The Boys

Martin Gilbert, Author
Martin Gilbert, Author Henry Holt & Company $30 (480p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4402-7
Reviewed on: 03/31/1997
Release date: 04/01/1997
Paperback - 816 pages - 978-0-323-07583-1
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In this harrowing oral history, eminent Oxford historian Gilbert reclaims a stirring chapter of Holocaust history. In 1945 the British Home Office announced that 1000 children, age 16 and under, who survived the Nazi genocide would be allowed to settle in Britain. Only 732 could be found and were flown over from Prague and Munich. Most of them had seen their parents and siblings murdered or deported to extermination camps by the Nazis. Calling themselves ""The Boys"" (even though approximately 80 were women), these survivors of death camps, slave labor camps and death marches forged strong personal bonds among themselves, holding annual reunions and forming their own charitable organization, the '45 Aid Society. Forty of the group served in the Israeli defense forces in 1948, when newly independent Israel was attacked by Arab armies. Hundreds eventually emigrated to Palestine, the U.S., Canada, Brazil and elsewhere. By letting the survivors tell their own stories of shattered childhood, torment, liberation and readjustment to society, with a minimum of commentary, Gilbert has fashioned a remarkable testimonial, rich in vibrant reminiscences of Eastern European Jewish communities practicing a way of life forever destroyed. Photos. (Mar.)
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