From ghetto to death camp – a memoir of privilege and luck
Anatol Chari was a member of the Jewish Special Police Force and his memoirs are one of the few publications to shed light on events from this particular perspective. Chari shares his reminiscences in depth in an unflinching manner, and not without a certain irony.
Anatol Chari hails from a well-respected Jewish family in Lodz. After the Nazi occupation of the town, his father was murdered, his family was dispossessed and sent to live in the ghetto. The chairman of the Jewish Council there held a protecting hand over Anatol Chari, enabling him to complete his high school graduation at the Ghetto Lyceum. He joined the Jewish Special Police Force and so managed to obtain enough food to avoid starvation, giving him enough energy later to cope with the forced labour and thereby evade the gas chambers. In 1944 he was sent to Auschwitz and from there to Gross-Rosen; this was followed by various other concentration camps, before he was finally liberated from Bergen-Belsen.
His life was saved repeatedly by a succession of fortuitous twists and turns of fate – sometimes at the expense of others. Ever since that time, Anatol Chari has pondered why he should have survived when others didn’t, and how people behave in such extreme circumstances.
English manuscript available.