A Train Near Magdeburg

A Teacher's Journey into the Holocaust
Narrated by: Nick Cracknell
Length: 11 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: History, World
5 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

It's not a novel. It's not based on a true story. It really happened, and I am a witness. You will be, too.

What do you do if you are a reluctant soldier, having been shot at, seen your friends killed, and can no longer even remember what your own mother looks like? As a combat soldier fighting your way across Europe, what is the plan when you come across a Holocaust train full of suffering humanity that shocks you to your core, even after you think you have seen it all? And what happens when you get to meet the survivors face-to-face, two generations later?

From the author of The Things Our Fathers Saw in the World War II eyewitness history series comes this book, offering the true story behind an iconic photograph taken at the liberation of a death train, deep in the heart of Nazi Germany. It's brought to life by the history teacher who discovered it and went on to reunite hundreds of Holocaust survivors with the actual American soldiers who saved them.

The Holocaust was a watershed event in history. Drawing on never-before published eyewitness accounts, survivor testimony and memoirs, wartime reports and letters, Matthew Rozell takes us on his journey to uncover the stories behind the incredible 1945 liberation photographs taken by the soldiers who were there. 

He weaves together a chronology of the Holocaust as it unfolds across Europe and goes to the authentic sites of the Holocaust to retrace the steps of the survivors and the American soldiers who freed them. His mission culminates in joyful reunions in three continents, seven decades later.

Rozell offers his unique perspective on the lessons of the holocaust for future generations and the impact that one person - a teacher - can make. Features testimony from 15 American liberators and over 30 Holocaust survivors.

"After I got home I cried a lot. My parents couldn't understand why I couldn't sleep at times." (Walter "Babe" Gantz, US Army medic)

"I grew up and spent all my years being angry. This means I don't have to be angry anymore." (Paul Arato, Holocaust survivor)

"I survived because of many miracles. But for me to actually meet, shake hands, hug, and cry together with my liberators - the "angels of life" who literally gave me back my life - was just beyond imagination." (Leslie Meisels, Holocaust survivor)

"People say it cannot happen here in this country; yes, it can happen here. I was 21 years old. I was there to see it happen!" (Luca Furnari, US Army)

"It's not for my sake, it's for the sake of humanity, that you will remember." (Steve Barry, Holocaust survivor)

©2016, 2019 Matthew Rozell (P)2019 Matthew Rozell

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important story

Overall I really liked this book. The stories of survivors and soldiers are critically important to preserve. Most of the retelling is done very well. My only fault with the book is that the author sometimes seems to focus on himself too much. Though, to be fair perhaps he has earned that. The narrator does a great job and is enjoyable to listen to.