A Train Near Magdeburg: A Journey into the Holocaust [2016]




Jewish children on a death train.

Nazi murderers.

A teacher on a mission.

What happened will leave you speechless! Be uplifted.


A Train Near Magdeburg: A Teacher's Journey into the Holocaust and the reuniting of the survivors and liberators, 70 years on [2016]

In the last days of World War II, American soldiers freed a trainload of Jewish prisoners heading to certain death at Nazi hands. Rich with eyewitness testimony, this gripping narrative follows both the survivors and their liberators in vivid detail, from the Holocaust experience throughout Europe, to emotional reunions decades later, all made possible by a history teacher.

501 PAGES.

Publisher's Summary

"It's not a novel. It's not based on a true story. It really happened, and I am a witness. You will be, too."

A teacher's personal journey of reflection as he comes to grips with reuniting American soldiers-liberators with the actual Holocaust survivor-children they saved 65 years before...

What do you do if you are a reluctant soldier, having been shot at, seen your friends killed, and can no longer even remember what your own mother looks like? As a combat soldier fighting your way across Europe, what is the plan when you come across a Holocaust train full of suffering humanity that shocks you to your core, even after you think you have seen it all? And what happens when you get to meet the survivors face-to-face, two generations later?

From the author of The Things Our Fathers Saw in the World War II eyewitness history series comes this book, offering the true story behind an iconic photograph taken at the liberation of a death train, deep in the heart of Nazi Germany. It's brought to life by the history teacher who discovered it and went on to reunite hundreds of Holocaust survivors with the actual American soldiers who saved them.

The Holocaust was a watershed event in history. Drawing on never-before published eyewitness accounts, survivor testimony and memoirs, wartime reports and letters, Matthew Rozell takes us on his journey to uncover the stories behind the incredible 1945 liberation photographs taken by the soldiers who were there. 

He weaves together a chronology of the Holocaust as it unfolds across Europe and goes to the authentic sites of the Holocaust to retrace the steps of the survivors and the American soldiers who freed them. His mission culminates in joyful reunions in three continents, seven decades later.

Rozell offers his unique perspective on the lessons of the holocaust for future generations and the impact that one person - a teacher - can make. Features testimony from 15 American liberators and over 30 Holocaust survivors.

"After I got home I cried a lot. My parents couldn't understand why I couldn't sleep at times." (Walter "Babe" Gantz, US Army medic)

"I grew up and spent all my years being angry. This means I don't have to be angry anymore." (Paul Arato, Holocaust survivor)

"I survived because of many miracles. But for me to actually meet, shake hands, hug, and cry together with my liberators - the "angels of life" who literally gave me back my life - was just beyond imagination." (Leslie Meisels, Holocaust survivor)

"People say it cannot happen here in this country; yes, it can happen here. I was 21 years old. I was there to see it happen!" (Luca Furnari, US Army)

"It's not for my sake, it's for the sake of humanity, that you will remember." (Steve Barry, Holocaust survivor)



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Author’s Note 11
Hell on Earth 19
The Last Transport 61
Darkness Descends 71
Lost in Germany 81
The Ash Yards of Poland 103
A Child in Holland 161
‘Hungary is Judenrein’ 181
Coming Home 225
A Date with the Cosmos 235
A Time to Die 243
The Bulge and Beyond 269
What the Soldiers Saw 289
‘The Americans Are Here’ 305
‘I’ll never forget today.’ 341
‘The Indomitable Spirit’ 357
‘Now I know what I fought for.’ 379
‘For the Sake of Humanity’ 383
The Medics 397
The Orphan 417
Denial 421
The Mystery 427
‘What do you want the world to be?’ 443
About this Book/Acknowledgements 469
List of Reunions 481


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