I first heard Michael Bornstein’s story on Iowa Public Radio this spring. By the time I remembered to put myself on the holds list for it, there were quite a few people in front of me. Anything they talk about on public radio, whether on the local shows or national shows, gets a bump in holds at the library. It’s a nice reminder that there are other people out there listening to the same things I like, although I sometimes have to wait a while.
It’s such an incredible story – at any point, a wrong word or move could have and did mean that people he loved were led off in a different direction and killed. Why is it that we humans seem to find, over and over, so many opportunities to dehumanize and kill each other? It’s horrifying, and yet unsurprising, that after surviving Auschwitz and other camps, Michael and some members of his family returned home, only to be kept out of their homes and attacked by local bands of thugs who were looking for someone to brutalize and blame after the fact.
Michael was very young and very lucky. What a gift to all of us that he shared the story, particularly now.
Survivors Club: the true story of a very young prisoner of Auschwitz by Michael Bornstein and Debbie Bornstein Holinstat