The Cap, or The Price of a Life Paperback – 6 Jul 2000
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About the Author
Roman Frister is a journalist living in Israel. He was editor and a reporter on the Israeli daily newspaper Ha¿aretz and now runs the School of Journalism in Tel Aviv.
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Top Customer Reviews
Its the story not only of how he survived and how the normal experience of the holocaust for Polish Jews was death. It is also an account of his life after the war, which by any standards was, to say the least a full one. He gives no explanations for his survical except a belief in luck and an unexplained and inexplicable life force that he possesses. His account of being made to stand at attention for eight hours between electric wires in frozen weather is searingly memorable.
More than anything though, what shines from these pages is a brutal honesty. The story of the title about The Cap is only one of many incidents reflecting the overriding desire to live. The only heroes in this book are those who were there when Roman needed their help. Although this point is not pressed, it is very clear that he forgot none of them, and did his best to help them, especially after the war, when he could.
For Poles too this is uncomfortable reading. Poles need to read this as it is by a man who once thought of himself as a patriotic Pole AND a Jew. His Polish friends though saw him as a Jew first and foremost. His descriptions of what led him to leave Poland are striking, as indeed is his account of the mass murder by pro-Nazi Polish partisans of Jews who had escaped from a labour camp. He clearly loves Poland, but did Poland love him?
The Cap goes beyond most Holocaust literature.Read more ›
His clear-eyed account of his experiences in the war will have you gripped. More than that, his story is underpinned by Frister's belief in moral contingencies, which makes this book much more important than an ordinary memoir from a lesser writer.
In an interview I heard him describe an incident in concentration camp, when a doctor was ordered to murder several hundred prisoners by injecting them with phenol. The doctor pretended to inject some of those lined up, who later escaped. Those saved thought he was a hero, but after the war he was condemned as a war criminal for the half that he had killed. This incident is not in the book, but other dilemmas are.
You are swept along in sympathy, although Frister makes it clear that he believes that he survived when others did not, precisely because he was spoiled and selfish. Just when you think this is survivor's guilt, he anticipates you and knocks down the arguments you have set up in your head.
The book is exceptionally well-written, with a spareness drawn from Frister's training as a journalist, informed by his profound intelligence.
A superb book that deserves to be widely read
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an extraordinary book and the most brutally honest biography I have ever read. Immensely readable.Published 11 months ago by Martin Porter