Into the Tunnel: The Brief Life of Marion Samuel, 1931-1943

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Henry Holt and Company, Jan 8, 2008 - History - 144 pages
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A generous feat of biographical sleuthing by an acclaimed historian rescues one child victim of the Holocaust from oblivion

When the German Remembrance Foundation established a prize to commemorate the million Jewish children murdered during the Holocaust, it was deliberately named after a victim about whom nothing was known except her age and the date of her deportation: Marion Samuel, an eleven-year-old girl killed in Auschwitz in 1943. Sixty years after her death, when Götz Aly received the award, he was moved to find out whatever he could about Marion's short life and restore this child to history.

In what is as much a detective story as a historical reconstruction, Aly, praised for his "formidable research skills" (Christopher Browning), traces the Samuel family's agonizing decline from shop owners to forced laborers to deportees. Against all odds, Aly manages to recover expropriation records, family photographs, and even a trace of Marion's voice in the premonition she confided to a school friend: "People disappear," she said, "into the tunnel."

A gripping account of a family caught in the tightening grip of persecution, Into the Tunnel is a powerful reminder that the millions of Nazi victims were also, each one, an individual life.

 

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User Review  - stephaniechase - LibraryThing

Aly has written a touching volume about how little we can know about the many, many people who perished as part of the Holocaust. At times sad -- the Samuel family had nearly everything taken away ... Read full review

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My ten year old daughter could not put this 120 page book down.
She was fascinated to read the German and the translated forms which enabled Mr. Aly to tell the story of Miss Marion's short life
.
Receipts from household furnishings being bought from the family, with the associated discounts and handling fees, landlord's letters to municipal authorities demanding rent for apartments vacated by the Samuel family, their photographs, concentration camp attendance lists, brought the family and their last hours to life.
The bureaucratic minutia caused my daughter to ask why there were people who doubted that millions of people were killed during world war 2 and the Holocaust when records were so well preserved.
Out of the mouths of babes...
Lou Polur
 

Contents

Once Upon a Time in Arnswalde and Ueckermunde
14
People Fall into a Hole
37
Portrait of a Persecuted Family
83
Afterword by Walther Seinsch
109
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About the author (2008)

Götz Aly, the author of Hitler's Beneficiaries and Architects of Annihilation, among other books, is one of the most respected historians of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. He has been a visiting fellow at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and currently teaches at the Free University of Berlin.

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