Survival Artist

A Memoir of the Holocaust

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About the Book

This vividly detailed memoir describes the experiences of a Holocaust survivor who narrowly escaped death by living a childhood of constant vigil and, along with his family, continuously dodging the ever-present threat of a Nazi capture.
After the Nazi invasion of Poland, the Bergman family’s hometown became an increasingly dangerous city in which to live, as evidenced by the author’s account of being struck deaf by the butt of a German soldier’s rifle while playing in the street with other children. Though traumatic and certainly life-threatening, this vicious attack would ultimately save his life several times. The story continues with vivid accounts of the family’s narrow escapes to (and from) the Lodz, Warsaw, and Czestochowa ghettos, describing some of the more horrific vignettes of life in the Jewish ghetto and detailing how some members of the family survived through a fortuitous combination of luck, skilled deception, and an underlying will to live.

About the Author(s)

Eugene Bergman is a retired professor of English at Gallaudet University. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

Eugene Bergman
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 204
Bibliographic Info: 14 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4134-1
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5398-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Foreword by Leon W. Wells      1
Introduction      3

I. The End of an Idyll
A Foray into History      11
Growing Up in Poznan      15
The Germans Arrive      30
Escape to Lodz, Escape from Lodz      38

II. Life in the Warsaw Ghetto
From One Ghetto to Another      42
The German Professor      53
My Father the Smuggler      56
The Real and Unreal Worlds      60
Vignettes      64
The Siege and the Escape      72

III. Dodging the Predators
Rescued by Dadek      82
Fobbing Off the Landlord      101
Mysteries of Mimicry      104
The Ghetto Revolts      113
Forays from the Kitchen into the Jungle      117

IV. From the Uprising to Liberation
Saved from Drowning and Shooting      130
Inside Insurgent Warsaw      136
I Become a Prisoner of War      142
My Life Among the Punks      148
The Liberation Comes      162

Afterword      179
Chapter Notes      189
Bibliography      191
Index      193

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Should be in all libraries [with collections about the Holocaust]…Bergman’s family lived for a time in the ‘Aryan’ section of Warsaw, his survival dependent upon the black market to earn a living. Of particular interest is Bergman’s account of walking among the [Aryan] population and the fear this engendered in him”—Library Journal
  • “Engrossing memoir”—Washington Jewish Week.