Cover image for A match made in Hell : the Jewish boy and the Polish outlaw who defied the Nazis
Title:
A match made in Hell : the Jewish boy and the Polish outlaw who defied the Nazis
Author:
Goldner, Morris, 1925 or 1926-
Publication Information:
Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
xv, 242 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780299193904
Format :
Book

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DS135.P63 G665 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

    When Moniek (Morris) Goldner and his family were uprooted from their Polish farming village during a German action, the child-sized sixteen-year-old fled into the forests. He eventually met up with his father, who had also escaped, and together they managed to survive until a former friend betrayed the pair. Wounded and left for dead beneath his father's murdered body, Goldner was rescued by the enigmatic outlaw Jan Kopec, who was also in hiding, looking for ways to profit from his criminal expertise.
    For eighteen months Kopec hid the boy with him, moving from one area to another, often staying in hideouts he had fashioned years earlier. At first Kopec trained Goldner simply to serve as his accomplice in robberies and black market activities. But before long he pushed the training to a whole new level, making it possible for him to sell Goldner's services to a shadowy resistance group which was becoming interested in the daring young saboteur.
    And through it all, these two disparate personalities--the quiet, small-framed boy and the stocky, callous mercenary--forged an remarkable friendship and co-dependency born of need and desperation in a hellish time and place.


Summary

    When Moniek (Morris) Goldner and his family were uprooted from their Polish farming village during a German action, the child-sized sixteen-year-old fled into the forests. He eventually met up with his father, who had also escaped, and together they managed to survive until a former friend betrayed the pair. Wounded and left for dead beneath his father's murdered body, Goldner was rescued by the enigmatic outlaw Jan Kopec, who was also in hiding, looking for ways to profit from his criminal expertise.
    For eighteen months Kopec hid the boy with him, moving from one area to another, often staying in hideouts he had fashioned years earlier. At first Kopec trained Goldner simply to serve as his accomplice in robberies and black market activities. But before long he pushed the training to a whole new level, making it possible for him to sell Goldner's services to a shadowy resistance group which was becoming interested in the daring young saboteur.
    And through it all, these two disparate personalities--the quiet, small-framed boy and the stocky, callous mercenary--forged an remarkable friendship and co-dependency born of need and desperation in a hellish time and place.


Author Notes

Larry Stillman is a writer living in Lake Forest, Illinois


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

I can remember crawling out from beneath my father's lifeless body. From the first line, this Holocaust memoir grips you with its searing action. At the same time, it raises crucial moral issues. In 1943, in southern Poland, Morris Goldner, 16, was rescued by Jan Kopec, a notorious criminal who trained the small, quiet Jewish kid as a ruthless accomplice in armed robberies and sold the boy's services to the partisans. Now Goldner lives in Chicago, haunted forever by what he saw and what he did. Stillman allows the survivor to tell his story in a riveting first-person narrative. On the one hand, it reads like a fast-paced Bonnie-and-Clyde outlaw adventure. But there's absolutely no romanticism either about the Holocaust horror the boy witnesses (including the roundup and massacre of his own family) or about his own role as robber, saboteur, and killer. The outlaw brutalizes the boy; did the boy humanize Kopec? When is killing justified? Discussion groups will want this one. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Rarely has the old saw about war making strange bedfellows been more appropriate than in this story of a small 16-year-old Jewish boy and one of rural Poland's most notorious criminals, Jan Kopec. Stillman has found a very different kind of Holocaust story, full of drama and adventure. When Hitler's army invaded Poland in 1939, Goldner and his rural Jewish family were spared from immediate roundup. But by 1943, he had witnessed his mother and sister being herded onto a train and been left for dead beneath his father's body, both of them shot and bayoneted by a collaborator who had been one of his father's childhood friends. After Kopec, Goldner's unlikely rescuer, nursed him back to health, the pair began an 18-month partnership in which Kopec received money from partisans for having Goldner carry out acts of sabotage against the Nazis. His small size, courage and ability to learn-Kopec trained his young charge in marksmanship, a renegade German soldier taught him fluent German and a Gypsy trained him in hand-to-hand combat-resulted in impressive victories for area partisans. Goldner blew up trains and bridges used by the Nazi army and photographed Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Stillman has done a remarkable job tracking down what little documentation exists in order to corroborate Goldner's unique story, making a trip to the region, meeting with former neighbors and with the children and grandchildren of Jan Kopec. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
1 Rescuep. 3
2 Into the Forestp. 13
3 Kopecp. 28
4 Sedziszowp. 41
5 Saboteurp. 55
6 After Sedziszowp. 67
7 Close Callsp. 89
8 Podkarpaciep. 98
9 Grabinyp. 108
10 The Trainp. 122
11 Let My People Gop. 139
12 Shoeshine Boyp. 146
13 Two Bridgesp. 156
14 Out of the Firep. 165
15 Liberationp. 174
16 Revengep. 189
17 Flight to Berlinp. 200
18 Displacedp. 211
19 Americap. 223
Author's Postscript: Straszecin, Present Dayp. 231
Acknowledgmentsp. 239