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Tracee G

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A Soldier of Chance by Nathan Rosenfeld
by Tracee G   
Rated "PG13" by the Author.
Last edited: Sunday, January 20, 2008
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2008

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After reading "A Soldier of Chance" I realized that not only did I not know much about the Holocause, I didn't really understand what it meant to live through this horrific time, and the trials and tribulations that many individuals had to go through not only to survive, but to keep their sanity as well.

To put it into perspective let me give you some statistics (as found on the History Place):

Country Initial Jewish Population Estimated % Killed Estimated Killed Number of Survivors
POLAND 3,300,000 91% 3,000,000 300,000
USSR 3,020,000 36% 1,100,000 1,920,000
HUNGARY 800,000 74% 596,000 204,000
GERMANY 566,000 36% 200,000 366,000
FRANCE 350,000 22% 77,320 272,680
ROMANIA 342,000 84% 287,000 55,000
AUSTRIA 185,000 35% 65,000 120,000
LITHUANIA 168,000 85% 143,000 25,000
NETHERLANDS 140,000 71% 100,000 40,000
118,310 60% 71,150 47,160
LATVIA 95,000 84% 80,000 15,000
SLOVAKIA 88,950 80% 71,000 17,950
YUGOSLAVIA 78,000 81% 63,300 14,700
GREECE 77,380 87% 67,000 10,380
BELGIUM 65,700 45% 28,900 36,800
ITALY 44,500 17% 7,680 36,820
BULGARIA 50,000 0% 50,000
DENMARK 7,800 .8% 60 7,740
ESTONIA 4,500 44% 2,000 2,500
LUXEMBOURG 3,500 55% 1,950 1,550
FINLAND 2,000 .03% 7 1,993
NORWAY 1,700 45% 762 938
TOTAL 9,508,340 63% 5,962,129 3,546,211

These figures are mind boggling - to call this a tragedy would be somewhat of a joke.  This book is written by the son of holocaust survivor, Alex Rosenfeld.  Alex came from a family of extremely hard workers.  He wasn't booksmart as some of his siblings were but preferred to learn a trade, something that may have had an integral part in his survival during the Nazi takeover.

Alex certainly had luck on his side, as you will see repeatedly when you read this book.  He is able to disguise his identity as a Polish Jew not once, but numerous times, and is able to convince the people in his life that he is a Frenchman who lost his family at birth and was adopted by a family with the last name Rosenfeld.  Unfortunately, truth be told, he does end up losing his parents and sisters to the holocaust. 

Instead of being sentenced to a concentration camp he is called to the police station where he is served his working papers.  Upon receiving these he volunteers to work in Germany in their factories (something he would have been eventually ordered to do anyway).  He has not choice as he is almost out of ration cards and will starve if he doesn't leave.  He ends up excelling at his work and even becomes friendly to some of the Germans including his bosses.  They have nothing bad to say about him and even award him a plaque commending him on being an exemplary employee, something else that may have attributed to his survival at a later point. 

Working in Germany eventually takes its toll, so on one of his vacations he decides it is time to stay in France and "do the right thing" by joining the French Resistance.  This also almost costs him his life numerous times, as the Germans continued to try and keep their reign of terror at an all time high, even though it appeared they were starting to weaken and lose their power.

One of the things I liked most about this book is you felt like you were there walking along the path that Alex followed.  Nathan adds wonderful historical documentation through photographs to help blend the historical aspects with his fathers personal experiences to truly give you an understanding of all this man went through to survive. 

This book is a true eye-opener and a refreshing view on how it is possible to overcome and survive anything as long as you don't give up and fight for what you believe in.

For more information on the holocaust, please visit The Holocaust Cybrary - it is a fascinating site.

A copy of this book is to be raffled off the first week in March. To enter the contest, please visit and sign your name to the guestbook below any book you are interested in.

As always, if you have any questions or problems, please email me at

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Reviewed by Linda Newton Perry
Sounds like a very informative book. I appreciate the stats.
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