I will skip the personal details discussed by other reviewers, and focus on matters of historical significance. With one obvious exception, Frister shows an excellent grasp of factual events. He makes the unbelievable statement that the NSZ "did not kill Germans at all" (p. 263), only killed Jews, and then repeats the Communist-propaganda canard that the Brygada Swietokrzyska (Holy Cross Brigade) had fought on the German side.
Even as late as 1941, Frister's mother didn't believe that the invading Germans intended to harm the Jews (p. 180). This adds to similar testimonies, and undercuts the argument that the massive Jewish-Soviet collaboration had been motivated by a desire to be protected from the Nazis.
Unlike those who, from their safe perches, moralize to Poles about their need to have been more willing to risk their lives on behalf of Jews, Frister does not: "And what right did I have to condemn them? Why should they risk themselves and their families for a Jewish boy they didn't know? Would I have behaved any differently? I knew the answer to that, too. I wouldn't have lifted a finger. Everyone was equally intimidated." (p. 192)
Frister writes: "Jozef Kruczek had prepared a perfect hideout for us. Beneath a bale of hay tossed with deliberate carelessness on the floor of the barn was a hidden trapdoor that descended to a cellar as big as a cottage. Before we came this had served as an abattoir. The screeching of the slaughtered pigs remained within its walls--a big help in avoiding German confiscations and getting the meat to the black market." (p. 97). Ironic to Polonophobes (e. g., Jan T. Gross), who accuse Poles of being willing to incur the German-imposed death penalty by illegally slaughtering animals, but seldom by hiding Jews, we see the same Polish secretiveness in both activities! (Besides, slaughtering an animal was a quick one-time act. Hiding a Jew was a continuous risk.)
Unlike most Holocaust materials, Frister's work presents a balanced view of Polish and Jewish misdeeds. He mentions Poles looting Jews (p. 120) as well as regular Pole-on-Pole thievery (p. 100). The Judenrat, besides collaborating with the Germans in the roundups of Jews to their deaths (e. g., p. 92, 105, 120), also stole from poor Jews (p. 120). Jewish informers played an instrumental role in the uncovering of hidden Jews (e. g., p. 105, 112, 120, 190-191). Twice Frister escaped death despite being denounced to the Germans by Jewish informers (p. 112, 190-191), the latter of whom he found to be very clever and diligent in their undercover work. How many other fugitive Jews were betrayed, not by ethnic Poles as automatically assumed, but by Jewish Gestapo agents and informers?
We were told, in the wake of the Auschwitz Carmelite convent controversy, that Jews find Christian symbols offensive because they remind them of past persecutions by Christians. Frister mentions a Jew, Henryk Leiderman, who had no problem with rosaries when it came to selling them to Polish peasants (p. 36).
Frister spent some years in postwar Poland before emigrating to Israel. He is candid about the fact that he, and other Jews, got privileged positions in the Soviet-imposed Communist regime (p. 34, 169).