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The Long Night: A True Story Paperback – 21 Jan 2016
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Ernst Israel Bornstein had been eighteen when his world collapsed; youthful adaptability self-possession and above all, luck, combined to preserve his husk in seven work camps which might have been modeled on the sequence of Dante's circles of hell. --The Times Literary Supplement
Unless you think it would be a good thing for us to forget about the Nazi Holocaust, you should read this crucial testimony. It is a terrifying personal account of an unspeakable but clinical horror, all the more powerful for being told with remarkable self-restraint. A reminder that in the twenty-first century that we forget at our peril --Jonathan Dimbleby
Dr Bornstein is both restrained and graphic at the same time. Seen through the eyes of one man the horror is magnified and reminds us that each one of the millions had lives and hope before the Holocaust. It is about what could have been as much as what happened. This is a first-hand account, a testimony that must be handed to the next generation to treasure, respect and remember. --Rt Hon. Eric Pickles MP, the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues
About the Author
Dr. Ernst Israel Bornstein was born in Zawiercie, a city in the Silesian province of southern Poland (60km from Auschwitz) on the 26th of November 1922. He was the oldest of four children. He was incarcerated in seven concentration camps, enduring the infamous death march until finally being liberated by American soldiers near Lake Starnberg in Bavaria on the 30th of April 1945. Thereafter,he lived in Munich, Germany, studied at the University of Munich graduating as a Dentist (Dr. Med Dent) in 1952 and as a Doctor of Medicine (Dr. Med) in 1958. He practiced as an oral surgeon. Dr. Bornstein died on the 14 August 1978 aged 55. Dr. Bornstein was the founder of the Association of Ex-Concentration Camp Inmates in Munich, whose chairman he remained until he died, was a member of the executive committee of the Jewish Community in Munich and chairman of the Consortium of Associations of Persecutees in Bavaria. He originally wrote this book, Die Lange Nacht (The Long Night) shortly after the War,setting out his Holocaust experiences, whilst his memories were fresh and his feelings raw. This book was originally published in Germany, in 1967.
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I am overwhelmed by Mr Bornstein's ability to document his experiences through the Holocaust at such an early stage - many survivors took decades to be able to even begin to talk about what happened. And how incredible that this is now available to us to read in English.
My family and I have heard a number of survivors share some of their experience - either telling the story themselves or being recounted for them by their children or grandchildren. What is unique about The Long Night is that it is a direct account of what happened, written in his mother tongue and beautifully translated into English - how incredible to be able to pass this on, to share the atrocities with our children, grandchildren and future generations, that they can begin to appreciate how the victims of the holocaust were treated and their determination to survive.
As the number of Holocaust survivors alive to share their stories and experiences with us diminishes, a book like this is a must read for all to learn lessons for now and the future.
The author wrote this book with a strong sense of self but clearly also with the purpose of educating a next generation and those beyond.
This is a story that is relevant now more than ever and his words speak for all of those who suffered and their present and future families.
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