A Gypsy In Auschwitz by Otto Rosenberg

Book Description:

‘Why did I survive when so many others did not?’

Otto was just nine years old when his family was captured in Berlin. All around him, Sinti and Roma families were being torn from their homes and broken up, many of them disappearing altogether.

When Otto arrived in Auschwitz, he, as so many others, suffered unimaginable humiliation and suffering, and witnessed horrific violence and dehumanisation of his fellow Sinti. He had a brush with Dr Mengele, got caught up in a riot and nearly lost his life an astonishing number of times. Somehow though, through luck, sheer human will to live, or both, he survived.

Deeply moving and unforgettable, A Gypsy in Auschwitz is the incredible true story of how a young Gypsy boy miraculously survived the unimaginable darkness of the Holocaust.

My Thoughts:

This is Otto’s story of his time in the run up to, during and after the war. There aren’t that many books I have come across with regards to gypsies and how they were treated during in the camps so I wanted to read it.

It is very saddening that there was so much prejudice for anyone who was “different” to Hitler’s ideal race. Otto had a big family with his mother and father splitting up and having children with different partners. So many of them lost their lives and whilst that wasn’t Otto’s doing, he very clearly suffered with survivor’s guilt that he made it and so many of his family and friends didn’t.

You get a real sense of what Otto was like as a person and in the main, many seemed to like him and whilst he fell on his feet in getting certain jobs in the camps, he far from had it easy. He endured beatings as well as seeing things no human should ever have to see. It is no wonder he found it hard to talk about that time for so many years.

Whilst overall Otto’s story is simplistic in it’s telling, I did find parts confusing as he would be talking about his mother where she would be dead and then literally not much further on he would mention her again but she would be alive. It seemed to be that he has written things down as they came to him but some haven’t been put in any type of order. Other than that this is an emotional and fairly quick read as it finished around 85%. It is a hard-hitting story through the eyes of Otto and one that needs to be learned from if we ever want to live in peace.

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