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Publisher's Summary

Quickly becoming a cornerstone of Holocaust historiography, this is a devastatingly stark memoir from one of the lone survivors of Treblinka.

Why do some live while so many others perish? Tiny children, old men, beautiful girls - in the gas chambers of Treblinka, all are equal. The Nazis kept the fires of Treblinka burning night and day, a central cog in the wheel of the Final Solution.

In the tradition of Elie Wiesel's Night and Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz and The Drowned and the Saved, Rajchman provides the only survivors' record of Treblinka. Originally written in Yiddish in 1945 without hope or agenda other than to bear witness, Rajchman's account shows that sometimes the bravest and most painful act of all is to remember.

©2009 Chil Rajchman (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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What listeners say about The Last Jew of Treblinka

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A Human Story of Selflessness and Resilience

I received this audiobook for free as part of my Audible Plus membership.

The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Survivor’s Memory, 1942-1943 is a memoir written by Chil Rajchman and translated by Solon Beinfeld. Rajchman tells of his experiences in the Treblinka death camp and his subsequent escape. He paints an initial image of depravity, suffering and despair, which is transformed into a story of hope and freedom. Stefan Rudnicki provides consistent, clear and nearly emotionless narration throughout the work. Emotionless carries seemingly negative connotations, however, his work expertly fits the overall tone that Rajchman conveys. This work is highly recommended for those interested in humanity and the will to overcome hardship.

Rajchman's history begins when he and his family are taken from their home in Warsaw and shipped by train to Treblinka. He recounts only minor details of his life before the train ride, and this conveys notions of humility as he writes about events that extend far beyond his personal story. At one point in Treblinka, a woman destined for gassing says to Rajchman: "you see what is being done to us, that's why my wish for you is that you will survive and take revenge for our innocent blood, which will never rest" (Ch. 7, 2:23-2:32). He is telling her story, and the story of thousands like her.

Contributing to this idea, Rajchman writes matter-of-factly. The majority of the camp guards are nameless "murderers". They whip, beat, torture and dehumanize their prisoners. Rajchman doesn't express significant emotional attachment to these actions and events; he simply explains things as they were. This also lends to the idea that he and the other prisoners are overcome by general feelings of shock and disbelief. Although Rajchman includes a few exclamations of incredulity and sarcasm, expressions of fear, anger, resentment and disdain are rare, even when he speaks of the death of his family. He primarily recalls accounts in practical terms throughout the work. This concept is perfectly captured as he works as a barber, cutting off the hair of women condemned to death: "I have become an automaton that cuts off their hair" (Ch. 6, 8:01-:8:04).

Stefan Rudnicki expertly matches Rajchman's account with his nearly monotone, unemotional, deadpan narration. These are positive qualities in a narrative that communicates despair, helplessness and hopelessness. This is a short work, coming in at three hours and four minutes, and Rudnicki's narration never grows tiresome or irritating. He provides clear pronunciation, a consistent flow and convincing dialects, which all heavily contribute to the engrossing nature of this work.

Although Rajchman's memoir is mostly distressing and heart breaking, the final chapters are laced with hope and victory. In order to avoid spoiling the narrative, it should be simply stated that his ability to write about this history were because of actions of incredible bravery and resilience.

The Last Jew of Treblinka should be experienced by anyone who takes their life for granted. Rajchman speaks of one of the darkest and most harrowing periods in human history. His account puts modern life and all its luxuries into perspective. He overcame incredible adversity, and he chose to share his experiences with us. He teaches what it means to live a selfless life in service to others. Please don't miss this.

7 people found this helpful

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Important. Worse conditions than I expected.

I'm glad I heard this. I visited Auschwitz in Nov 2017. It is shocking that some people try to deny these things happened. It is shocking to hear how many people participated in the atrocities. But sadly today in America so many hold similar ideologies, for example, about their ideas of public health being more important than individual freedom. Many people today believe, like the Nazis, in survival of the fittest. It matters that we know the ways each of us could hold beliefs that coincide with the violators of the freedom of others. This would be the best we can do, learning of these atrocities, be firm we will in NO way participate in harming the freedom of others, and will not carry any of their beliefs at all, because they lead to suffering.

5 people found this helpful

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Best Story Must Listen. Thank God for this man.

Performance, Story, and Overall gets a strong 9 to a light decent 10. Buy this.

3 people found this helpful

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Powerful

There are no words to review a story this powerful and do it justice. Please take the time to bear witness to this account.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

I've read several books on the holocaust, but this is the best in terms of camp life description. It is is very vivid and detailed, and it made me want to keep reading.

2 people found this helpful

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Profoundly Significant and Historically Sobering

Sometimes hearing the truth is difficult. However, failing to learn from history's most blatently horrific sins to ensure they are not repeated is an equally awful atrocity. There is no better witness than an eye witness who lives to tell the story. A powerful testament to a dark time in history and the triumphant spirit of this special and unique human being.

5 people found this helpful

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Incredible story!

This is not for the faint hearted but an absolute must read. I’ve read many holocaust stories and this vividly details the horrors of the extermination camps. My heart broke multiple times but this man’s strength and resilience is beautiful. We should never forget and keep the memories of these victims alive.

1 person found this helpful

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Holocaust

This is a horrific story about man’s inhumanity to man. I can’t imagine how anybody could survive what this man went through.

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Never Forget!!

This was an amazing book.. my heart will never forget this time in the worlds history when we see the depravity and cruelty of so called humans!

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A terrifying account

This is one of the most nightmarish accounts of what went on in the Holocaust. It's a memoir of one of the prisoner workers at Treblinka, a camp whose sole purpose was to murder innocent people including children, on a massive scale, and loot their valuables including the gold in their teeth, their clothes and even the women's hair. The German and the Ukrainian guards exhibited the worst sadism, cruelty and evil one can ever imagine. By luck, skill and wisdom the author was able to escape and tell the story.

The narration was excellent.

1 person found this helpful