A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Göran Rosenberg
The Last Word Review
As the name of the title suggests A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz for so many Jews entering the infamous Nazi death camp there would be no road leading away the gas chambers, it would only be that death would be waiting for them when they entered the gates of Auschwitz.
Rosenberg the son of two Polish Jews that survived the hell that was Auschwitz and here is a deeply moving account written as a memoir of David his father and this is his story of survival and his road from Auschwitz and then trying to make a new life and living with the memories at a time when most were doing their best to ignore the plight of those survivors.
Rosenberg writes with incredible and breath-taking clarity that moves the reader from the first page. As Rosenberg starts to tell the story of his father a survivor of the Lodz ghetto as Rosenberg says “Luck, chance and freak are the stones with which every road from Auschwitz is paved. There are no other roads from Auschwitz but those of improbability” Was it luck for his father as along with a few hundred others who were on their way from Lodz to the death camp when they suddenly found themselves on route to the heart of Germany as slave workers for the Nazi war machine. But the Nazis are in their death throws it is 1944 and the war and time is not on the side of the Nazis and their 1000 – Reich is crumbling in crazed frenzy of destruction and death.
Rosenberg’s father now in his early twenties finds himself being moved from camp to camp and by the time he was liberated he weighed on 80 pounds. David Rosenberg decided to head to Sweden and make this is home, once here he then sets about arranging for Hala to join him as she was still in the Polish ghetto that was Lodz. They would then marry and settle down and try and make a new life for themselves.
For any survivor of the death camps there are physical and also the mental consequences of their experiences during these years and this they will have to carry around with them for the rest of their lives but for David and Hala Rosenberg there is now the gift of life and they must make the most the fact they have survived and now can look forward despite the past that haunts them.
Then in 1953 the West German government passes a law to compensate the survivors of the Holocaust. But the shocking truth is that when David Rosenberg is assessed he is deemed not to have suffered as much as others and loses out on compensation. This has a devastating effect on Göran’s father and never recovers from this traumatic experience.
A poignant and heart-wrenching memoir of his father’s experiences of unimaginable this is a story that is totally unforgettable and Göran’s incredible and detailed research of his father’s past so that he can learn of what his father endured at a time when millions were sent to their death and the slave labour camps were his father spent some of his time.
A story that brings to life his parents lives the fact that they survived and then a world that looked away after the war ended which proves even at the end of war there are many who still have to suffer and endure more pain that the survivors had to carry around with them and for some it was too much to bare.
Beautiful and tender is how this is written and one that has deserved the accolades that has been come its way. Translated by Sarah Death she manages to keep the story in its incredible emotion and detail.
A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Göran Rosenberg and published by Granta Books is available through Waterstones and all good book shops.