“One has only to follow Wells’s precise description of the Nazi method of extermination to realize how irresponsible it is to blame these Jews for accepting their fate without defending themselves...Surely among the most objective...of personal testimonials...”
— The New York Times Book Review
Interned for years by the Nazis in the Janowska slave labor camp in Lvov, Poland, Leon Wells was consigned to a Sonderkommando unit, “the Death Brigade,” tasked to obliterate with bonfire and a “bone-crushing machine” all traces of the daily murders perpetrated in that camp. In this classic Holocaust memoir, now restored to print, Mr. Wells eloquently recalls his experience, describing life beyond imagination in its suffering and loss. Through it all, Leon Wells, though only in his teens, exhibited an enduring will to survive.
Leon and his family were Jews residing in the Polish province of Galicia, when the Germans occupied the region. Marched down the Janowska Road to the slave labor camp, Wells eventually escaped, was recaptured, and was assigned to the work detail forced to erase the evidence of the Third Reich’s guilt. Having lost his mother, father, and all six siblings one by one to these same killers, Wells miraculously escaped again, and went into hiding until the liberation, later testifying at the Nuremberg trials and the Eichmann trial. From the book cover.
“Can only be compared to...Dante’s Inferno.”
— Arnold Zweig
“Horrific...Unbearable...[Yet], one must not avoid looking into the fires.”
— Irving Halperin, Dimensions
“Holds the reader spellbound...An unsurpassable record of the borderless extremes of the human capacity for evil, and for endurance; it is a modern counterpart of Job, confronting not God, but Man.”
— Meyer Levin
Leon Weliczker Wells lives in New Jersey.