Henry Oster and Dexter Ford
"Hunger gnawed at my insides. I couldn't last much longer. But just as I was beginning to give up, I found myself in the Auschwitz stables, with rows of stalls filled with horses. Barbarossa was a towering, beautiful stallion. He only responded to commands in German, and as the only German-speaking boy, I was chosen as his caretaker. I felt an ember of hope. If I could make myself useful, helping these horses, maybe I could stay alive."
Henry Oster was just five years old when Adolf Hitler took power in 1933. One of the 2,011 Jews who were rounded up by the Gestapo and deported from Cologne, he was one of only 23 to emerge alive from the concentration camps after the war.
A heart-wrenching and inspirational true account of a courageous little boy who, against all odds, after losing almost everything a human being can lose, survived to tell his story.
Torn from their home, Henry and his parents were deported to the Lodz Ghettoin Poland, a concentration camp within a city. Then, one terrifying day, after losing his father to starvation, Henry found himself and his mom herded onto a stifling, filth-ridden cattle car, on a ride to a place whose name has come to symbolize the worst of humanity: Auschwitz.
Nazis ripped Henry apart from his mother in the shuffling river of children, women, and men stepping off the train. For the first time in his life, Henry was completely alone.
Assigned to work in the Auschwitz stables, breeding horses, Henry had to tend his mares, Mutti, Olga, and the stallion Barbarossa from dawn into the night. It was back-breaking labour, but Henry clung to the belief that if he made himself hard to replace, he might just stay alive. With crippling hunger pains, Henry fed the horses each day, knowing that if he were caught pocketing a carrot or cramming some grain into his mouth, he would face the hangman.
Through it all-from finding ways to escape being selected for death in the Auschwitz/Birkenau gas chambers, to surviving a machine-gun firing squad, to enduring a brutal death march through the bleak Polish winter-Henry somehow found the strength and the will to keep on going.
Originally published as The Kindness of the Hangman.
Read what everyone is saying about The Stable Boy of Auschwitz:
'Heartbreaking. Eye opening. Tear jerking... kept having to tell myself that this was a real account of the Holocaust.' Amazon Reviewer
'Phenomenal... I learned more about the Holocaust than anything I have read in the past... I can't express how much this book affected me.' Amazon Reviewer
'Phenomenal book - a Must Read!!' Amazon Reviewer
'Spellbinding... I could not put this book down. The events are recorded in a human voice, not the history book version. I learned so much that was left out of my history books.' Amazon Reviewer
'A truly amazing story.' Amazon Reviewer
'A moving and powerful story of survival.' Amazon Reviewer
'Brought me to tears.' Amazon Reviewer
'An incredible story. Once I started reading, I couldn't put this down.' Amazon Reviewer
'Finished the book in 2 days... I could hardly put down my Kindle.' Amazon Reviewer
'Amazing story. One that needs to be told over and over to the next generations.' Amazon Reviewer
'Riveting, couldn't put it down. An amazing and heart wrenching recollection of unimaginable events. What an inspiring story of bravery, perseverance and finding the will to go on.' Amazon Reviewer
'I could not put the book down... will make you appreciate everything that you have in this world.' Amazon Reviewer
'I have never written an amazon review BEFORE finishing a book, but I'm doing it today... it is direct, evocative, and emotionally impossible to deal with all at once. IMO if you want to read about the Holocaust from a survivor, you owe it to yourself to read this book.' Amazon Reviewer
'This book is written with such truthful simplicity about the horror that nobody should have ever endured. I am so grateful that Oster's story has been told, and that he survived (and thrived) to tell it... Incredible.' Amazon Reviewer
In 1933 Henry Oster was just 5 years old, a carefree kindergartner in Cologne, Germany, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seized power. For the next 12 years Henry struggled to keep on breathing while his family, his friends and the Jews of Europe were overwhelmed by the Holocaust. Henry hid his mother from the SS in an attic in the Lodz, Poland Ghetto. He escaped a firing squad in Auschwitz. Endured a death march through the Polish winter. Formed a life-long friendship in the nightmare barracks of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Saw his friends killed by a British fighter-bomber. And came within hours of starving to death before his liberation by General Patton's 3rd Army. Henry rebuilt his life from nothing, coming of age as a free young man in Paris. He arrived in the U.S. with no English, no money, and no education. And from the ashes of a ruined past built a life full of love, joy, and compassion. Now, complete with chilling documents liberated from the Nazi concentration camps themselves, his heartbreaking, triumphant story can finally be told.
Henry sadly passed away in 2019 but up until then he was one of only two people of the 2,011 Jews who were rounded up by the Gestapo and deported from Cologne that lived to tell their story.
Dexter Ford is a Contributing Writer to The New York Times and other major publications on history, politics, the Holocaust, World War ll, architecture, transportation technology and the auto, aviation, motorcycle industries. He also writes extensively on adventure travel: he has flown upside-down with the Blue Angels, ridden a motorcycle through China, Russia, and the Andes, and swum alone, at night, with airplane-sized Manta Rays. Mr. Ford lives in Manhattan Beach, California and Higgins Bay, New York.
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