Cover Image: The Stable Boy of Auschwitz

The Stable Boy of Auschwitz

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for the advanced reader copy of this book. This book is a heartbreaking real life account of of Heinz Oster, a German Jewish boy and his horrific story of how he was betrayed by his own country. It is a true story of resilience and survival as Henry endures various concentration camps in the hands of the SS. I did enjoy this book, however, the title was very deceiving, as Henry as a stable boy, was only a few chapters of the book.

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This story is the first-person account of a courageous boy. German-born Henry Adolf Oster was forced into a ghetto and then to Auschwitz with his mother. His father had already died. Against all odds, Henry was one of two boys from Cologne who survived the war.
The book summary incorrectly states that Henry volunteered to be a stable boy. In fact, he had no choice.
This story is heart-wrenching but also inspirational. Henry possessed inner resilience and had several encounters with people who encouraged him to continue on.
I wanted to hear more about his life after the war. Fortunately, he touches on how he chose a career in optometry and the travels he and his wife Susan enjoyed. He also includes information about his trip back to Germany in honor of his parents Hans Isidor Oster and Elisabeth Haas Oster.
A meaningful quote:
"Dictators and other leaders often inflate their own status and power by convincing their people that they are under attack by some 'other'— any group that looks, or acts, or believes, differently. 'Everything would be great,' they always seem to say, 'if it wasn’t for them.' Them can be anyone. Blacks. Jews. Latinos. The Irish. The Italians. Muslims . Immigrants. People who go to college. People who don’t go to college. Elitists. Welfare recipients. Gays. Union workers. Even women. Anybody who is not 'us.'"

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My favorite genre of books is historical fiction. And I specifically enjoy those based in WWII. Henry’s story of surviving the horrors of prison camps during Hitler’s reign of terror is heartbreaking. Henry’s story is unique in that he was a German Jew. So not only was he judged unworthy by the Nazis, he was ostracized by those with whom he lived in the concentration camps. An emotionally moving story of not only Henry’s time in the camps but also his adjustment to life once he was freed. One comment is that it took a while to get into the meaty and heartwrenching part of the story. But it was worth it to learn of Henry’s life.

Thank you to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

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Such a good book. I felt so many emotions. I cried so many times. I learned more things about the Holocaust I didn't know.

Henry Oster was born Henik Aldoph Oster in Cologne, Germany in 1925. When he was just a child, his parents lost their home and had to live with a group of other Germans. This began is journey through first and apartment, then to 4 different concentration camps. He survived it all. At age 16, he was in Buchenwald when the Americans liberated it.

I think reading about history is very important for our world. It lets us remember what has happened and may happen again, if we aren't careful.

This Published April 4, 2023. I highly recommend it, if you like reading about WWII, the Holocaust or History.

Thanks to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for the e-book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

😊 Happy Reading 😊


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What a sad and devastating story. Knowing it was a memoir made it even harder to read. I enjoy learning more about these times in history. While I tend to lean towards reading about WWII, I always seem to learn more about it. This was different in the fact that Henry was only 5 years old when Hitler took control. Seeing everything through a young child’s eyes, with losing his mother and father, is so chilling. If you enjoy reading about WWII, this one is for you!

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My Thoughts:
I finished this book a few days ago but it took me awhile to digest what I just read.
This story was heart wrenching to read but so important to be told about how and what all the Jewish men,women and children endured when Hitler took power.
We start with Henry’s family being forced to hand over all their valuables and their belonging. Henry tells us about when Hitler took power and his time working so hard in the stables to bred and take care of the horses and how starving and forgotten he survived Auschwitz.
Thank You Mr. Henry Oster for sharing your story.

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Around 1935, Henry’s family were forced to hand in all their valubles, which included jewelry, even their radio, into the hands of the ‘Sturmabteilung’or ‘Btownshirts’. The Nazi’s caused his father to lose his business, and since Jews are not permitted to own a business. Henry's father had know way to earn a living. Henry’s father was forced into slave labor. He traveled to the labor camps,where he received a small salary. The hours were long for the small aumount of money that he earned.
Henry’s father worked maintaining the ghetto fence, which was a difficult and dangerous job. There was a possiblity that the soldiers would become trigger happy. Sadly, the father passed away and his body was thrown into the gutter like trash.
Henry worked in the ghetto farm, and his job was to pick cherries, and if he appeared to have even eaten one cherry, he could be shot. I cannot imagine harvesting the fruit, when you were starving. The same rules were enforced in the stables. The horses were fed grain, hay, and carrots, which could have fed many hungry people. Hunger was a constant and Henry scranged for any crumb to feed himself. He found a lost loaf of bread and a tin of horse meat.
Henry’s weight after the GI’s began feeding the prisoner was 78lb, the size of a German Sheperd Dog. He described himself as having the body of a very thin thirteen year old, he was sixteen. The boys needed to be refed slowly, so they received an egg, slice of bread, and a cup of milk. The boys were very hungry and were unhappy with the refeeding plan.
Thank you Henry Oster and Dexter Ford Grand Central Publisher, and NetGalley for the privilege of reading the novel.

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The ability to tell an inspiring story of one’s experiences during such a horrific period of time is something I admire above much else. This gut-wrenching piece is not only moving, but allowed one to see through the eyes of a young boy forced to grow up in circumstances far worse than words and become an inspiration. It is a powerful story that I believe many should read as it documents Henry's life before, during, and after the war. I most enjoyed that Henry did not stop with his story once he was liberated, but continued to explain his life after the war was completed. There was still trouble and hardships following the war that he describes, exposing the truth and reality for as horrible as it was. He depicts in excruciating detail the conditions he dealt with during his time in Łódź as well as his time in Birkenau, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. I enjoy that while a memoir, the writing flows beautifully, feeling immersed in Henry’s words. My only critique for the entire book was in the beginning, before Henry’s life begins, where he focuses on politics. I came close to putting down the book, but very grateful that I decided to stick it out. I would hate for people not to be able to experience this stunning memoir if they put it down based on the first few chapters.

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Thank you, Netgalley, and Grand Central Pub for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Memoirs and true stories are often hard to rate and review, because, as a reader, I never want to take away from or discount an author’s lived experiences. I am not out to investigate the truth or validity of someone’s story, and certainly would never want to pass judgement on it; I simply want to read it and gain perspective.

The Stableboy of Auschwitz was a raw, riveting tale of Henry Oster’s experience as a German Jew in the Holocaust, first in Germany, then in the Łódź ghetto in Poland, and finally at Auschwitz. It is hard to imagine the absolutely atrocities, violence, and torture that Jews, alongside gypsies, POWs, homosexuals, and other “lesser” peoples, were forced to endure. It is truly unfathomable.

That being said, Henry’s story is an eye-opening look into the German persecution of Jews and how his ability to speak German, his youth and intelligence, and his circumstances allowed him to not just survive the unsurvivable, but to be able to go on and share his story with the world. It is a hard story to read, which pales in comparison to how hard the story must have been to LIVE.

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Such a gripping, well written, gut wrenching, powerful and moving memoir.

The Stable Boy of Auschwitz is the true story of Henry Oster's young life. He was five years old in 1933 when Adolf Hitler took power. In Auschwitz he worked in the horse breeding stables. He believed if he worked hard and made himself hard to replace, he may stay alive. Stay alive he did, in 1945 while imprisoned at Buchenwald camp he was liberated.

This book begins by telling the history of events leading up to the Holocaust. Readers may learn more about Hitler's rise to power and why some chose to stay.

So much hate, so much brutality, so much heartache, so much killing, but there was also hope, courage, and strength beyond comprehension.

One can't help but feel many emotions while reading this book. I am in complete awe of those who survived and have been able to tell their stories. They are important and should never be forgotten. There are not many survivors left in the world. I went with Ma (grandmother) to the German Consulate in Los Angeles once a year and then every few months at the end of her life, so she could continue receiving her reparations checks. The last time we went, we were the only ones there.

Remembering is what we must do. Henry Oster was young when he and his family were transported to the Łódź Ghetto in Poland. Imagine having a happy life and having someone take it from you. Take your belongings, take the lives of your loved ones, and take away your freedom. Henry's story is both a heart wrenching story of loss and devastation and a story of courage and hope.

I appreciated how the book showed his life before the Holocaust, during, and after. So many people have heard stories about happened during the Holocaust, but not about what happened to survivors after they were liberated. How they were helped and eventually made their ways into the world. I am so happy that this part of the book was also detailed.

While reading books such as this and thinking about my own family member who was in Auschwitz, I can't help but wonder if I would have had the strength. How do those who have lost all that there is to lose, have everything taken from them that can ever be taken, keep moving forward. Hope, will, strength and courage.

Again, this was a well written, gripping, educational, moving memoir that is a testament to the inner strength and resiliency that we as humans possess.

This is not a BIG book in terms of length, but it is big on feeling and history.

#TheStableBoyofAuschwitz #NetGalley #Memoir

Thank you to Thread Books, Grand Central Publishing, and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Thank you Henry Oster, Dexter Ford, Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC e-book. What an incredibly heartbreaking story Henry tells. I felt like I knew what had happened but the story I told brought it’s horrors to life and were so painfully sad. The life of the children who were rescued from the concentration camps was something I never had heard and sadly I never had thought about until this story. Most coming out survivors but what were they coming home to and what was home? Just an amazing heartbreaking true story

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This was a heartbreaking story. I can’t begin to imagine what Henry went through and still survived. It’s appalling to think that this was allowed to happen. In today’s world I can almost see parts of it happening again.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy

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I read this memoir and it took almost 3 weeks to process it before I could find the words to articulate Henry’s experiences.

Originally published as The Kindness of Hangman, the memoir begins with Henry Oster recalling his early years growing up as a German Jew who witnesses the rise of Hitler. His memoir offers his readers a unique perspective of a young child coming-of-age and surviving the unspeakable horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. As the Third Reich rises to power, his family is deported to Łódź Ghetto, where he loses his father. For days, his mom and Henry find ways to extend their stay at the ghetto and avoid the East. Unfortunately, they are tricked into meeting the Nazis on the pretense of extending their work visas and deported to Auschwitz. Immediately upon their arrival, Henry is separated from him mother and forced to find ways to survive on his own.

During his time in Auschwitz, he navigates difficult situations until he is assigned to work on a stable - a job that becomes a means of survival for him. His memoir, unlike others that I have read, gives us an insight into not only the complex nature of Nazi soldiers stating that he met at least one or two who showed compassion or did not agree with the mass murder but were forced to serve in the Reich. While one of them gave him bread, the other helped him walk to safety. But, perhaps, what stood out to me was when when Henry observed that despite being rescued by the Allies in Buchenwald, it took him a long time to accept a world which was not controlled by the Nazis. For him, these were the horrific spaces in which he came of age and learned to survive. He couldn’t imagine a world outside of the horrors of the concentration camps.

The other moment that stood out to me was when the Allies made a call to see the surrounding Germans witness the impact that Holocaust had on Jews and others who were targeted by the Nazi bigotry. Henry shares the images of well-dressed Germans dressed for Sunday and standing around the camps horrified by the decay and death surrounding them. Henry’s story then continues after he leaves for France and ultimately the United States, but his story is one that needs to be shared widely, and is a must read. It is a poignant, powerful, and heart wrenching story of a young boy’s journey as he finds ways to survive in a dystopic world.

#HenryOster #TheStableBoyOfAuschwitz #GrandCentralPub #Memoir #Holocaust

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I always enjoy reading about books set inside Auschwitz because even though it was such a dark, heartbreaking piece of our story, it showcases the resilience and kindness of the human spirit. It always blows me away how evil and so much good coexisted in the same place for so many years.

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The Stable Boy of Auschwitz, by Henry Oster; Dexter Ford, is a beautifully written book that will haunt me for a long time. Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for providing me with an ARC ebook in exchange for my honest review.

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I've ready many books about the holocaust, most tell the story of a person who survived one or more concentration camps. Henri Oster did the same and tells this tory in this book. but unlike so many other books, Henry lets us see his life before he is sent to the camps. We get to know his mother and his father, and what life was like in Cologne, Germany.

Henry loses his father when the family is sent to the Lodz Ghetto and how he help his mother survive the first roundups of Jews sent to Auschwitz. We hear the story of daily survival and how thoughts had to center on family, then self. Common courtesies and decency are ignore when a slice of bread is all the food you have for the day or longer

When he and his mother were sent to Auschwitz, Henry and his mother were forever separated. She was sent to Birkenau and he was sent to Auschwitz. Where friendship was near impossible, Henry found it in another young man who also spoke Germany. The Stable Boy of Auschwitz tells Henry's story of everyday survival in one the display of what can happen when a mad man rules his world. But Henry takes the reader deeper, showing kindnesses from some of the SS Officers, how speaking German allowed him o care for the horses, how dumb luck and the willingness to take a chance almost took his life, but instead spared him to suffer even worse treatment.

Written in a way that showed the many sides of humanity, l0ve, betrayal, bravery, brutality, pain, and help. This was a different book about the horrors of the holocaust and how one man found a way to survive.

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What a powerful book! I couldn’t believe all he went through and to still be a positive person. A lesson to be learned, for sure. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to enrich my soul with this story.

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This is the story of Henry Oster, and the horrors he survived being Jewish living in Nazi Germany. The book details what he experienced being deported from Cologne to Łódź as well as his time in Birkenau, Auschwitz and Buchenwald. It also details his life after being liberated at Buchenwald to living in France as well as his life after coming to America.

This is a heartbreaking must read depicting real life horrors and the strength and cunning it took to survive an unimaginable hell. It’s important to remember the very real events that occurred during Nazi Germany and having first hand recollections adds another layer to depicting just what Jewish people experienced. The fact that Henry survived one let alone four different encampments is astounding. There are a few elements that I felt made Henry’s story unique - the first being that he was German as well as Jewish. Most of the Jewish men he was encamped with were Polish, and he faced additional scrutiny from them for being Jewish. The other element was that the story included what it was like to assimilate post liberation. Despite being free, he still faced injustices and prejudice both during his time in France as well as his time in the US.

My one criticism for this book would be the very beginning. The chapters prior to delving into Henry’s story were hard to get invested into. While they’re useful for providing information and setting the stage, it would be an injustice to have people give up on the story before actually getting into Henry’s experiences due to the nature of the first few chapters.

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