Gatehouse to Hell
Gatehouse to Hell
By Felix Opatowski
“I was stubborn. I didn't want to stay in Auschwitz. I didn't want to go to the gas chambers. I didn't want to be cremated. I didn't want to die there, and I kept pushing back.”
Felix Opatowski is only fifteen years old when he takes on the perilous job of smuggling goods out of the Lodz ghetto in exchange for food for his starving family. It is a skill that will serve him well as he tries to stay alive in Nazi-occupied Poland. With dogged determination, Felix endures months of harrowing conditions in the ghetto and slave labour camps until he is deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in the spring of 1943. Recognized for his nerve and daring spirit, he is soon recruited as a runner for the Polish Underground inside the camp and is implicated in the infamous plot to blow up the camp crematoriasomething for which he pays dearly. Gatehouse to Hell is a candid and heart-rending account of a teenage boy who comes of age in desperate conditions, putting himself at risk to help others, forming bonds of friendship and holding onto hope for the future.
About the Author
Felix Opatowski was born in Lodz, Poland on June 15, 1924. He was liberated in Austria by the US army on May 9, 1945 and worked at a US army base where he married his wife, Regina, in 1947. Felix and Regina arrived in Toronto in 1949; they were married for 69 years. Regina passed away in 2016. Felix Opatowski lives in Toronto.
- Release: November 30, 2011
- $14.95 Paperback
- 240 Pages
- 6 x 9
- ISBN: 9781897470268
The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs
Since the end of World War II, over 30,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors have immigrated to Canada. Who they are, where they came from, what they experienced and how they built new lives for themselves and their families is an important part of our Canadian heritage. The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs is guided by the conviction that each survivor of the Holocaust has a remarkable story to tell, and that such stories play an important role in education about tolerance and diversity. Millions of individual stories are lost to us forever. By preserving the stories written by survivors and making them widely available to a broad audience, the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs series seeks to sustain the memory of all those who perished at the hands of hatred, abetted by indifference and apathy. The personal accounts of those who survived against all odds are as different as the people who wrote them, but all demonstrate the courage, strength, wit and luck that it took to prevail and survive in such terrible adversity. The memoirs are also moving tributes to people – strangers and friends – who risked their lives to help others, and who, through acts of kindness and decency in the darkest of moments, frequently helped the persecuted maintain faith in humanity and courage to endure. These accounts offer inspiration to all, as does the survivors’ desire to share their experiences so that new generations can learn from them. Recognizing that most survivor memoirs never find a publisher, the Azrieli Foundation established the Holocaust Survivor Memoirs Program to collect, archive and publish these distinctive records.