A Childhood

Jona Oberski
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Translated by Ralph Manheim

Paperback

144 pp

Published 28/08/2014

ISBN 9781782270676

An Irish Times Book of the Year

A small boy grows up in Amsterdam, making sand pies, playing with his favourite jumping jack toy, visiting his father's office as a treat. He is loved. Then men with guns come in the night to take them away, and the familiar world of his childhood is destroyed.

In this searing, spare novel Jona Oberski, who was transported to Bergen-Belsen as a young boy, recreates the state of childhood with unblinking, almost unbearable clarity. Conveying the joy of family life and the terror of separation, these vivid, haunting snapshots of memory have the darkness and strangeness of the most terrible fairy tale, as a child tries to understand the horror unfolding around him.

Jona Oberski was born in 1938 in Amsterdam. He studied and worked there as a nuclear and particle research physicist, and still lives there with his wife Froukje Slijper. He is the father of three sons, two from an earlier marriage.

e novel Jona Oberski, who was transported to Bergen-Belsen as a young boy, recreates the state of childhood with unblinking, almost unbearable clarity. Conveying the joy of family life and the terror of separation, these vivid, haunting snapshots of memory have the darkness and strangeness of the most terrible fairy tale, as a child tries to understand the horror unfolding around him.

'A compelling, brilliant evocation of life, terror and white lies as experienced by a small boy' Philippe Sands

'What to say about it other than to admit that it approaches perfection?... a rare achievement and a delight' John Self

'It will shock, move you to tears and fill you with despair at man's inhumanity... Admirably understated, his story is haunting, strange and terrible' Daily Mail

Jona Oberski was born in 1938 in Amsterdam. He studied and worked there as a nuclear and particle research physicist, and still lives there with his wife Froukje Slijper. He is the father of three sons, two from an earlier marriage.