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A Lucky Child

A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

Thomas Buergenthal, Elie Wiesel (Foreword by)


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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (7/29/2012)
Paperback (4/7/2015)
Compact Disc (7/30/2012)
MP3 CD (7/30/2012)
Compact Disc (7/30/2012)
Paperback (9/16/2010)


Thomas Buergenthal, now a Judge in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, tells his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir A LUCKY CHILD. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life.

Now dedicated to helping those subjected to tyranny throughout the world, Buergenthal writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship. A LUCKY CHILD is a book that demands to be read by all.

Praise For A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy

"In the plainest words and the steadiest tones (as an intimate would speak deadly truth in the dead of night), Thomas Buergenthal delivers to us the child he once was: an unblemished little boy made human prey by Europe's indelible twentieth-century barbarism, a criminality that will never leave off its telling. History and memory fail to ebb; rather, they accelerate and proliferate, and Buergenthal's voice is now more thunderous than ever. Pledged to universal human rights, he has turned a life of gratuitous deliverance into a work of visionary compassion."-Cynthia Ozick, author of Heir to the Glimmering World

"A Lucky Child is an extraordinary story, simply and beautifully told. Heartbreaking and thrilling, it examines what it means to be human, in every good and awful sense. Perhaps most amazingly of all, Thomas Buergenthal remembers and renders the small mysteries and grand passions of childhood, even a childhood lived under the most horrific circumstances."-Elizabeth McCracken, author of An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

"The unsentimental tone of Buergenthal's writing magnifies his deliberate decision not to make melodrama out of a story that is plenty dramatic enough. Like Primo Levi and Anne Frank, Buergenthal can only tell the story of one life, but through that life we are led to consider and honor all the lives of those who weren't so lucky."-Kate Braestrup, author of Here If You Need Me

"An extraordinary historical document and a humane statement of great moral depth."--Bernard Wasserstein, Harriet and Ulrich E. Meyer Professor of History, University of Chicago

"An extraordinary and inspiring book by an extraordinary and inspiring man. It's one of those rare books you devour cover to cover in a single reading. It deserves to be read very widely indeed, especially for anyone desperate for a hint of light in a world that can often seem so very dark."-Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team and Lawless World

Little, Brown and Company, 9780316043403, 256pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2009

About the Author

Thomas Buergenthal is a judge at the International Court of Justice at The Hague. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he served as the first US Judge and later, President, of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. He has also served as a member of the UN Human Rights Committee. He has authored over a dozen books on international law, and is the subject of a biography, entitled Tommy, by the Norwegian humanitarian and UNICEF founder, Odd Nansen. Judge Buergenthal was also the co-recipient of the 2008 Gruber Foundation International Justice Prize.

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