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Two Loaves of Bread: Surviving Hunger and the Holocaust, by Anne Farrer Scott

When David Fishel talked about freedom, he talked about bread. He described leaning against the wall of a German bakery on a sunny April day in 1945 and eating two large loaves of bread. He had just been liberated from the Langenstein-Zwieberge concentration camp, where he had slaved and starved. He felt weary, worn, and very, very old. He was eighteen years old, and he weighed seventy-two pounds.

In the summer of 1939, David was looking forward to turning thirteen, starting seventh grade, and celebrating his bar mitzvah. After Germany invaded Poland on September 1, the life David had lived in Bedzin became verboten (forbidden). He was taken at gunpoint from his home to labor and hunger in German camps. “You didn’t know nothing,” he said. “But to stay alive, you had to learn everything.” Tattooed with the number 184570, he was a boy without a name and without a home.

Two Loaves of Bread: Surviving Hunger and the Holocaust by Anne Farrer Scott is the story of David’s journey through the nightmare of Nazi camps. After the war, he came to the United States, where he made his work feeding people at Fishel’s Deli in Des Moines, Iowa. He sought justice and payment for his crushing labor for German companies. He was one of the first slave laborers to sue German companies in a United States court. His story asks us: Can the suffering and destruction of the Holocaust ever be set right? Could anything ever compensate or make good again a survivor of the Holocaust?

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