Alexander Rosenberg was a smart and curious teenager who spoke many languages, collected stamps, played the violin, and lived a pampered life with his affluent parents in a tranquil Czechoslovakian town. The rise of fascism and Nazi Germany causes his protected existence to collapse, alongside the illusion of secular Jewish assimilation in 1930s Europe.
Using their last reserves of wealth and influence to escape extermination, the Rosenbergs go underground to avoid the Gestapo. Eventually exposed, captured, and taken to Buchenwald, the largest concentration camp in Germany, Alexander and his father collaborate to survive one day at a time.
A chaotic chain of events puts young Alexander at the heart of a massive armament sabotage scheme. When his father is gravely injured and disappears after an air bombing, it is up to industrious Alexander to create leverage and use wartime machinations and raw talent to save his father’s life.
This universal, true story of inner strength, resourcefulness and optimism was documented and written by Alexander’s grandson, Oren Schneider. It is dedicated to brave people everywhere who choose not to give up.
“The Apprentice of Buchenwald is an incredible story of courage and survival, meticulously researched and masterfully told.Oren Schneider's historically significant memoir of his grandfather is thrilling, riveting and totally unputdownable. Contemporary events make this book relevant today more than ever."
"If Alex Ruziak’s story of survival sounds miraculous, it is because Jews in Nazi-occupied Slovakia needed a miracle—indeed multiple miracles—to survive the horrors of genocide. Oren Schneider mesmerizingly tells this story with compassion, suspense, and meticulous attention to historical detail. But “The Apprentice of Buchenwald” is more than the tale of a young man who prevailed against all odds as his comfortable bourgeois life was upended by the Nazis’ Final Solution. It is also a thoughtful reflection on the complexities of remembering, both for those who endured the trauma firsthand, and those who grew up in its shadow. As Schneider learned from his grandfather, optimism is the ultimate triumph. This is a moving tribute to a grandfather who chose life in face of adversity, one that many of us, grandchildren of those who miraculously survived the Holocaust, never had the courage or tenacity to write."
"Being an inmate of a Nazi concentration camp did not stop Alexander Rosenberg. It did not stop him from doing whatever he could to keep his father alive. And it did not stop him from sabotaging the Nazi war effort by subtly tampering with the weaponry he assembled. In telling this story, Oren Schneider does both of these things as well. He keeps his grandfather's memory alive. And he directly sabotages the efforts of those enemies of the Jewish people who deny the enormity of the Shoah, or who tell us that protection can be found in assimilation. Read this work and hear the messages kept alive from a grandfather by his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, messages as relevant for the Jewish people today as they were when Alexander Rosenberg took up arms for the creation of the State of Israel: Be grateful for life. Believe in what you can accomplish. And never rely on the world for your safety."
Another stunning book to be released by Amsterdam Publishers is part memoir and part autobiography, written by the author, Oren Schneider, a detailed, beautifully written story about the author's grandfather’s experiences before, during and after the Holocaust. The first part of the book relates the story of Schneider’s Jewish grandfather’s elegant and successful life in Central Europe prior to World War II, the destruction of that life by local Hungarian Nazis and later German Nazis, the survival of Grandfather by his wits and talents and the reconstruction of his life in Israel after the war. The second part of the book is the story of the author, a then self-absorbed young man, who connects with his grandfather in a deeply emotional way during a trip to Europe with his grandfather and the concentration camp in which his grandfather was incarcerated. This is a deeply inspirational and moving book about how grandfather’s technical skills, language skills, personal courage and fearlessness led him to victory over his Nazi captors. The story is riveting, exciting and satisfying. The writing is superb as the author pulled me in to the story. I liked the occasional touches of humor that helped round out the personalities of both grandfather and grandson. Many books are described as “page turners.” This one really is. Once I started reading this book, I didn’t put it down until I turned the last page. The book’s subtitle is: “The true story of the teenage boy who sabotaged Hitler’s war machine.” It’s true. Schneider’s grandfather sabotaged hundreds if not thousands of Mauser rifles in collaboration with Russian POW’s in the arms factory in which they all worked as slave laborers. There is a hint — unable to be confirmed — in the last section of the book, how the sabotage could have ironically boomeranged during Israel’s War of Independence. “The Apprentice of Buchenwald” is suitable for upper level high school students and adults. It is destined to become a classic. You really need to read it.
Amsterdam Publishers, led by Liesbeth Heenk, is the leading imprint for Holocaust memoirs in Europe.