Surviving Mauthausen: Martin Small Manages Nearly Impossible Feat

Martin Small, 91, remembers all too well the terrible hell of Mauthausen concentration camp. When the camp was liberated in the spring of 1945 by American forces, Martin had been left for dead in the barracks of the subcamp of Gusen. He was still in his twenties, barely 75 pounds and unconscious when an American GI picked him up and carried him to an Army ambulance headed for a hospital in Linz.

Before liberation, he worked in the crematoria, burying inmates who had lost their lives due to hunger, disease, murder, torture, the cold and death in the gas chambers, as pictured in this historical photograph to the right.

“I still don’t know how I survived,” says Martin Small, who currently lives with his wife, Doris, in Colorado.

Martin’s life story is in a new book called Remember Us: From my shtetl through the Holocaust, sparing the reader with the most gruesome details of Mauthausen, is a work of history and personal struggle for survival. Remember Us focuses mostly on Martin’s shtetl life in pre-war Poland and his plight as a refugee. Yet, if the reader cares to investigate on his own, there are many sources on Mauthausen concentration camp on the internet.

In this photo, above, a guard with a machine gun watches over prisoners in the main courtyard.

For more information on Mauthausen concentration camp, Austria, including photographs, click here and here.

Read what people are saying about ‘Remember Us’

Remember Us, the book about Holocaust survivor Martin Small, has only been on the market for a couple of weeks, yet copies are being sold out faster than distributors can keep up with demand. We are thrilled that this book is so well received, and here are a couple of the first impressions by readers

In his poignant memoir, Remember Us, Martin Small relives his warm family life in the shtetl and the horrors that followed with the German occupation. Survival, however, is the inspiring message of this brave, spirited man. His story is action-packed (to say the least) and I read it in 2 sittings. It is deeply moving and, yes, I will “remember.” It would make a great TV film!!
— Doris Wechter, Santa Barbara, Calif.

——————————-

This is the only survivor book I ever read that has avoided the gruesome realities of concentration camps and focuses on other aspects of the Holocaust that I was completely unaware of. After reading about Martin Small’s grandfather, I was truly impressed by the richness of his early life and the gravity of what happened in human terms. This book reads like a novel, but grips you even more because it’s true.

— Ed Jensen, Philadelphia

—————————————–

One cannot read this story , come away untouched by Mr. Small’s detailed description of his home so many years ago. This book is a monument to all who lost their lives because they were Jews. I have long thought how hard it is to be Jewish and survive in a climate of hate and ignorance.

Martin, may God continue to bless you, have his light shine upon you and bring you peace.

— Ron Shayne, Miami, Florida

——————————–

This is a magnificent account of the horrors of the Holocaust as lived by Martin Small. Author Vic Shayne has been able to give the reader the feeling of presence during these horrific events. Mr. Small’s recollection is vivid and tragic at the same time. Having lost 86 members of his family to the murderous Nazi’s and their collaborators he has dedicated his life to memorialize these unspeakable events in his art and poetry. Now his book ‘Remember Us: From My Shtetl Through the Holocaust’ brings his message to new heights with the chant of ‘Never Again’ and ‘We Shall Never Forget’. This Herculean effort should be obligatory reading for everyone so that the horrors of the Holocaust as told by survivor Martin Small to Vic Shayne are understood and remembered forever.

— Pedro A. Rubio (The Woodlands, TX USA)

Holocaust Survivor Martin Small’s Story is Published

rememberusbookcover.jpg Remember Us: My Shtetl Through the Holocaust is available at long last, following more than three intensive years of writing and research.

If you’re unfamiliar with internet searches, simply go to amazon.com and type in the name “Martin Small,” in quotation marks when searching under “books,” then this book will appear. Even easier, Martin’s name also appears on the iuniverse.com website page here.

In a week or so, as articles have been going out publicizing Mr Small’s story, google.com will have picked up his name in connection with the book, which will also add to the ease of locating it on amazon.com and through other sellers.

In the meantime, Remember Us is now available for ordering online or from your bookseller.

This book is widely heralded and is selling out at every book signing. Amazon.com cannot keep up with the demand, so it is easiest right now to order directly from iuniverse.com

First Book Signing is Sold-Out Event

Martin Small, the subject of the new book, Remember Us: From my shtetl through the Holocaust, appeared at his synagogue in Boulder Thursday night, June 19, 2008 for a book signing along with writer Vic Shayne. This event was scheduled to be a little gathering for a book signing, but with the great organization of Rabbi Marc Soloway and his staff at synagogue Bonai Shalom, there was not one book left unsold within a couple of hours.

Vic Shayne spoke about the process of writing this book as it was told to him by Holocaust survivor, 91-year-old Martin Small, resident of Broomfield, CO. Shayne said that although Martin Small’s life is filled with painful memories, it would be even more painful not to remember, and he referred to Mr. Small as a hero whose book is no less than the story of a hero’s journey.

Shayne also elaborated on Mr. Small’s unusual ability to remember details, names, places and events that live in his memory from more than seven decades in the past. Some of these memories, said the writer, came to Mr. Small in the middle of the night, embedded in dreams and nightmares, adding to the pain and tears that went into this book.

Speaking from the audience, Shael Siegel, who, with his wife Myrna, traveled twice to Mr. Small’s hometown of Maitchet, Poland, agreed with Vic Shayne’s assessment of Mr. Small’s uncanny memory. Mr. Siegel relayed how Mr. Small remembered every street and landmark in his hometown of Maitchet well enough to draw a detailed map for the Siegels that turned out to be not only accurate and useful, but also more detailed than the city officials were able to provide.

Myrna and Shael Siegel’s trip to Maitchet was a bittersweet journey. Mrs. Siegel was able to visit the site of her (Boretsky) family’s flour mills and neighborhood as well as the burial site of more than 3,600 Jews (including members of her and Martin Small’s family) who were murdered by their Polish neighbors in July 1942 when the Nazis invaded the Belarus shtetl. Pictured (right) is a photograph of a monument transcribed in Russian and Hebrew mourning the massacre. It remains at the edge of the forest in Maitchet, the site of the mass murder. This photograph, provided by Myrna Siegel, appears in Martin Small’s memoirs along with other depictions of Maitchet.

Martin Small has a remarkable story

Martin Small, almost 92 years old, is a survivor. He has survived the massacre of his hometown in Poland, a labor camp in Koldichevo, being shot by Ukranian guards in an epic escape into the forests, run-ins with opposing partisan units, the death camp of Mauthausen and the war for independence in Palestine in 1948.

In the photo depicted to the right, which accompanied an article from the Denver Post, Martin shows where he was shot in his right arm while fleeing into the woods after crawling through an escape tunnel away from Koldichevo forced labor camp in 1942.

The details of Martin Small’s life, in his words, “Unbelievable. They are real and they happened, but they remain unbelievable. Why? Because you just cannot imagine the things that I have seen and experienced. They are outside the realm of normal life or expectation. Who, for example, could expect that one’s entire family would be murdered by our neighbors? Or that there could be concentration camps that were set up to put to death little children, mothers, fathers and grandparents? This is beyond mere evil. It is unthinkable. And yet it happened. The human mind cannot grasp all of this.”

Martin’s life story is now available in the book Remember Us: from my shtetl through the Holocaust. CLICK HERE.

Reality of the Holocaust on Film & in Personal Collections

Not enough can be said in protest of those few who deny the reality of the Holocaust. Some of this denial is a thinly veiled means to deny the right of the state of Israel to exist. If the Holocaust can be minimalized then the state of Israel would have no reason to have been formed. But, worse, Holocaust denial is a refutation of the evil that took the lives of more than 50 million people during WWII. It is an invalidation of unspeakable loss, suffering, tragedy, murder and inhumanity. To refuse admission to the evils of the Holocaust is to be counted among the kinds of minds that enabled such events to take place.

Yet, the fact remains that the Holocaust is the single most well-documented event in human history. Moreover, the records of the Holocaust are not the records of the Jews, but rather of the Germans, Nazis, Soviets, French, resistance fighters, U.S. Military, doctors, Poles, prisoners, aid workers, Italians, Dutch, British and others.

Tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers brought home with them memorabilia in the form of personally taken photographs and documents to remind them of what they had witnessed first hand upon liberating Nazi concentration camps.

When Martin Small was rescued from Mauthausen concentration camp in Linz, Austria, he was, like thousands of others, a mere skeleton, weighing no more than 75 pounds. He was unconscious and left among the dead in his barracks. The photograph above was taken by U.S. Captain Fabrick who was among the liberating forces first reaching the camp. Capt Fabrick’s photos and evidence appears in the newly released Remember Us, a book detailing the heroic adventures of Holocaust survivor Martin Small.

Although long and gruesome, here is archival footage offering a small sample of what the Allied forces encountered upon reaching the camps:

Liberating Forces Encounter Horrors of Nazi Camps

Holocaust Survivor Realizes his Dying Wish to See His Life Story in Print

martinsmall-vic-shayne-remember-us-book.jpgIMMEDIATE RELEASE — BROOMFIELD, CO, JUNE 10, 2008
CREATIVE BUREAU INC: 303-449-7589

Photo to the left: Writer Vic Shayne with Holocaust Survivor Martin Small (right)

Holocaust survivor realizes dying wish to see his life story in print

Martin Small, a 91-year-old resident of Broomfield, CO, is a man who has lost everything in the most literal sense, yet now, the one thing he has looked forward to the most was to see his life story in print before passing away.

Born Mordechai Schmulevicz in 1916, Small’s family, numbering eighty-four people, were murdered in his home town of in Molchad, Poland, in 1942. Only he and two cousins escaped the mass murder of more than three thousand five hundred Jewish residents by their Polish neighbors within a month of when the Nazis took over Belarus.

“My mother, father, two little sisters and all my aunts and uncles were buried alive in a grave that is now marked with a memorial plaque at the edge of the forest. Unless you know where to look,” Small says, “you wouldn’t find it. Yet, this is the only reminder that there was a thriving Jewish population in Molchad since the Middle Ages.”

Small, who speaks ten languages, escaped the massacre when he was taken away on a forced-labor caravan that tore him from his hometown forever. A year later he ended up in one of the worst of the Nazi concentration camps, a place called Mauthausen, in Austria.

“I survived the pogrom that took the lives of everyone I knew, and I survived the death camps where I saw American military officers tortured to death in the cruelest ways, and I witnessed the gassing, torture, slavery and destruction of my fellow human beings. When I was rescued by the American Army in 1944, I weighed no more than 75 pounds and was left for dead. Yet my book, written with the help of Vic Shayne, does not dwell on the horrors, but rather the memories. I want people to understand that I come from a loving family and a rich culture. My book is not about the gruesome details of the Holocaust, but about who I am and who I come from. It is a lasting tribute to my family and friends.”

Martin Small’s book is called Remember Us: From my shtetl through the Holocaust, and has been lauded by Nobel Peace Prize recipient and best selling author of Night, Elie Wiesel.

“I think Elie Wiesel said it brilliantly when he wrote that the purpose of telling you my experience is not so that you will understand, but so that you know you can never understand,” Small said. “What happened was unbelievable even to me, and I survived to bear witness. My book is for the millions whose voices were silenced as the result of a mad hatred. The world should know how much they are all missed.”

In the past three months, Martin Small was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “At that point,” says writer Vic Shayne, “we were racing against the clock in the hopes of delivering a finished book for Martin to hold in his hands. Somehow we managed to do this. For all that Martin has gone through, this achievement is priceless.”

Remember Us, Martin Small’s story as told to writer Vic Shayne, is available through bookstores and amazon.com.

Elie Wiesel Reviews ‘Remember Us’

eliewiesel.gifNobel Peace Prize recipient (1986), author of Night, Elie Wiesel recently gave his review for Remember Us, the true story of Holocaust Survivor Martin Small.

He wrote:

“Like all Holocaust survivors’ memoirs, Martin Small’s poignant recollections of his experiences in German concentration camps, as told to Vic Shayne, constitute an important contribution to the literature of the most tragic chapter of contemporary history.”

Elie Wiesel’s comments reflect his ongoing commitment to validate the experiences of fellow Holocaust survivors and his work to educate people on the realities of violence and oppression borne of racism and intolerance.

A couple of notes about Elie Wiesel:

For his literary and human rights activities, he has received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Medal of Liberty Award, and the rank of Grand-Croix in the French Legion of Honor. In 1986, Elie Wiesel won the Nobel Prize for Peace, and soon after, Marion and Elie Wiesel established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Teaching has always been central to Elie Wiesel’s work. Since 1976, he has been the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, where he also holds the title of University Professor. He is a member of the Faculty in the Department of Religion as well as the Department of Philosophy. Previously, he served as Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York (1972-76) and the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University (1982-83).

For more information on Elie Wiesel and his work, visit his website by clicking here.

Remember Us – Martin Small

Martin-Book CoverLatest Work: The story of Martin Small – Holocaust survivor.

From the back cover:

Throughout the 1920s and 30s, Motek Shmulevicz lives an idyllic life among family and friends in the close-knit Polish shtetl of Maitchet. As the dark shadow of the Holocaust stretches across eastern Europe, the most unspeakable events occur, igniting a struggle for survival against all odds. It is a crucible fraught with twists and turns so unpredictable and surprising that they defy any attempt to find reason and understanding for them.

Remember Us is a look back at the lost world of the shtetl — a wise Zayde offering prophetic and profound words to his grandson, the rich experience of Shabbos and the treasure of a loving family. Through the eyes of 91-year-old Holocaust survivor Martin Small, we learn that these priceless memories too painful to remember are also too painful to forget.