If Home is Not Here

If Home is Not Here


By Max Bornstein

“I dove into the frigid river, the sudden shock leaving me gasping. By the time that I was two-thirds across the river, my strength was fading.... Somehow, I managed to reach the shore—the unoccupied zone of France and my entry into freedom.”

Max Bornstein’s epic account of surviving as a Polish child born into desperate poverty; a boy who lived in Canada for ten years but returned to Europe in 1933, the year that Adolf Hitler came to power; and a stateless refugee in 1930s Paris who managed to escape as France fell to the Nazis only to be interned in a Spanish camp, is breathtaking in scope. Released to a British envoy and relocated to war-time England, forbidden to join the British forces and alone in a strange country without family, the stress of his traumas lead to an emotional breakdown and admission to a psychiatric facility. Max Bornstein’s unusual candour in recounting his struggles with mental health add powerful dimension to his Holocaust memoir. Rich in details of pre-war life in Poland, France and Canada and life for Jewish refugees in war-time Britain, If Home Is Not Here gives rare insights into the experiences of an undocumented Jewish boy who is caught up in political forces beyond his control.

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About the Author

Max Bornstein was born on November 12, 1921, in Warsaw, Poland. After the war, he finally received a Canadian entry permit and arrived in Toronto on June 25, 1947. He and his wife, Min, were married in 1948; they have two children and two grandchildren. After more than 60 years of marriage, Min passed away in 2010. Max Bornstein lives in Toronto.

Product Information

  • Release: November 30, 2011
  • $14.95 Paperback
  • 240 Pages
  • 6 x 9
  • ISBN: 9781897470275

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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.