Beyond the Gates of Hell

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In 1940, twelve-year-old Mayer Herszkowicz began a marathon of miseries that would stretch for more than 1,500 miles. During his five years and two months under Nazi rule, he was transported from his home in Sieradz, Poland, by way of cattle truck, to nine labor camps all over Europe. He survived forty-two Dr. Mengele health inspections and eighteen months in Auschwitz among countless other atrocities. After decades of silence, Hersh, as he was known after immigrating to England, told his story to author Colin Rushton in the hopes that the younger generation would take heart in his tale of survival against unforgiving odds. Once a member of a close-knit, loving family including parents, a sister, and four brothers, Hersh was severed from his loved ones, emerging from the aftermath with only his older brother Yakov. The two had survived what more than one hundred of their extended family members had not. And even then, at the moment of his liberation, Hersh was close to death, suffering from typhus, with twenty-four hours to live. His heart-wrenching story is one of hope. He believes that his humanity has triumphed over all the evil he has suffered so that he can teach future generations the truth about concentration camps in WWII.