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By Chance Alone
By Chance Alone: A Remarkable True Story of Courage and Survival at Auschwitz | Max Eisen
22 posts | 18 read | 45 to read
In the tradition of Elie Wiesels Night and Primo Levis Survival in Auschwitz comes a new memoir by Canadian survivor More than 70 years after the Nazi camps were liberated by the Allies, a new Canadian Holocaust memoir details the rural Hungarian deportations to Auschwitz-Birkenau, back-breaking slave labour in Auschwitz I, the infamous death march in January 1945, the painful aftermath of liberation, a journey of physical and psychological healing. Tibor Max Eisen was born in Moldava, Czechoslovakia into an Orthodox Jewish family. He had an extended family of sixty members, and he lived in a family compound with his parents, his two younger brothers, his baby sister, his paternal grandparents and his uncle and aunt. In the spring of1944--five and a half years after his region had been annexed to Hungary and the morning after the familys yearly Passover Seder--gendarmes forcibly removed Eisen and his family from their home. They were brought to a brickyard and eventually loaded onto crowded cattle cars bound for Auschwitz-Birkenau. At fifteen years of age, Eisen survived the selection process and he was inducted into the camp as a slave labourer. One day, Eisen received a terrible blow from an SS guard. Severely injured, he was dumped at the hospital where a Polish political prisoner and physician, Tadeusz Orzeszko, operated on him. Despite his significant injury, Orzeszko saved Eisen from certain death in the gas chambers by giving him a job as a cleaner in the operating room. After his liberation and new trials in Communist Czechoslovakia, Eisen immigrated to Canada in 1949, where he has dedicated the last twenty-two years of his life to educating others about the Holocaust across Canada and around the world. The author will be donating 100% of his royalties for this book to registered charities that promote education and humane causes.
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TheBookHippie
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“I don‘t know what to say other than speak out.”

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kelidanielle
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Pickpick

Absolutely incredible. The strength and resilience of some humans is mind boggling.

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Cinfhen
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Pickpick

Every Friday night as tradition dictates, my husband recites the following blessing to our children before we sit down for Shabbat dinner. “May God bless you and protect you. May God‘s face shine toward you and show you favor. May God look favorably upon you and grant you peace.” These words are the last Max Eisen will hear from his father as he placed his hands upon Max‘s head through the barbed wires of Auschwitz. 👇🏼

Cinfhen After being separated from every immediate family member (a total of 60 innocent souls) Max is the only one left to give testament to the evils he witnessed & experienced.
With bravery, brains & a bit of “luck” Max was able to persevere the death camps of Auschwitz and live through the 1945 Death March. His account of endurance and strength will move you.
3y
Cinfhen Thank you @TrishB for another wonderful book 💋 #InfiniteTissueRead 3y
TrishB He was a brave soul ♥️ 3y
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marleed Beautiful review. 3y
Cinfhen As the years go by, fewer and fewer survivors are left to tell their stories @TrishB @marleed I‘m passing this book unto my son who will be traveling to Poland with his senior grade to learn about and view the remains of Auschwitz and other concentration camps from a survivor. 3y
Mollyanna I‘m tearing up just reading your review! 😢. It‘ll break my heart a thousand times, but I‘m stacking it. 3y
Cinfhen Tissues are required @Mollyanna but knowing Max survives and seeing him publish an award winning memoir does make this book more bearable to handle. ❤️ 3y
Cathythoughts Beautiful words in your blessing ♥️ 3y
mrp27 I heard a survivor speak last April in LA at the Museum of Tolerance and it was hands down the most visceral, profound experience I've ever had, I was ugly crying. When the speaker was asked why she choose to tell her story that is what she said, fewer survivors are left and for those that don't believe it happened. Her name was Eva Brettler and she was a child survivor. 3y
Cinfhen I‘ve heard a few survivors speak and each time their story is slightly different and I learn something more. It‘s a privilege and honor to hear these first hand testaments @mrp 3y
Cinfhen Thank you @Cathythoughts ✡️💟☮️ 3y
LeahBergen Oh, I CRIED when this won Canada Reads this year and they telephoned him live to tell him he won. 😭😭😭 3y
Cinfhen Oh, that would have set me off in tears too @LeahBergen 😭 3y
JennyM Your review has made me cry, so I can‘t imagine the book. Beautiful words, Cindy ❤️ 3y
TrishB I‘m glad the book is travelling with your son ❤️ 3y
Hollie I really need to read this ASAP! 3y
Cinfhen You really should @Hollie and I still want to read a book you mentioned a long while back 3y
Cinfhen Thank you so much @JennyM 😘😘 3y
Centique Beautiful review 😰 and paired with beautiful photo 😍🌸💕 3y
Cinfhen Thanks so much @Centique are you guys getting ready for summer holiday soon??? 3y
Centique @Cinfhen we‘re just about to hit school holidays at the end of September. We‘ve got a small holiday planned at the bottom of the South Island. Spring temps will be about 65 Fahrenheit down there? Will be super pretty though 🌲🌳🌷 3y
Centique @Cinfhen we don‘t usually get hot here until December. Christmas by the pool with strawberries and champagne (if I‘m lucky!) 3y
Hollie @Cinfhen yes! You definitely should 😘 3y
Suet624 💕💕💕 3y
106 likes10 stack adds24 comments
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thereadingowlvina
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Pickpick

Then he said, "If you survive, you must tell the world what happened here. Now go." This were the last words spoken to Max Eisen's by his father before he was led away for the gas chamber during the Nazi's selection process in 1944. This book is written to fulfil his father's final wish. It's a poignant yet inspirational read.

Rating: 5⭐

For my full review please visit https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2857316479

Suet624 💕💕💕 3y
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TrishB
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Pickpick

Politics is a mess at the moment. History tells us that when politics is a mess, people die.
Remain vigilant, challenge bigotry, don‘t remain silent.
I feel so much for Max, what a story he had to tell, so humble and using that experience to try and teach others. Never forget.

Emilymdxn Great message for us all to keep in mind. I love literature as a form of bearing witness in terrible times 💖 4y
Cathythoughts Great review! I have it stacked already 4y
JennyM 👊 💥♥️ 4y
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TrishB
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Never forget people, it‘s sliding this way at the moment.

DGRachel Terrifying. 😭 4y
Bookwomble With May gone, the contenders for unelected leader of the country are an unappetising bunch 😕 4y
TrishB @DGRachel exactly 😔 4y
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TrishB @Bookwomble and even further to the right. 4y
Velvetfur I thought this when reading the book about WW1 and finding out how it happened. Scary similarities with today. Scary how those in charge just don't learn from past mistakes, and don't care about it all happening again. 4y
Bookwomble @TrishB Sadly so, and what feels worse to me is that some of them aren't even that right wing per se, they just see pandering to the right as a route to power, the consequences be damned (as they might well be). 4y
TrishB @Velvetfur the people in power are never the little people that will suffer. 4y
TrishB @Bookwomble exactly! It‘s the bring in power that counts, not how you might then use that power for good. 4y
GingerAntics People should be more alarmed than they are, honestly. So many people think we‘re exaggerating when we say things like this. I‘m with you 100%. 4y
TrishB @GingerAntics I‘ll just carry on ranting in the corner! I really don‘t want to be saying I told you so though. 4y
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TrishB
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A reminder today, filled with sadness looking at the ballot paper today. At least three candidates from far right parties/groups. So depressing, spreading hatred and racist bile.

Lindy 😔 4y
JennyM It was the exact same in the Aus election a few weeks ago. It‘s so sad, and scary that this is where we are 💔 4y
Leftcoastzen 😟 4y
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Itchyfeetreader Agreed. I was also disheartened by how many independents had put themselves on the ballot for me but I had not heard from them nor could I find out about them 4y
TrishB @Itchyfeetreader Tommy Robinson is standing in my area! It‘s horrible 😔 4y
TrishB @JennyM feels awful 😔 4y
TrishB @Lindy @Leftcoastzen fighting the fight everyday!! 4y
Itchyfeetreader @trishB heard@many of my family on the subject. I am hoping the outcome puts him firmly back in his box (edited) 4y
Leftcoastzen Right on ,sister!👍💪👏✊❤️ 4y
TrishB @Itchyfeetreader hopefully 🤞🏻 4y
TrishB @Leftcoastzen 😘❤️ 4y
CarolynM I know just how you feel 😡😔😢 @JennyM it was only a few days ago, it's just the heavy hearts that make it feel like weeks! It was bad enough here, must be really hard for you. I have a friend living in Townsville, she was nearly in tears over her ballot paper. 4y
AmyG It‘s a very scary world we live in. All we can do is fight the good fight. 4y
teainthelibrary We got some racist pamphlet through our letter box - right across the top it said ‘ENGLISH JOBS FOR ENGLISH PEOPLE‘. Have to say, as an American living in the UK, it makes me feel a little unwelcome and also a bit anxious that I might get accosted by these people at work or something. Meh. 😭 4y
Freespirit Feeling for you. Seems it's a world wide phenomenon😪 4y
JennyM @CarolynM goodness, it was only last week wasn‘t it! I think I‘ve tried to block it all out. 4y
Tamra Puke 4y
Tamra @teainthelibrary ugh though here it would say the same but for “American people.” It‘s all so disgusting. 4y
batsy The spread of far right/fascist sentiment is sad and frightening 😟 I'm grateful that there are so many of us who find this appalling and absolutely unacceptable, though ✊🏽 4y
marleed Breaks my heart that this behavior is normalized. 4y
TrishB @teainthelibrary I find that offensive and I‘m English! 💔 it‘s not all of us as you know. 4y
TrishB @CarolynM @AmyG @Freespirit @Tamra @batsy @marleed @JennyM I take some heart from what Suba says in that I find it uplifting that so many of us are carrying on fighting back. 4y
teainthelibrary @TrishB definitely not!! It just makes me wonder where these people@are hiding at 😂 4y
TrishB @teainthelibrary behind their keyboards and balaclavas! 4y
Weaponxgirl Normally I wouldn‘t condone such behaviour but do you want me to get you a milkshake? 😉 4y
Weaponxgirl But on a serious note, it‘s terrifying atm. The guardian had a article about how racist attacks have gone up since the brexit vote and these people now feel emboldened to air these views and Harass people publicly. I‘ve noticed on the bbc a few times recently that they have been trying to be more “balanced” on certain issues and are going in a direction I‘m not all to comfortable with as it is normalising awful views. 4y
TrishB @Weaponxgirl 😂😂👍🏻 4y
TrishB @Weaponxgirl I agree, on the platform of free speech we are letting this become acceptable. It is terrifying and I worry where we‘re all headed. 4y
Weaponxgirl @TrishB I just think about people like Jess Phillips, she has been amazing recently. When talking about the school protests in Birmingham she answered a statement about her opinion with “it‘s not my opinion, equality is the law and we don‘t get to pick and choose “ bloody love her and people like her give me hope (edited) 4y
TrishB @Weaponxgirl exactly!! She‘s been great. 4y
Itchyfeetreader 38,000 I am heartsore. 4y
TrishB @Itchyfeetreader it‘s all a frightening mess 😱 4y
108 likes32 comments
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candority
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March Wrap Up!

March felt like a slow reading month, but it ended up being consistent with my totals from the last couple of months. I read 16 books in March (6 physical, 5 ebooks, 5 audiobooks). My favourites this month were the tagged book and The Kite Runner.

#MarchWrapUp #MarchStats

BookishTrish How was Shout? 4y
StephanieMarie March felt like a slow month to me too! Glad you were able to meet the same totals :) 4y
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candority @BookishTrish Shout was a 4-star read for me! I listened to it on audio, and it was great to hear the author‘s words in her own voice. It delves into her home life and upbringing, her experiences after Speak was published, and broader social commentary about sexual assault. It was short and well worth the listen/read! 4y
candority I loved By Chance Alone @thereadingowlvina! It was told primarily chronologically from Eisen‘s childhood to now, and being a Holocaust memoir, it was obviously very difficult to read at times. He had some very unique experiences, and I appreciated learning about Barrack 21 (the surgery ward) at Auschwitz-Birkenau, as well as his post-liberation experiences. I would highly recommend it! 4y
candority @StephanieMarie I hope April is a better month for you! 4y
thereadingowlvina @candority Sounds like a really good read! Thank you! I'll definitely read this 🙂 4y
StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Great job! 📖💖 4y
candority @thereadingowlvina I hope you enjoy it! 😊 4y
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candority
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Pickpick

The well-deserved winner of #CanadaReads2019, By Chance Alone is an incredible memoir of strength, resilience, and gratitude. The author, Max Eisen, was only fifteen when he arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and as with all survivor‘s accounts, the horrors he experienced there are incomprehensible. Stories like his are so important, especially as anti-Semitism in on the rise and the voices of Holocaust survivors fade away. #CanadaReads Full review ⬇️

candority www.goodreads.com/review/show/2745371324 4y
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BookishTrish
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The new floof is just one of many reasons I didn‘t read as much this month. #EarlGrey

kamoorephoto Wait...new kitty???!! 4y
BookishTrish @kamoorephoto We got a rescue kitty two weeks ago. He‘s very kittenish 4y
kamoorephoto I‘m so happy for you!!!!! 4y
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KarenJMcLean
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I wasn‘t able to read them before our country‘s annual battle of the books, but after religiously watching the debates last week, I can‘t wait to dive in!

MayJasper Sounds fascinating. What is the annual battle of the books? 3y
KarenJMcLean It‘s called Canada Reads and it‘s done by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (AKA CBC). 3y
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BookishTrish
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I‘ve finished all of the #CanadaReads shortlist and I‘m backing this book to win. Suzanne I adored - even more than BCA - and will revisit time and again, but I think this memoir is more in line with the theme. My remaining three order is: Brother, The Woo-Woo, Homes

StephanieMarie I have Brother and By Chance Alone tied for first (I can't decide between them), then Suzanne, Homes and The woo. I do think though that Suzanne might surprise me because Yanic Truesdale seems very well spoken and I think he will defend it well 4y
CouronneDhiver I‘m so impressed that you‘ve read them all! I have a hard time keeping up with prize announcements. Lol 4y
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xicanti
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I've now read all the Canada Reads books, and I'll be rooting for them in the following order:

By Chance Alone
Suzanne
Homes
Brother
The Woo-Woo

SUZANNE was my favourite by a big margin, but Holocaust education is more important than ever so I want to see BY CHANCE ALONE win. I liked HOMES but I don't feel strongly about it as a contender. I borderline disliked BROTHER (it was a syntax thing) and I couldn't finish THE WOO-WOO. #CanadaReads

Penny_LiteraryHoarders The Woo Woo was truly the only one I never intended on reading when I saw the lists. A bit saddened to see it make the shortlist over The Boy on the Beach! (I've only read Brother from the shortlist.) 4y
xicanti @Penny_LiteraryHoarders I felt bad about bailing on such a personal story, but it didn't work for me at all. I kept my hold on The Boy On the Beach even after it wasn't shortlisted, so I'm curious to see how I feel about it. So far, I've gotten a lot more out of the longlisted titles that didn't make the cut than I did from either of the bottom three on my list. 4y
wordzie Awesome 🙌 4y
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xicanti
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Pickpick

Everyone should read this Holocaust memoir. Max Eisen's prose might not sparkle, but his story is a vitally important look at what happened seventy years ago and what we must never, ever forget. I'm beyond grateful to him for sharing it with the world through this book and his work as a speaker.

Honestly, I don't know how the Canada Reads panelists are gonna debate against this. It means that much. #CanadaReads

Insightsintobooks What is the Canada Reads debating against? I've been wanting to read this, but my library doesn't have it. 4y
xicanti @Insightsintobooks each of the five Canada Reads panelists defends one book at the expense of the other four, either in general terms or by comparing two or more of the titles. They usually divide their focus between arguing why their book is the best and pointing out the other books' failings. 4y
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JacqMac
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Pickpick

Max has a very powerful story to tell. I‘ll just say, you should read this book because, “We must all be alert to the dangers of hatred, speak out against discrimination, and defend the openness and fairness of a free and democratic society with rules of law to sustain it.” Never forget.
#CanadaReads2019

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Blueberry
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#CanadaReads2019 shortlist

I did have one of these on my TBR already. The others I not sure I'm interested. But 4 of the 5 have 4+ stars on Goodreads.
@Nataliepatalie

NataliePatalie Dang. I haven't heard of any of these! 4y
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DebB117
Pickpick

Max Eisen‘s story is an important reminder of what can happen if intolerance is allowed and how easy it is for people to do what is safe rather than what is right. We are losing the voices of those who survived the holocaust. It is so important that it not be relegated to something long forgotten in the past.

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Cinfhen
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Just came across this book~ sounds like an important read for anyone interested in the Holocaust. Eisen has toured the world, educating people about the horrors he endured at the hands of the Nazis.
#WeRemember
International #Holocaust Remembrance Day. January 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of #Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.

Crazeedi I have read and studied this for many many years, toured the holocaust museum this summer. Recently I've had to read and then take a break, my heart is not able to handle too much at a time. #neverforget 4y
Melissa_J This one was just announced on the #CanadaReads2019 long list. Hopefully it makes it through to the final five. 4y
Cinfhen That‘s actually where I learned about this book @Melissa_J what a great list!! Lots of interesting choices 4y
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Cinfhen I agree @Crazeedi sometimes it becomes too much to bare 💔💔went with my kids to Yad Vashem ( Holocaust Museum in Israel) our guide was a survivor 😪 4y
TrishB Stacked 💔 4y
CouronneDhiver Really?! Wow. What a remarkable experience @Cinfhen 4y
Cinfhen Our guide was so feisty @CouronneDhiver she was probably in her mid 80‘s- she was originally from Austria - her parents were in academics she had 3 brothers and two sisters they all perished, along with all her aunts & uncles and grandparents. She said one other cousin survived. She was the youngest and her non Jewish housekeeper took her and hid her at great risk. Her housekeeper was listed in the Righteous Amongst Nations List. 4y
CouronneDhiver God bless her. That‘s such a sad story. Truly. 😢 4y
Crazeedi @Cinfhen a few risked their lives, and God bless each one who did. I have a book that lists the righteous among the nations. All about the memorial Yad Vashem. We must teach our next generations what evil can accomplish if good people don't stand 4y
Insightsintobooks I don't have this book yet, I added it to my TBR. I'm reading Night today. 4y
Cinfhen I requested this book from library @Insightsintobooks Good luck with Night. It‘s such a heartbreaking story to wrap your head around. 4y
Melissa_J I just bought this one. I haven‘t read many survivor accounts, but I think it‘s important to do so. I‘ve been to Mauthausen in Austria, and the emotions the visit evoked have never left me. 4y
Cinfhen I read a sample chapter @Melissa_J and I was a little disappointed 😔 the writing was very pedestrian, bland. Hope it gets better. Keep me updated...thanks 💕 4y
Melissa_J The book made it to the final five of Canada Reads. I started it last night so I‘ll keep you posted. 4y
Cinfhen Oh good!!! What else made the list???!! 4y
Cinfhen Thanks for sharing the link @Melissa_J I‘m actually interested in reading a few of those!!! Especially 4y
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