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The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz: A True Story of Family and Survival

The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz: A True Story of Family and Survival

by Jeremy Dronfield


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“Brilliantly written, vivid, a powerful and often uncomfortable true story that deserves to be read and remembered. It beautifully captures the strength of the bond between a father and son.”—Heather Morris, author of #1 New York Times bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The #1 Sunday Times bestseller—a remarkable story of the heroic and unbreakable bond between a father and son that is as inspirational as The Tattooist of Auschwitz and as mesmerizing as The Choice.

Where there is family, there is hope

In 1939, Gustav Kleinmann, a Jewish upholster from Vienna, and his sixteen-year-old son Fritz are arrested by the Gestapo and sent to Germany. Imprisoned in the Buchenwald concentration camp, they miraculously survive the Nazis’ murderous brutality.

Then Gustav learns he is being sent to Auschwitz—and certain death.

For Fritz, letting his father go is unthinkable. Desperate to remain together, Fritz makes an incredible choice: he insists he must go too. To the Nazis, one death camp is the same as another, and so the boy is allowed to follow. 

Throughout the six years of horror they witness and immeasurable suffering they endure as victims of the camps, one constant keeps them alive: their love and hope for the future. 

Based on the secret diary that Gustav kept as well as meticulous archival research and interviews with members of the Kleinmann family, including Fritz’s younger brother Kurt, sent to the United States at age eleven to escape the war, The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz is Gustav and Fritz’s story—an extraordinary account of courage, loyalty, survival, and love that is unforgettable.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780063019317
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/26/2020
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 213,731
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

About the Author

Jeremy Dronfield is a biographer, historian, novelist and former archaeologist. His recent non-fiction titles include Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time, a Sunday Times Book of the Year. He lives in England. 

Table of Contents

Preface xiii

Prologue 1

Part I Vienna

1 "When Jewish Blood Drips from the Knife …" 5

2 Traitors to the People 28

Part II Buchenwald

3 Blood and Stone: Konzentrationslager Buchenwald 45

4 The Stone Crusher 63

5 The Road to Life 73

6 A Favorable Decision 88

7 The New World 104

8 Unworthy of Life 117

9 A Thousand Kisses 134

10 A Journey to Death 155

Part III Auschwitz

11 A Town Called Oswiecim 167

12 Auschwitz-Monowitz 187

13 The End of Gustav Kleinmann, Jew 195

14 Resistance and Collaboration: The Death of Fritz Kleinmann 208

15 The Kindness of Strangers 230

16 Far from Home 246

17 Resistance and Betrayal 261

Part IV Survival

18 Death Train 283

19 Mauthausen 298

20 The End of Days 313

21 The Long Way Home 330

Epilogue: Jewish Blood 338

Bibliography and Sources 347

Acknowledgments 357

Notes 361

Index 411

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