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Light One Candle: A Survivor's Tale from…

Light One Candle: A Survivor's Tale from Lithuania to Jerusalem

by Solly Ganor

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Ganor's Holocaust narrative takes place primarily in villages and ghettos, providing a useful contrast to memoirs that primarily describe life in the camps. Ganor has some access to the outside world and at many points is able to comment on the relations between the Jewish captives and the communities within or near which their confinement takes place. Though most of the non-Jewish citizens in his account are not sympathetic, there are more than in many Holocaust narratives. Ganor frames his otherwise chronological and straightforward story with two meetings with the U.S. Nisei (2nd generation Japanese) soldier who rescued him. He also punctuates his own story with this soldier's. It's the first book I've read by a Jewish Holocaust survivor that names the existence of U.S. internment camps for citizens of Japanese ancestry or origin. I appreciated reading a Jewish narrative that also accounted for a Japanese-American soldier's, though from a purely literary perspective it wasn't as successful as it might have been.

Recently I've read a number of accounts of genocide in Asia, Africa, South America, and Oceania. In conjunction with Ganor, these remind me that we are all ready to dehumanize and kill each other with little provocation; the unique horrors of the Nazi approach are its scale and mechanized, sanitized nature.

Read with Gilbert Tuhabonye's [b:This Voice in My Heart: A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness|539051|This Voice in My Heart A Runner's Memoir of Genocide, Faith, and Forgiveness|Gilbert Tuhabonye|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1175631883s/539051.jpg|526439] to compare an African genocide to the European, and with Lauren Kessler's excellent [b:Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family|1439350|Stubborn Twig Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family|Lauren Kessler|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1183601119s/1439350.jpg|1429941] to learn more about internment and its effects on one Japanese-American family.
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  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
My first thought when I began to read this book was of James Frey and his book A Million Little Pieces. He talks about having a root canal without novocaine. It seems unbelievable and it was...it was all a sham. So when I read Solly Ganor's memoir of his horrific experiences as a Jewish person during World War II, I had a hard time with it. In one scene, a Jewish hospital is surrounded, barricaded, and set on fire. How could someone kill people this way.. And it just went on and on...Could he, just one person, have really seen or experienced all these attrocities or is it a compilation of many experiences? I haven't done any research on this memoir, but I believe it could have happened to him and he was just one person. I can't imagine this magnified.
My typical Holocaust memoir is Anne Frank. Well clearly now that is just a child's version compared to this. I'm glad I read it. It was difficult to read but should be read by everyone. The writing is very good and not only the descriptions of people and events but also his descriptions of the physical surroundings are very heartfelt. It is rare to find the two combined so well.
  sjclance | Nov 11, 2010 |
I've read many books on the Holocaust but none have so moved me as this one. A heart-wrenching tale of a young boy surviving all odds. His courage in the face of adversity will move you to tears; be sure to have your Kleenex on hand. ( )
  luvztoread | Jun 29, 2006 |
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Solly Ganor entered the hotel lobby hesitantly. He had spent most of his life trying to block out his painful memories of the war. Yet here he was at a reunion of Holocaust survivors and their American liberators. What was he doing here? His instinct was to turn around and walk right out the door. But he knew why he had come. The man who called him at his home a few nights earlier mentioned that veterans from a battalion of Japanese American soldiers would be gathering at the hotel. Solly immediately recalled his own liberation forty-seven years earlier. He had been lying half buried in the snow near Dachau, more dead than alive, when he looked up to see a kind face with Asian features bending down toward him. The man, Clarence Matsumura, saved Solly's life. Solly walked into the room and immediately recognized his rescuer of a half century ago. His heart started racing. Clarence came forward, and the two embraced. For the first time in almost fifty years, Solly cried. He had finally allowed himself to look backward, to recollect his ghastly experiences of the war, and he cried like a child. Light One Candle is the result of Solly's emotional catharsis of that day. It is the dramatic account of what happened to him immediately before and during the war in Europe. He tells of the horror of the Kaunas ghetto and the Nazi concentration camps that followed, and his nearly fatal death march from Dachau. But he also paints a glorious picture of his native Lithuania in the days before the war, and recounts his boyhood friendship with Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul who wrote thousands of exit visas for Jews fleeing Lithuania.… (more)

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