80629: A Mengele Experiment

Gene Church, Author S.K. Damon Pub. Co. $0 (292p) ISBN 978-0-937875-00-1
""80629'' refers to the number tattooed on 18-year-old Yakoff Skurnik's arm upon his arrival in Auschwitz-Birkenau in December 1942. Church (The Pit, etc.) traces Skurnik's horrific ordeal, including disfiguring experimental surgery supervised by the infamous Josef Mengele, escape from the Auschwitz death march on the eve of the Allied invasion and adjustment to postwar life (Skurnik, who changed his name to Jack Oran, is now a Dallas businessman). Readers won't expect pretty reading from a concentration camp account, but this work's relentlessly graphic and detailed descriptions of castration, defecation and torture are notably gut-wrenching. The idyllic portrayal of Skurnik's prewar family life is unrealistic, and Church's unfortunate penchant for melodramatic, overwritten prose is a disservice to the heartfelt story. Author tour. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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