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The Boy: A Holocaust Story by Dan Porat
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The Boy: A Holocaust Story

by Dan Porat

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The photo on the cover of this book is probably the most recognizable Holocaust photo in the world, and arguably one of the most recognizable photos in history. The child's terrified little face has captivated many people, not the least author Dan Porat, who became obsessed with uncovering the identities of the people in the picture and the stories of their lives.

I had heard that the boy lived: that he survived the war, became a doctor in Boston, and had that picture framed and on display in his office. The day before I started The Boy, I showed the book and its photo to a man I knew and told him what I'd heard. Then I read the book and had to come back to my acquaintance to say, "Um, yeah, I was wrong. There's a doctor in Massachusetts who thought he was the boy, but he almost certainly was not. The photo was taken in the Warsaw Ghetto, see, and he was never in the Warsaw Ghetto. Also, he remembers the picture being taken in July, and the picture shows people wearing heavy coats. This boy in the picture was probably killed." Porat was never able to determine who he was, only who he was not.

"I liked the first story better," my acquaintance replied sadly.

So did I.

But this book has much more to offer than mere soul-crushing mythbusting. The author covers the life of Zvi Nussbaum -- the young Holocaust survivor who thought he was The Boy -- as well as the lives of the two Nazis standing in the background of the photo AND the Nazi holding the camera. (All three were captured and executed after the war, one of them more than two decades later.) I admire the author's research and his ability to put us right there in these people's lives, in the blood and tragedy and chaos.

If only The Boy had lived. ( )
  meggyweg | Feb 20, 2012 |
Excellent Book. It's a must read for everyone not just History Buffs or Holocaust Scholars. " The Boy", belongs on the shelf next to the "Diary of Anne Frank", and "Night" ( )
  LizPhoto | Aug 25, 2011 |
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In memory of my mother, Hannah (Blumenthal) Porat
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On January 12, 2004, I stood in a dark exhibition hall at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem looking at a picture worth one thousand words and six million names: a little Jewish boy, a cap on his head, his arms raised in the air, and a look of deep horror on his face.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809030713, Hardcover)

A cobblestone road. A sunny day. A soldier. A gun. A child, arms high in the air. A moment captured on film. But what is the history behind arguably the most recognizable photograph of the Holocaust? In The Boy: A Holocaust Story, the historian Dan Porat unpacks this split second that was immortalized on film and unravels the stories of the individuals—both Jews and Nazis—associated with it.

The Boy presents the stories of three Nazi criminals, ranging in status from SS sergeant to low-ranking SS officer to SS general. It is also the story of two Jewish victims, a teenage girl and a young boy, who encounter these Nazis in Warsaw in the spring of 1943. The book is remarkable in its scope, picking up the lives of these participants in the years preceding World War I and following them to their deaths. One of the Nazis managed to stay at large for twenty-two years. One of the survivors lived long enough to lose a son in the Yom Kippur War. Nearly sixty photographs dispersed throughout help narrate these five lives. And, in keeping with the emotional immediacy of those photographs, Porat has deliberately used a narrative style that, drawing upon extensive research, experience, and oral interviews, places the reader in the middle of unfolding events.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:50:43 -0400)

A cobblestone road. A sunny day. A soldier. A gun. A child, arms high in the air. A moment captured on film. But what is the history behind arguably the most recognizable photograph of the Holocaust? In The Boy: A Holocaust Story, the historian Dan Porat unpacks this split second that was immortalized on film and unravels the stories of the individuals--both Jews and Nazis--associated with it. The Boy presents the stories of three Nazi criminals, ranging in status from SS sergeant to low-ranking SS officer to SS general. It is also the story of two Jewish victims, a teenage girl and a young boy, who encounter these Nazis in Warsaw in the spring of 1943. The book is remarkable in its scope, picking up the lives of these participants in the years preceding World War I and following them to their deaths. One of the Nazis managed to stay at large for twenty-two years. One of the survivors lived long enough to lose a son in the Yom Kippur War. Nearly sixty photographs dispersed throughout help narrate these five lives. And, in keeping with the emotional immediacy of those photographs, Porat has deliberately used a narrative style that, drawing upon extensive research, experience, and oral interviews, places the reader in the middle of unfolding events.… (more)

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