Shoah survivor’s book on Auschwitz is Germany’s best-seller

Shoah survivor’s book on Auschwitz is Germany’s best-seller

90-year-old Sam Pivnik's title about his experience in the Nazi camp topped the list within a week

The entrance gates to Auschwitz I, located in Poland 

(Photo credit: Jemma Crew/PA Wire)
The entrance gates to Auschwitz I, located in Poland (Photo credit: Jemma Crew/PA Wire)

A biography describing the ordeal of a Holocaust survivor has become a German best-selling biography within a week of its release.

Penned by 90-year-old Sam Pivnik, Survivor: Auschwitz, The Death March And My Fight For Freedom raced straight to the number one spot on Germany’s best-selling biographies list after being translated and released on March 13.

The book begins with an adolescent Mr Pivnik, whose family was forced into a ghetto in 1943 before being sent toAuschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp.

While he was kept in the camp for six months, his parents and younger siblings were killed upon arrival.

Mr Pivnik, who settled in London after the war and became an art dealer, said: “I am pleased that German people can read this now.

“I cannot say that you should enjoy the book, it’s not an enjoyable book, it’s a terrible thing in history that took place, but thank God we are all free people now and that’s the main thing.

“We are all human beings. We must live and learn from history to make sure that it never, never, never happens again.”

The 300-page book was first published in the UK in 2012 and has since been translated into eight languages.

Gotz Fuchs, editor of the German edition of the book, said: “It’s so important that this book has been translated widely, especially in German.

“Sam shares what’s happened in the book and it’s very personal, he talks about what he went through and losing his family, the book begins in his childhood at the age of 13 on 1 September when Germany invaded Poland, he has lived through so much.

“He writes about his childhood and now children in Germany can read this book, making a link to the next generation.”

On the day of the book’s release, Mr Pivnik received letters from German schoolchildren who had read extracts of the biography.

Marius Horak, a student at Gruenstadt School in southern Germany said: “I knew it was horrible and bad but I never really understood that it was that bad and most people don’t understand that and don’t know about it.

“This is a first hand source which is unusual. (Reading) it, it felt like I was really there.”


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