BIOGRAPHY

By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Jan. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781335050144. pap. $16.99. BIOG
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In the spring of 1944, 15-year-old Tibor “Max” Eisen and his family gathered for Passover Seder, when there came a knock at the door and a neighbor’s warning of a roundup of Hungarian Jews. The following morning, police forced open the gates and gave the family five minutes to pack all of their belongings. A transit camp followed, then the train to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Eisen managed to survive the death camp after a Polish political prisoner and doctor took him in, providing security, clothes, and food. Following the war and a three-year-long journey, Eisen immigrated to Canada, where, at last, in 1949, he started rebuilding what was left of his life. This affecting account sheds fresh insight into the horrors of the Holocaust; Eisen’s descriptions of the prison hospital will provide new information to many readers, even those already well familiar with the World War II literature.
VERDICT In the vein of Holocaust memoirs such as Elie Wiesel’s Night and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz, this significant new entry offers further documentation of a dark period in history. It will be a solid addition to all World War II collections.

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