Friday, November 3, 2006

Harry Haft, Survivor of Auschwitz and Rocky Marciano

The time was out of joint, the entire world would soon be engulfed in a cruel war pitting freedom against the tyranny of Hitlers genocidal strategy.
In Poland, long a symbol for the most virulent anti-Semitism, gangs of Nazis and Polish sympathizers roamed the country-side committing pogroms and helping to further Germany's final solution.
With the invasion of Poland Harry Haft, a 16 year old Jewish boy, betrothed to his lovely wife, planning to wed in a few days, was tragically captured by the Nazis while rescuing his older brother, and sent to German enforced labor camps.
Forced into bare-knuckle brawls to entertain Nazi soldiers and Polish collaborators,
Mr Haft learned to defeat his hapless opponents as mercifully as possible, while allowing himself to survive with the hope of someday re-uniting with his family and finding his beloved bride-to-be, Leah.
Harry Haft drew an apparently unending strength from within his heart and soul and survived the death camps, eventually escaping from Auschwitz-Birkenau and the details of his escape are riveting and heart-rending, as well as filled with inevitable brutality .
The story isn't over at his escape, however.
Incredibly, Harry Haft becomes a celebrated boxer, after coming to America, eventually contending with the great champion Rocky Marciano in a controversial heavy weight fight while Marciano is at the height of his pugilistic ability.
The book is filled with shock and horror, but also hope and tenderness.
The author, Mr. Haft's son, Alan Haft, who lives and works in New Mexico with his wife Gail, has done a splendid job in not only chronicling the story of a Holocaust survivor, but capturing the essence and personality of his father, who the reader feels as if he knows personally after this literary journey together.
"Harry Haft..Survivor of Auschwitz and challenger of Rocky Marciano" clearly and chillingly chronicles this heroic young man's journey through horror and ultimate redemption, and indicates, sadly, once more, the true depth of the loss of six million of Mr Haft's brethren, coreligionists and our fellow human beings.

I strongly recommend this well researched, well written, and deeply moving, biography.
It's available at
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