My grandparents, Jack and Genia Grinbaum, managed to Survive and Thrive under the most cruel of circumstances. Born in Poland in the 1920's they were on their way to a hard-working and fulfilling family-oriented lives. While Anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions were a part of day-to-day life in their Polish villages, their families had lives that were filled with meaning and purpose. And then came the Holocaust.
Grandpa Jack lost his mother, his father, two brothers and countless other family members and friends. He survived the Miechow Ghetto, several Concentration Camps (escaping twice, once from Plaszow, the Camp shown in Schindler's List) and another near death experience at a Pogrom in Kelce, Poland. While this would have been enough to break most men, Grandpa Jack survived...and then he thrived. While in Kelce he married Genia, went to another Displaced Persons Camp (Regensberg) and found a way to enter Belgium illegally and use his tailoring skills to impress enough people to be granted a Green Card. He paid for his wife, her only surviving sister and her new husband to join him in Belgium. Success, on a grand scale, was just around the corner for Grandpa Jack, first in Belgium and then in the United States. It was an unusual, inspiring journey for Milwaukee, Wisconsin's premier retailer of men's formal wear.
My Grandma Genia was a partner through it all. She came from a religious family in Maczki, just outside of Sosnoweic, Poland. She witnessed the murder of her parents and four of her sisters. She also lost her brother in Auschwitz. Grandma Genia suvived well over four years of pure hell, almost all of it at Parschnitz Concentration Camp. While she re--united with her only surviving sister and a few distant cousins, her life was destroyed. While Grandma Genia had moments of happiness and joy after the war, the PTSD symptoms and bi-polar symptoms would haunt her until she would pass away. Grandma Genia was a true angel who suffered through unspeakable horrors that go beyond description. Despite living with a heavy heart, she raised a daughter and had two grandchildren and was the most wonderful, kindest human being that I have ever known.
This book begins with a grandson/grandfather interview. This was primarily taken from my 2011 interview with Grandpa Jack but pieces were also taken from previous interviews in the late 1980's, 1990's and one from 2009. The Grinbaum's were incredibly generous to share these experience with me so that others could learn about the good and the unspeakably evil that lurks in human souls. This book then has inspirational, funny stories about the Grinbaums as well as some suggestions for what "we" should do to carry on the Legacy. There are interviews with people who knew the Grinbaums before the war, dozens and dozens of pictures and much more. This book will leave you inspired and help you gain a new perspective of "what's possible" in both good and bad ways.
Whether you are new to the study of the Holocaust or whether you have read a lot of books on this topic, this book will provide you with a unique perspective, knowledge of time period and a sense of the Survivor-Spirit.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was my privilege to get a preview of this book. David Weiss did a great job of relating the tales of his grandparent's lives. I enjoyed the stories of when my father, Casey, worked for them. I found it ironic that people of different religions experienced the horrors of World War II. I always say war makes enemies of those that would otherwise be friends. Even though the war was a horrible experience for many, my parents wouldn't have met and married if it hadn't been for it.