One of the few survivors of Birkenau – not a concentration camp but an actual death camp – Mielnicki tells his story with great courage and attention to truthful detail. In his home town of Wasilkow, Poland, he describes how pogroms, which began as small acts of anti-Semitism, led to mass murders and expulsions. Mielnicki also adds new material to the neglected history of Soviet rule in Poland from September 1939 to June 1941.
Mielnicki’s account of life in the camps of Birkenau, Buna, Mittelbau-Dora and Belsen is at times harrowing, but the personal qualities that helped him to survive when all human dignity had apparently been erased creates a powerfully redeeming human drama. Bialystok to Birkenau is a co-publication with the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre.
“This is a story, not only of survival, but of the
lives, qualities, enthusiasm and Jewish hearts that were destroyed in the twentieth century.”
— Sir Martin Gilbert, biographer of Winston Churchill.