Cover image for Promises to keep
Promises to keep
Michel, Ernest W., 1923-2016.
Publication Information:
New York : Barricade Books ; Emeryville, CA : Distributed by Publishers Group West, [1993]

Physical Description:
xvii, 298 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E184.J5 M535 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Michel's memoir begins with "Kristallnacht," November 9-10, 1938, when the author was 15 and living in Mannheim, Germany, with his parents and 10-year-old sister. While a French Jewish relief organization sheltered his sister, Michel's attempt to flee Germany to the U.S. failed because of a three-year wait for a visa. (His parents were killed in Auschwitz in 1942.) Michel was deported from Mannheim in September 1939 and sent to a number of labor camps and finally to Auschwitz. What saved him there was the fact he had learned calligraphy and was assigned to a less arduous job as assistant registrar and then to a permanent position as an orderly at the camp hospital. As the Soviet army neared Auschwitz, Michel and other inmates were taken to Buchenwald, from which he escaped a few days before Germany surrendered. Michel's story of the Holocaust, like so many others, describes the thirst, hunger (he once witnessed an act of cannibalism), humiliation, torture, and beatings of prisoners. Michel also witnessed medical experiments performed by Joseph Mengele. In the second half of Michel's book, he recounts his life after the Holocaust: working as a reporter at the Nuremberg war crime trials, coming to the U.S., and living in America (where he eventually became an executive with the United Jewish Appeal/Federation).~ --George Cohen

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this dramatic account, Holocaust survivor Michel recalls his two years in Auschwitz, where his skill at calligraphy led to his assignment as a hospital record keeper. Acting also as orderly, he dealt with victims of Dr. Josef Mengele's experiments. Escaping during evacuation in 1945, Michel was befriended by an American soldier, who later helped him get a start in the U.S. Michel, the only survivor-reporter of the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials, also describes his productive ``second life'' as a journalist and 42 years as a leader of the United Jewish Appeal Federation. The author headed the 1981 World Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved