Thursday, October 21, 2021

Zalman Ber review by Bonnye Matthews

zalman396x500Sol Kotz, known as Zalman Ber in the book, tells it like it was, as he and his wife, Luba, survived the Holocaust, becoming separated and rejoined time after time against incredible odds. He tells it without pretense, convincingly reliving each event, emotion checked. Kotz includes some atrocities that are difficult to read. It’s a can’t-put-down read with no escape until the end. It’s not just words on paper. The endearing family photos included in the story are heart grabbing, personalizing their family members, causing grievous feeling to flow with the death of each. These are real people woven into a loving family – specific lives stamped out by Nazis for reasons that defy logic, born of insanity. The veracity of the story slaps the reader in the face – full force. It’s a story of Jews who were liquidated outside the concentration camps, and how they fought back. Their liquidated number exceeded the number slaughtered in the camps. There are breath-holding moments, an example of which is Zalman Ber’s singlehandedly wiring a bridge to explode as a train crosses it. This act proves his loyalty to the resistance (partisan) fighters as they watch from a distance. The explosion destroys 90 freight cars, 45 trucks filled with military supplies, and 60 German troops. Heady stuff for a young man in his early twenties. Zalman Ber joins the Russian military and continues to fight. Eventually, he and Luba come to the United States.

Although I’ve laid out a picture of seeming hopelessness, destruction, and despair, ZALMAN BER is primarily a love story of hope, courage, and resilience – inspirational for all times and places. Despite the takeover of Germany by a deranged dictator, people not only fought back – they prevailed. This memoir makes the plight of the Jewish people in the WWII era in Poland spring to life. ZALMAN BER is a classic true story of man against evil, paralleling The Diary of Anne Frank. The memoir is exceptionally well written. With no little excitement I very highly recommend ZALMAN BER: The True Story of the Man the Nazis Could Not Kill for synagogue, community, academic Judaic Studies, and World History collections. It should be made known to general readers. ZALMAN BER is also available as an e-book (9781594336713).

Bonnye Matthews

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One Response to Zalman Ber review by Bonnye Matthews

  1. Tonjia Kolanowski says:

    Sol and Luba’s amazing story of survival, authored by their daughter, seemed as though I was listening directly to Sol. This first hand story relating personal experiences suffered during the Russian occupation of Poland followed by the Nazi takeover and atrocities is fascinating and a quick read. It has wonderful examples of ingenuity, luck, perseverance, strength of human spirit and courage that was needed to survive the Holocaust and all the personal losses.
    Thank you Lisa, for sharing this story of your parents lives and survival.
    Tonjia Kolanowski

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Boni Weinstein
I read the book Saturday and thought it was wonderful. Not only was it so well written but I learned so much. It is the first book about the Holocaust that I could get through without being so sick afterwards. Your parents were incredibly brave people and I so admire their courage and spirit. I brought a copy to my son and urged him to read the book. I need to buy more.
Denise Mathot
I finished your book and it is SO Good!! It is unbelievable what your parents went through and I love the way their story is told.
Ava Young
"Zalman Ber" is a small book that makes a big impact. Written in a voice emerging from one of the most shameful and violent periods in human history, Zalman Ber lingers. I could easily carry this story with me for a lifetime, inspired by it's example of the resiliency of the human spirit. It makes me want to be a better person than I have been."