Ben Helfgott

The Story of One of the Boys

Freedland, Michael

This is not just the story of another Holocaust survivor. After all, very few survivors would, just a few years after liberation, become Olympic athletes. It is a story Michael Freedland tells after dozens of interviews with Ben himself, as well as with members of his family, fellow survivors, and residents of his old home town in Poland. Ben grew up in a small Polish town, Pietrkow. His sister, the only other member of his family to survive, said that if she or anyone else needed a protector, Ben was the one to call. When the Nazis came to Pietrkow, his mother and one sister were shot. He and his father managed to survive initilly in the town ghetto by working in a glass factory and a woodwork plant. Before long, they were transported to the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp where his father subsequently died. Taken to Thereisenstadt, Ben was eventually liberated by the Red Army. Before long, he was one of 'The Boys' who came to England. His sporting excellence was recognised when he was selected for two Olympic Games in which he represented Britain as a weightlifter. He became a successful businessman and retired early so that he could make a personal crusade of bringing together other survivors. He founded the famous 45 Aid Society, worked with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Holocaust Educational Trust. In his mid 80s, Ben is a prominent figure in the Claims Conference, which has awarded billions of dollars to needy survivors. He is a great believer in reconciliation with both Germany and his native Poland-and both nations have given him awards in recognition of his work. [Subject: Biography, Holocaust Studies, Reconciliation, Claims Conference]


216 pages

Due: 2/22/2018