Book Review: Wood, Luck & Survival

Title: Wood, Luck & Survival

Author: Reuven Govrin

Genre: Historical, Memoir

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

How could Max and his father possibly have survived the Holocaust when so many did not?!

This story is the journey of the author and his brother to discover the happenings of their father, Max Gutkin, and his family during the Holocaust. When the German army invaded Riga, Latvian Jewry numbered about 95,000, of which only about 1,000 survived the war. The story of how Wood and luck somehow enabled Max and his father to survive the Holocaust, unlike so many, is riveting. The family business was engaged with forestry and wood, so Max, his older brother, and their father were forced to work in wood for the Nazis, while his mother and little brother were murdered.

A harrowing journey replete with painful memories…

The book traces their harrowing journey from work camp to work camp, a terrible choice that the father is forced to make, the aftermath of the war in Europe, and finally arrival in Israel. For 65 years Max silently bore the burden of these memories until the author led him on a path of discovery through his painful personal history.

Author Reuven (Gutkin) Govrin retraces his father’s steps during the Holocaust, trying to uncover why his father survived while so many others perished. Only about 1000 Jews in Riga, Latvia survived and somehow Max, his older brother and father did.

The book follows them as they go from work camp to work camp, from one tragedy into the next, forcing them to make choices no one should ever have to make.

The book’s message is a harrowing one, one that shows how the world failed the jewish people during World War II. It wasn’t just the Nazis that caused them harm: the entire world failed them because we didn’t stand up to protect them.

Considering the book talks about the author’s own journey, it’s an emotional read – the author’s emotions as he re-lives the horrible events of his childhood practically drip from the pages.

 

 

 

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