twenty-two years of his life to educating others about the Holocaust across Canada and around the world. The author will be donating a portion of his royalties from this book to institutions promoting tolerance and understanding.
Publisher: [S.l.]: HarperCollins Canada, 2016
ISBN: 9781443448550
Characteristics: 304 p
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

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Jul 15, 2019

What a painful but essential book to read. I can't count the number of times I cried when learning what these innocents endured at the hands of evil. What humans can do to other humans boggles the mind.

Thank-you, Max Eisen, for writing this memoir so we can try our best to "combat racism and bigotry wherever we see it (p.7)". May we never forget what you and your family and all the other innocent people endured under Hitler's evil regime. And may we never forget what courageous people did to defy their murderers. To all the Sonderkommando inmates who were shot down after blowing up Crematorium 4 and the four women hanged for supplying the explosives (Ester, Regina, Ala, and Roza), you are my heroes! You stood in front of the gallows and repeated "Be strong and courageous" to thousands of inmates. You truly were strong and courageous!!!

After reading this book, I am again incredibly thankful for our wonderful country of Canada. May we remember Max's thoughts when we look at other refugees from around the world.
"For me, Canada was simply a shining bright light, a place where I could finally succeed in my quest for physical and emotional security (p230)."

Jul 13, 2019

An excellent book which discusses the personal story of the authour's horrible experiences during the Nazi occupation and the concentration camp. Not only his survival but also his current quest to tell the story of the Auschwitz years as he promised his father (who was killed there} he would do.

It is a thought provoking book which has relevance today when we face the reality of migrants and their plight and our response.

May 27, 2019

An engaging and readable memoir of a youth's journey through a hell on Earth. Five maps illustrate the author's various journeys. Some black and white photographs illustrate the memoir. An appendix provides copies of documents recording the fates of the author's family at the hands of the Nazi SS.

May 21, 2019

Wasnt as good as i thought it would be after winning Canada reads.

Mar 29, 2019

In the tradition of Elie Wiesel's "Night", comes a story from a survivor of the Holocaust that take us to the disordered and inhuman world through the eyes of a young boy. By Chance Alone is the resounding theme of the book, as the author survives by these very words. His survival of horror, of the loss of an entire family is indeed by chance. One step to the left, one person who did not try to reach out with an act of selflessness and kindness, and his fate would have been as hollow as the millions who died at his side. One becomes aware of this man's perception of the world crumbling around him, and the resounding fear that this type of hatred and authoritarian governments are again arising around us is poignant and thought provoking. His cry to the world is, " Have we learned nothing?" Did the atrocities committed and the attempted genocide of an entire culture/race/religion teach us nothing? The story does not end triumphantly with the rolling in of the Red Army or American tanks... the story continues in its desperation at the aftermath of Auschwitz, the starving Europeans, the outright hostility of the civilians and their reluctance to assist survivors.. the rise of Communist governments and the lack of freedoms allowed the Jews, and the frantic need to escape or suffer... so often this part of history is either ignored or not recounted properly. A shining beacon of hope in an again troubled world. A story of tremendous courage, but also a story about how often things are just a game of chance alone. Some are chosen to survive, and others are not. Simply by chance, by circumstance? Or by a greater Game?

debwalker Mar 28, 2019

Canada Reads winner.

BPLpicks Mar 11, 2019

An incredible story of survival. This is one of the contenders for the 2019 Canada Reads debates starting March 25th. Place your hold now to avoid a long wait list.

Mar 09, 2019

A fascinating, meticulously-researched, first-person narrative of the horrors of WWII, written by Auschwitz survivor Max Eisen. A finalist for Canada Reads 2019. Highly recommended.

Feb 13, 2019

Canada Reads 2019

A true, gut wrenching accounting of life in the concentration camps. I feel this one is sure to be a contender.

Jan 23, 2019

By Chance Alone by Max Eisen is a heartbreaking and gut-wrenching first person account of a young man taken from a happy family life to a life of horror and torture by the Nazi regime. If the title alludes to the author's belief that he survived by chance, he is selling himself short of his amazing strength and resolute will to survive. This book is compelling and difficult to read and I was filled with respect for this gentleman who never failed to express gratitude to the people who offered him even the smallest bit of assistance during his harrowing ordeal in the camps and in the years that followed during his recovery and emigration to Canada. The last words from his father were a traditional blessing. I would have liked to learn more about the effect of these experiences on the author's personal faith.

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May 27, 2019

Tibor "Max" Eisen and his family were deported to Auschwitz-Berkenau in the spring of 1944 during the Holocaust's final phase which targeted approximately eight hundred thousand Jews living within the wartime borders of Hungary. When Max stepped onto the unloading ramp [at Auschwitz] at the age of fifteen, he was [just at] the minimum age for slave labour - a possibility for survival not [available] to his younger brothers and baby sister. Today, Auschwitz is the most iconic symbol of the Holocaust, in part because it had the largest number of victims (1.1 million, mostly Jews) , and in part because a relatively large number of survivors were left to tell their stories of suffering there. While Max joins a chorus of Auschwitz survivors ... his account of daily life in the hospital of Barrack 21 offers a wholly unique perspective where we come to know one of the heroic prison doctors: Dr. Tadeusz Orzeszko, the Polish political prisoner who mysteriously saved Max from certain death. ... Max's memoir also provides a unique perspective on "liberation" as both an acute moment of freedom and a long, arduous process of recovery marred by illness, overwhelming grief, and years of displacement and uncertainty. (From the "Afterword" by co-author Amanda Grzyb)

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