From Broken Glass: My Story of Finding Hope in Hitler’s Death Camps to Inspire a New Generation

Steve Ross, with Glenn Frank and Brian Wallace. Hachette, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-316-51304-3
This moving memoir recounts how Ross, who was born Szmulek Rozental in Poland in 1931, created meaning for himself after the Holocaust, during which he lost his family and was imprisoned in 10 concentration camps. Szmulek’s simple childhood ended after Nazi soldiers invaded his hometown. His family’s efforts to flee to safety failed, but his mother managed to place him with a Polish family who risked their lives to shelter him. Some months later, the Germans he did odd jobs for identified him as a Jew, and he began five hellish years in captivity, suffering torments including sexual abuse and doing whatever it took to survive, including, at 12, passing as an adult at the entrance to Auschwitz because he believed a number tattoo would make him less likely to be killed. After the liberation of Dachau, Szmulek made his way to the U.S. and used his education to pay back his adopted hometown of Boston; he rose from an idealistic truant officer assigned to neighborhoods that had been written off as hopeless to become the Boston school system’s director of education. His reputation for changing lives enabled him to successfully advocate for the creation of the New England Holocaust Memorial and its placement in the heart of Boston. Alternating chapters about his suffering under the Nazis with his successes after the war alleviates some of the grimness, and the end result is an inspirational account of hope overcoming horror. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/19/2018
Release date: 05/15/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-316-51309-8
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5491-1790-9
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