Archived messages to Sam. 

I am reading it. Everybody should read this book ! It left me with no words to describe the horror in these camps, and what men can do to other people.

Angela Boekel - Sam's facebook page - Jan 20 2013

Good evening Mr. Pivnik,

 

I add to the many who have written, I have read other books on this sad theme, but your story kept me literally glued to the pages, so much so that I finished reading at 3 am, I think words are not enough to contain the emotions that I went through whilst reading,

Simply, thank you very much

... for having given a page of truth.

Sergio Terenzi, Italy, Abruzzo - Jan 20 2013

Dear Sam,

 

the urge to contact you, after having read your book, has never left me. So, here I am!

 

I live in Italy now, and I read the Italian version of your book, which is not really an important detail, because your words hit right into anybodies heart - no matter which language is used. But, I grew up in Germany, where our history teachers, quite ashamed of their own history, heavily involved us little students with the holocaust. We where supposted to see films taken by the Americans right after the liberation... and, many of us weren't even strong enough to watch the Muselmaenner. We where supposed to read Anne Frank's diary and still, many of us children, had their problems also with that. We where taken to Dachau, not far away from where we lived and I saw so many of my classmates, deeply ashamed of their own nationality. In Dachau, our "guide" was a SURVIVOR. He showed us the number-tattoo on his arm, he showed us, where he slept, he showed us the gas-showers and the oven. He reminds me so much of you, but unfortunately, I cannot remember his name.

I know you receive many mails, messagges and letters and maybe, my words are just empty phrases to you, but please, feel my deap affection. I hope you are fine and aware of how many people are thinking of you and about the effect your book has on the readers.

I feel like huging you and I hope you don't mind.

Best wishes,

Roberta Gregorio

 

P.S. I try to speak with my sons about the holocaust, but often I don't even find the right words. I will keep your book safe, just like a treasure, and as soon as they will be old enough, they will certainly read it. This is my little present for you, because I cannot give you more.

 

Hi Sam,

 

Have just finished reading your book. I was captivated by your story and shocked by the inhumanity and senseless loss and of good people at such an incomprehensible scale. It was undoubtedly one of the darkest times of humanity and I am sorry that your family and people had to be a part of it.

I just want to thank you and wish you well.

Regards,

Dave Jordan - New Zealand

30th September 2012

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

Having just read your book, and several others on the terrible events that happened during WW2, I would like to say that it is one of the best books I have read.

 

I started to read on the subject as I was a teacher and felt my students (mostly Asian) needed to know what happened and also because I wanted to understand how such things could happen in a 'civilised' Europe and the indifference at the beginning to those who were survivors. I have not had any answers!

 

It is absolutely sad and disgusting that so many talented and creative people were murdered in such atrocious ways, especially the Jewish people whose culture has taught us so many things. I am not Jewish and cannot understand(again)the persecution, but thank you for writing your book.

I wish you peace and happiness and regardless of politics in our world, you and others will never be forgotten.

Good wishes.

Julie (Chandler) Sent Nov 12 2012

Greetings Mr Pivnik,

 

I am reading your book. Possibly not in the traditional way. Sometimes I read the same page over and over because I cannot comprehend the horror. It takes time to sink in. I congratulate you for getting this all on paper. I learned, to a small degree, at school about the Holocaust, but as a youngster, could not possibly grasp the enormity of this dreadful time in History. Even when I am not reading, I am thinking of your struggle to survive. I know little of the lives of my German ancestors, before they migrated to Australia in the late 1800's and was relieved not to read any relatives surnames in your book. As I near the end of your book (just read of your reunion with your brother), I can only hope that your life beyond the camps and marches has been much kinder to you. I will never forget your story and my adult daughter is keen to read it after me. I wish you well Sam and thankyou again for enlightening me in a way that I thought not possible.

 

Kerri Gumz (nee Schipplock) Gold Coast, Queensland. Australia Sent Nov 12 2012

Dear Sam,

 

I am reading your book and I am overwhelmed with admiration for the way in which you survived. Yours is a totally unbelievable story and I salute you for your bravery and courage. There are no words to describe the horror of that period in your life. Having read what you went through has changed my outlook on life, I will never be the same again, I can't stop thinking about what happened to you and millions of others. Until one reads a true real life account it is hard to understand how dreadful it was. Well done for telling us your story.

Your are an incredible example to all of us and I do hope you enjoy many more years of a happy life.

With best wishes

John and Paddy Barker - South Africa - Oct 30 2010

Hi Sam,

 

I have just read your book on holiday. It was meant to last me a week in Corfu, but I read it in three sittings. Not easy with two boys aged eight and six. Your's is an incredible story of human survival against all the odds. I found it fascinating. Educational and enthralling. It is also an insight into human nature. How different people react and behave in the most unimaginable circumstances.

My wife told me it was a strange choice of book to choose while on a family holiday. I couldn't disagree more. I found it shocking and of course it made me angry. But how lucky is my family to live as we do today. I am a sports journalist and write about people I respect and admire, but have just read a book about a real hero. You probably won't appreciate me saying this.

 

Anyway, your story moved me and I wanted to say hello. I'm grateful to have been able to do this and wish you all the very best.

Mark Walker - Sept 11th 2012

Just a congratulatory message to say how thought-provoking your life-story was & so well-written.The sense of evil building up & rolling over Poland inevitably leading to genocide was tangible & your experiences give everyone courage that you can get through anything if you put your mind to it, scars and all. One of my favorite books about both WW1 & WW2.

 

God bless you (if you can still feel their is a Supreme Being).

Chris Wood - Oct 27 2012

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

my name is Ludovica Di Veroli. I'm 30 years old. I write from Rome, Italy. I just would like to thank you for your book, I just would like to thank you for your testimony, and thank you because if my brother and my cousins today are living in Israele State, it's also because YOU have fought for the creation of the State. I read your book in 3 days. I am shocked. I didn't know anything about Cap Arcona. No one will ever deeply understand what you and people deported like you have spent. But I also hope that no one else ever try your experience. I know it must have been hard to tell the world about your experience, especially if any part of the world continues to deny the evidence. I hope that with time your ghosts have faded, although I know that will never disappear, and this thing I know because I heard the testimony of Settimia Spizzichino, the only woman from Rome who returned from a concentration camp. Two years ago i went at Yad Vashem, and i found the documents of deportation of my great granparents (i don't know why my father never searched). They were deported in Germany from Rome on Oct 16th 1943, at 5 o'clock of morning. They went to gas at the first selection out the train. I will talk about your book to all my friends, and let them read it. Everybody have to know.

A grateful and thankful shalom.

Ludovica Di Veroli - Italy. Nov 25 2012

Hello Mr. Pivnik,

 

my name is Francesca Romana, I was born in 1961 in Rome where I still live.

 

Your book was so good that it only took me two days to read. I am a supporter of the fight against anti-Semitism, first because I believe that the world should not tolerate fools who wake up every morning with a conviction that his people are the best! Secondly because I attended for three years, the beautiful school "Ugo Foscolo" located in Via del Portico d'Ottavia in the heart of the ghetto in Rome. Our school was attended by students of Jewish and Christian religion. My best friends were the girls of the Jewish religion. These were special people with a heart as big as the world. I am a practicing Christian, but I think the your religion and your people are stronger than any other people, otherwise you would not have endured all these atrocities. Finally, after a long time, Rome is now doing something to raise awareness to the new generation to know what was the Holocaust. This is a quick message because I need to go to work now. Thank you for writing this wonderful book. I'm sure that it must have cost you a great deal to put together all the memories just because they came from the suffering endured by you and other fellow citizens.

Thank you again.

Francesca Romana - Rome Italy Nov 29 2012

Hello Sam,

 

I saw your book on the shelf in the library here in Italy, and your photo on the back intrigued me so I thought I had to read your book. I have almost finished it and I am astonished by all the horror you have accounted, but I am also very inspired to know that you have built a good life for yourself as a free person, and I'm sure that having gone through what you have, you certainly know the price of freedom! No one can fully know or understand the fear your must have experienced from day to day with all that was going on in the camp, but one thing I must tell you, you have my great admiration, this is not commiseration...believe me. I live in Milan and I had an uncle who was a prisoner in that period in north Africa, but I remember he told me that it was not anything like the hardships people were suffering in Birkenau-Auscwitz.

My best and sincere regards.

Carlo Marzani - Milan, Italy Dec 2 2012

How can a man do this to another man? I'll never understand .... there's nothing to understand.

Ilaria Lorenzini - Italy Dec 4 2012

Hi Mr.Pivinik,

 

thank you for your testimony of this terrible story. I finished the book in three days, and now I'm forced to read it to my 15 year old daughter. I hope this is a warning to future generations and understand that they are lucky. Thank you again.

SALA DAVIDE SARONNO - Italy Oct 8 2012

wouldn't buy books anywhere else - always use Amazon. This was a gift and arrived quickly. Marvellous read. People complain about life today !!! - well, read this and stop moaning. The thought of suffering like this and surviving through it, inspiring.

Ted (via amazon) - Dec 9 2012

Dear Mr. Sam Pivnik,

 

I am writing from Rome. I just finished reading your book and even though I already had knowledge about the Holocaust, I was shocked by your testimony and all the terrible details recounted in your story.

 

I wish you all the best and thank you for this important testimony. I hope that it will help to prevent such a thing happening again.

thanks.

G.ferrazza. Rome Italy - Dec 14 2012

Good morning Sam,

 

My name is Augustine. I live in Italy in Turin. I read with great interest and pleasure your book: "The last survivor." I do not hide my commiserations and anger about what has happened and what you had to see and endure. I know time will not erase the horrors of the 'holocaust. Many of the terrible details in your book were similar to what my dear Grandfather went through, who survived the concentration camp at Mauthausen, his name is ItaloTibaldi. He is still alive and wanted to kindly ask, if you were also interned with the Jehovah's Witnesses (Bibelfoscher as they were called then). I belong to their religion, and I'm curious to know about any news or information you may be able to tell me about them. In addition, I want to ask you: What is your relationship with God today after all you have been through? Do you still believe? My Grandfather and I still have faith. I greet you very warmly. I state that I am 44 years old and that your story has deeply touched me. To have gone through all that, I guess that you must always have a positive attitude in life despite trials or problems, which are never to be compared to what you've been through. Like many other former internees, you left us with a great story of courage, dignity and love of life. I greet you and I would appreciate your response to this message, I apologize if I have not written in correct English.

Thank you for your attention and testimony.

Augustine Spaccarotella

What an honest and heartwarming recount Sam. Thank you for sharing it. I read it in just over one day, I was so intrigued by it.

Greg Codyre - Sam's Face book page - Dec 24th 2012

 

Thank you very much for what u have written in u book. I live in Italy and I am an Psychologist my city is Venice....good new year.

Andrea Rossi.

 

Dear Mr Pivnik:

 

I have just finished reading your memoir. The unbelievable inhumanity is overwhelming. Yet, it did happen, and never again can it be allowed to happen. It is sometimes said that those who survived are heroes. It can also be said that those who perished where heroes, too. May we never see the dawn of another holocaust. Thank you for your story - it needed to be told.

M Dayne , Edmonton, Canada - Dec 30 2012.

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

It was a privilege to read your book and my heart broke for your 13 year old self and everything you endured. Thankyou for sharing your experiences and for your for witness. It's inspiring that your humanity survived, and heartening to hear of the kindnesses that occurred in such an evil hell. I hope your record helps to educate us all, so the Holocaust can never happen again. Bravo for your survival and for telling your story!

Wishing you peace and all the best

Elizabeth Skret - Perth, Australia.

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

my name is Cinzia Andreottola and I live in Rome, Italy. I read your book in just three days: it was a very painful experience, that blew me away, but at the same time an opportunity to enrich my soul. I want to thank you very much for putting in writing your terrible experience as a deportee: I consider it a great gift not only for those who have read and who will read your book, but for all humanity. I would like to ask you a question, hoping that it wouldn't be inappropriate: After the experience of the Nazi concentration camp, what was your relationship with God, with faith, with religion?

I wish you all the best

I embrace you with great affection

PS: Sorry for my English!

Cinzia Andreottola - Rome, Italy, Jan 4 2013.

 

 

Hello Sam,

 

How are you? I hope you are well.

My name is Gaia, I am 26 years old and I live in Florence! Working in the library of my country .. I like this job. I have only read part of your book so far .. I am going to buy a copy for me and and another for the library where I work! This is the best holocaust book I've read, you have written an amazing true story. Every time I start to read a section my heart stops! To think that these things really happened .. ?

Thank you for writing this book and for letting us know about the experience ..

I hope to talk to you soon!

Gaia - Florence, Italy Jan 4 2013.

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

I read your book and wish to thank you for telling your terrible experiences. Unfortunately, many young people do not know the history of what was the holocaust and the greatest danger is that everything can happen again. Where there is no culture of memory and remembrance, history is bound to repeat itself. Unfortunately, when the last few survivors one day leave this life, no one will remember what they have experienced. To avoid that no human being should have to suffer this again, it is essential that the generations of the future should read testimonies like yours, and they must never be allowed to be forgotten. This is the great and precious gift that you have given us, a book that will forever remind us not to lower our guard against any discrimination.

I would like to inform of a great tragedy that was experienced by French Jews in Paris in July 1942. 8,000 people, mostly children (4,115) were rounded up and confined for a week in the winter velodrome (Velodrome d 'Hiver) before being sorted and deported to the east. Very few of them returned, only in 2002 the authorities recognized their great tragedy.

Sincerely

Maurizio - Rome - Italy - Jan 14 2013

 

 

Good evening Mr. Pivnik,

 

my name's Benedetta and I'm 18!

In this message I only want to thank you for having written such a wonderful book like yours. I can only image how difficult it is to rememberi every day the horrors of the Holocaust, but is with the stories of people like you, that it won't never be forgotten! I promise to do all I can to make the memories of the Holocaust's victims last forever! I apologize because of my bad English, I'm Italian! so.. thank you very much,

Benedetta Trevisan - Jan 4 2013

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

Thank you so much for sharing your story. As a mental health nurse I have cared for survivors of the holocaust and was always touched by their experiences and the horror that such acts of inhumanity could occur. I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau for the first time last year with my wife and youngest son and think about it many times every day. I will be returning in March with my eldest son. I hope that my boys (both are young adults) in time will do their bit to promote tolerance and understanding and to challenge hatred in all of its forms. Thank you again and I hope your days are now filled mainly with love and peace.

Kind regards

Simon Bell - Jan 5 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

my name is Cinzia Andreottola and I live in Rome, Italy. I read your book in just three days: it was a very painful experience, that blew me away, but at the same time an opportunity to enrich my soul. I want to thank you very much for putting in writing your terrible experience as a deportee: I consider it a great gift not only for those who have read and who will read your book, but for all humanity. I would like to ask you a question, hoping that it wouldn't be inappropriate: After the experience of the Nazi concentration camp, what was your relationship with God, with faith, with religion?

I wish you all the best

I embrace you with great affection

PS: Sorry for my English!

Cinzia Andreottola - Rome, Italy, Jan 4 2013.

Hello Sam,

 

I just wanted to make contact to thank you so much for your book. I just finished reading it and was touched immensely. I have always had a deep interest in the topic of the Holocaust and found your book thought-provoking and fascinating. An American by birth, I am now residing in Australia and visited Dachau whilst touring Europe back in 1996. It was a frightening, yet fascinating experience. One of the biggest frustrations I had when reading your book was the fact that Max Schmidt never made amends and that his letter of so-called 'apology' was nothing short of pathetic. Was SO glad you never returned his letter as he had to gaul to request.

Thank you, once again, Sam and God bless!

Warm regards,

Trent Thomason Jan 13 2013

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

This message is a small, but heartfelt thank you for 'Survivor'. The first time I learnt about the Holocaust was in "If this is a man" by Primo Levi. After many years and many books, my destiny (and this word is not used by chance, believe me.) gave me the occasion to read your book. The chain of reactions you are causing in my soul and in my life is incredible. I can only imagine how difficult it was for you to write your memories; maybe even more painful than living them newly day by day in yourself. I just wanted you to know that, as long as I breathe, I'll keep on diffusing the message that remembering and making people know what happened in those dark years is the only way to avoid it happening again. It will be one of my missions in life. Next May I'll be in Auschwitz: please let me take your words in my heart with me. They will accompany me, together with Shlomo Mintz's music: I will take beauty and poetry there to defeat death.

Yours,

Giorgia Rainoni - Italy, February 2, 2013.

 

 

Good alternoon, my name is Marina Bozzano from Italy, I read your book,I have been very interested in the Holocaust for a long time. I visited Mauthausen,Auschwitz, Dachau and I read many books about this subject. Every memoir is like a new esperience because every person is different and we live our lives in a different ways. What you went through was unbelievable. It is books like yours, written by people who were actually there that give us the reality of what it was like to live in hell. My personal philosophy is that one must forgive every bad person in order to live in peace with oneself.

Your book is a strong Message for the world.

You won Sam, you have survived! You have won a big interior war because you have been able to live and tell your memories.

You survived to tell these events to the world.

The words stay forever in our hearts,in our minds.

Thanks.

Marina Bozzano - March 3 2013.

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

I came across your Web Site here and am rushing out to buy your book today! How wonderful that you survived and that you are helping the world to see the terrible things that happened through your eyes. I visited Aushwitz a few times and was heartbroken.

May god bless you and be safe and well

Clara-Mare Pienaar - South Africa - May 3 2013.

 

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

I read have a lot and seen many documentaries on the issue HOLOCAUST. Your book (which I just finished reading) deeply touched my heart. Needless to say, I hope such a thing will never happen again. You Sam have left an important testimony for World history. I wonder if the Germans will read your book and maybe reflect a little on what they have done? I hope that you can have all the peace you deserve.

Thank you with all my heart.

Many greetings and best wishes

Sanguineti Angelo - ITALY - May 7 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

You may not know this but you are a hero.........not like a marvel comic one but a true, real life hero because you fought to live through the Holocaust. With your voice you speak for all those who did not get through and perished but who will never be forgotten thanks to people like you. I am a Catholic and do question whether God exists or not, when you witness such horrers as the Holocaust or 9/11 "live" you can only ask "where is He?" and I do not have the answer except to hope that those who commit such crimes are a minority and that the majority of mankind is good. I wish you well and thank you for sharing what must have been a very painful time in your life. Never never will you or what happened be forgotten, your voice will live through the generations to come because of your book.

Kind regards,

Claudine Deàk - Cavaillon, France - May 8 2013.

 

 

I want to thank you for your testimony. The way you entered hell as a boy moved me to tears, no boy should experience that! Your testimony will help the world never to forget this most shameful aspect of World history. Thank you for having remembered and written down your life.

The I wish you all the best,

with affection

Cinzia Conti - Italy - May 16 2013.

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

I am reading your survival story of the Holocaust and I feel thankful, so very thankful you survived to tell your story and live your life. I am a 65 year old woman and both my parents fought in the Second World War, my Father in the Navy and my Mother in the Royal Air Force. I can understand completely why you didn't write or share your survival story with the world until now, my parents didn't talk about their part in the war either and we all just got on with rebuilding our lives. Later on in life I worked for the Metropolitan Police in London and in 1991 I was asked to join the War Crimes Unit looking at war crimes committed during the Second World War, operating from Scotland Yard. I wont go into detail but I have read and heard many stories from survivors of the Holocaust and also have been to Yad Vashem in Jerusalem but nothing has moved me like the complete and honest account of your time in the very dark days of the Nazi anti-Jewish period. I would like to say God Bless you and yours Sam but I can't say I'm a believer, all I can say is that I truly am a believer in you.

Yours most humbly,

Jane McCallum-Moore - United Kingdom - May 16 2013.

 

 

 

Hi Sam... I'm seventeen years old.. I'm an italian girl... my name is Caterina Gallo... I only want you to know that I've read your book and everyday I think that when you were deported to Auschwitz, you were seventeen years old too... I can't think about your pain, your suffering... you lose all your family... except for your brother Nathan...it is admirable your strength... I would like to meet you... it is also upsetting for me the fact that all the men who managed the camp had denied everything...I also want to tell you that in Italy, people of my age usually don't want to talk about the holocaust... they say that it is also the "same story"... I don't believe this... I've read so many dispositions of other survivors from Auschwitz.

It will make me so happy if you will answer to me... it is important for me to know that you are conscious that I'm close to you... bye

Caterina Gallo - Italy - March 7 2013.

 

 

Sam,

 

I just recently read your book and it touched my soul. My grandfather recently deceased came from bedzin and survived the holocaust. I was named after my grandfather who perished in aushwitz. Thank you for writing your book for those whose stories aren't known and told. You are a Jewish hero.

Abe Zeines.

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

Thank you for your book, thank you foy your effort to remember and write your history. I went through those terrible years with you as I was reading, and I was deeply touched.

I send you a hug

Roberta Sala from Milano Italy - April 28 2013.

 

 

Hi Mr Pivnik,

 

I am italian 50 years old, i just finish reading your fantastic book, I just want to tell you that you arrive to open my heart. I cannot find some word for describing how I feel. I live in Eze French Riviera south of France, if you have to pass near my place i would like to see you and say thank you and guest you like a friend.

Just say thank you, thats all.

Shalom

Staefano Salvini - France - April 11 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

Thank you so much for your story. I picked up your book at the airport, as i was waiting for my flight. After reading the first few pages i couldn't put it down, and had to stop now and then to wipe the tears. In high school they teach you abit about the holocaust, but i guess i didn't pay that much attention. Which now i wish i did. I am 23 years old and i hope my generation and younger will take the time to read this amazing book and take notice of the holocaust. I'v always wanted to backpack around Europe. Now Auschwitz-Birkenau is a must visit and Bedzin.

I wish you all the best and thanks again for sharing your story. BIG HUG!!

Elizabeth Williams - Brisbane, Australia - April 14 2013

 

 

Hello Sam,

 

First of all excuse my English, I finished reading your book yesterday. The horror you have seen from your eyes ... How many cries have heard your ears .... I was very impressed by your story, although I already knew the Holocaust, but reading, I realized that it was much worse than what I already knew. During the reading, it seemed that I was there to see and hear what you've been through, indeed, that you were actually in those places of horror, your poor family, ten, a hundred thousand and more people tortured and killed for no reason .. . And many people in the world still have not learnt the lessons. There never will be a justice as to repay the lives of thousands and thousands of lives. Even my wife now wants to read the book, and even my ten year old boy wants to know, through your testimony the story of the massacre of innocents. I am 45 years old, your book is the third or fourth I've read in my life so far, apart from school books, but now I would like to deepen my knowledge with other sources like yours .. .

I want to assure you with all my heart that your story will never be forgotten until the end of days!

Giovanni Andrea Meloni Viddalba - Sardinia - April 23 2013.

 

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

Thank-you for allowing us to contact you. Your book was incredible. I have read many books on what you went through: it is horrific. It is impossible to understand how men can be so barbaric to each other. I teach Health & Social Care at Yeovil College. My background is Children's Nursing. I am 45. I use the Holocaust in Information Technology (I get them to create posters) and when discussing prejudice and discrimination. It saddens me that the youth in England today know very little about it. One of my colleagues organizes a trip to Auschwitz for his history students but I have yet to go. I consider myself to be agnostic. Having survived everything that you did alongside religious people of the world, what is your view of God now?

Best regards,

Sam Morgan-Shaw - April 27 2013. United Kingdom.

 

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

It is an honor to be able to contact you.

I do not deny that reading your book reduces me to tears.

I hope these horrors do not happen again.

Thank you for your testimony.

Nicolino Apples - 26/01/2013 Acquaformosa (CS).

 

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

I have read your book survivor yesterday.

From now on I will always remember you for the rest of my live.

Dear Sam let the sun every day shine on you.

Big hug

John Gietelink.

 

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

I have just finished reading your book, it's terrible what you have been through during your time in Auschwitz. I have a lot of respect for you because you put your self through the pain of writing this book. But I think it's good so that young people like me all over the world won't forget what happens during the holocaust.. Sorry for my English it's not so good I think.

Kind regards

Rene Hollander - Holland. Feb 5 2013.

 

 

Sam's story is incredible. how he survived so many close calls is itself amazing. The book is extremely well written and i couldn't put it down. I have the good fortune of spending time with Sam and his willingness to talk and write about his experiences is helping me heal from my own trauma, passed on from my father, also an Auschwitz survivor, but one who is unable to speak of the horrors. Thank-you Sam for finding the courage to do this. If only mankind could learn and stop repeating these horrors, but sadly we don't. Cambodia, Rwanda, Dafur.....

Dr. David Perl - Amazon reviews Feb 9 2013.

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

your story is incredible and immensely touching. It made me appreciate life so much more and I really admire your strength. Thank you for sharing your memories with the whole world. I will definitely recommend your book to all my friends and family.

Julia Gust - Feb 8 2013 - From Sam's Face book.

 

 

 

Thank you for sharing with us your memories. Thank you because you have decided to speak out. The sadness, fear, hunger and pain you had to bear for many years are summarised in few pages. This makes them more bearable. Some pages contain the tortures of days, weeks or even months. So we should multiply that to get an idea of what you must have suffered. The book is very brief compared to the time you spent doing your best to survive during the war. All those years of your life stolen forever. An after that, all the injustice after the war when you could not even get back your house. No one protected the people who came back. Today is the day of Memory. We should not forget the past, and also don't forget that human beings are the worst enemies of human beings.

Patrizia Pesola - Italy Jan 27 2013 - From Sam Pivnik Face book page.

 

 

I gave this the top rating of five stars because this true story of Sam Pivnik was excellent, i could not stop reading this book, i read it twice in first month, it was true but heartbreaking.

Gary Herbert Feb 15 2013 - From Amazon book reviews.

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

I really have no words to say thank you for your courage to remember the most horrible period of your life and to write it, and especially to let people know how evil a human being can be. I'm sure it could not have been easy to write. Thank you. I told to my Son some stories about the Holocaust and he simply said to me: "mom but ... Why?" I had no answers for him except to say that in these years, the devil walked the earth. A big hug from Italy and a special kiss.

Elena Corbucci - Feb 14 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

Thank you for writing your amazing story, allowing me to read it. You went through so much, you are the most strongest person ever. I wish you a lot of happyness...

Jessica Avose - Italy Feb 11 2013

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

I have just read your book. Thank you very much for your precious witness. I believe that all the humanity should thank you and all other survivors who have told the tragedy of Holocaust. This is a piece of memory that all of humanity should read. In particular, this must be a warning that such things should not happen again, never gain.

Kind regards,

Massimiliano - Rocca de' Baldi (ITALY).

 

 

Hello Mr. Pivnik,

 

I'm Marika from Italy..I read your book and I feel so happy to write to you! Thanks for what you wrote, I consider your book to be a message of peace! My mother has an uncle ( 97years old) who was taken to a German work-camp ( I don't know how to say)..also he tells horrible things.

Thanks again.

A big hug

Marika - Italy Jan 29 2013.

 

 

Hello Mr. Pivnik,

 

Thank you for writing your book, ''Survivor'' My grandfather was a medic in the 1st World War and never spoke of this time and the mindless horrors that he witnessed.That was his choice,he chose to lock away those memories and I respect him for that but those who are able to revisit the horrors of war and tell their own personal experiences means that the world will never be able to forget the suffering of normal every day people..victims of someone elses twisted beliefs and greed. Im not Jewish but I remember watching a TV programme about Auschwitz as a child and the shock and disbelief of the evil that was done has stayed with me ever since. I was born in 1966 and that was only 21 years after the end of WW2. I cant believe that such evil could have happend in Europe just a few decades before. Why there isnt more coverage of the Holocaust today is baffling.I think it is the single most evil act by ''humanity'' on humanity.

I have learned so much more after reading your book and it has inspired me to read more and maybe one day visit ''the camp'' so I can try and comprehend how and why this was allowed to happen.

Thank you for sharing your memoirs you are a true suvivor.

Kind Regards

Richard Jones - Jan 12 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

My name is Antonella Nardino, I'm 48 and I live in Bari, Italy. I am a teacher of Primary School with a passion for history, particularly for the Second World War and, more in detail, for the Holocaust. I'm always looking for true witnesses about this terrible event of our history because I want to Know what is really happened during the Jews persecution. I apologize for my English, which perhaps can be a bit "ungrammatical" or sometimes it may use inappropriate words, but I feel the need to write to thank you for sharing with the world your terrible and indescribable story that had to be told so that the new generations know what really happened and for it never to happen again. I just finished reading your moving testimony about your painful experience of deportation. This book is the best one I have ever read about the Holocaust so I suggested the reading of your story to all my colleagues. I cried a lot reading the story that describes in shocking detail the true reality of life in a Nazi concentration camp, especially Auschwitz. Your testimony is really touching and gives a true and realistic picture of life in a concentration camp. Reading the book people can feel the same things, the same sufferings that prisoners felt at those terrible moments. I have read other reports about it but they were all, like, a little "foggy" in reporting all the details of the life in the camps and the treatment that the Nazis gave the prisoners before, during and after their entry into the prison camp. In other books these details are left to the reader to guess, and this is the first time I read it, described exactly as they occurred. I can not even imagine the pain of the loss of your family, "passed through the chimney", as you refer, not to mention the deprivation, torture, humiliation suffered and seen others suffer .... I can not help but wonder how did you endure everything, even the unimaginable, but I think the survival instinct gives a powerful strength of character and you are living proof. I admire your courage and your strength of mind, which should be an example for generations to come, because nowadays we have less capacity for mutual tolerance. Unfortunately there is too much intolerance towards the needs of others and, on the contrary, too much attention to personal needs. And it is for this reason that I really think your book should be read by as many people as possible, because it will enable new generations to learn from the past and improve for the future. I would love to read other books about this subject, which tell the experience of deportation and life in concentration camps in a realistic way and without censure, as your own.

In expressing all my respect and my gratitude and in apologizing for my maybe too long speech, I extend cordial greetings and hope that you have been rewarded by life in some way.

Best wishes

Antonella Nardino - Bari, Italy - January 12, 2013.

 

 

Dear Sam Pivnik, today I finished reading your book. It took me some time, because I wasn't able to read more than 40-50 pages at a time! It took my breath away some times..and I couldn't hold back my tears! There are more than 25 books in my possession about the Holocaust and ( some of its) survivors.I was used (i thought) to read about cruelty and horror-scenes from deathcamps like Auschwitz...! But no... your book is , in spite what happened to you, by far the most impressive. I don't know if that's due to your way of writing and describing things..or that you are ( from the books I red) the only survivor, that is still living. Respect for your courage to do so!! For me it is almost a miracle how you did survive all that...! And still there are people who deny, the Holocaust???!! Something like that what happened during those years...should NEVER happen again. And people should be aware of that. The only way to do so...is by make people "widness"of that what happened, either by reading books...ore( if possible) listening to the stories of all the victims! My husband and I plan to visit Auschwitz next year...! We are trying to prepare ourselves ..( I wonder if that is indeed possible)! I think when we get there...your face will appear in my mind..together with your story, and the stories of many others! Stories, that have to be taken to next generations...so that this may never happen again! I 'm nearly 53 years. Sometimes I think that I already experienced a lot in life...but that is in no way to compare with yours. Reading your book.... an eye-opener for everyone, who wants to know something more about the War and its severe cruelties. Even for children of todays-generation your(and other) stories( s) should be part of the lessons in school! My kindest regards and with lots of love ( even though I never met you)...yours sincerely Ageeth Adema.

Dear Mr. Sam Pivnik

 

I'm Clara Rock, I am 12 years old and live in Italy. I wanted to tell you that I read your book .... and I must say it is very interesting, touching, and instructive. This book left me with many questions in my head ..... From morning to night ... I wonder how losing your family .... what it feels like .... It must have been very bad to lose everything ... during the war ... a war that has wiped out ... so many people .... educated, not educated, good and bad .... Since the age of 9 years .... I'm interested .... in the history of the Holocaust .... I have read many testimonials .... let's say I have always liked the story ... ., but in a special way ... the story ... the Second World War ... As for your book the part that hit me more is when you found yourself face to face with the Angel of Death ... . Mengele ..... and you threw yourself at his feet.

Well Mr. Pivnik, I do not know what else to say besides that the book made me cry. I wish you to well

Regards,

Clara - Italy - Sept 28 2013.

 

 

Sam: Thanks for writing you book. I appreciate your telling of your life in the camps. Your and all the others should never by forgotten and the memories should be kept as historial archives.

Paul Akers - Arkansas, USA.

 

 

Good evening.

 

I'm writing to you from Italy, near Milan. I've just finished reading your book. I thank you for having written: it's another very important witness about the Shoah - I don't call it holocaust, because this is a religous word and nothing of what happened in Auschwitz and in the other lagers can be called "religious". Unfortunately, the memory of what happened thenis disappearing in the younger generation and a new wave of racism and anti-Semitism runs through Europe. I pray to our God because it does not happen again what happened then and finally men can live in peace all over the world. I thank you for your patience and I apologize for my poor English.

God bless you.Good night

Mario Villa.

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik

 

I just finished your inspiring story! I am so glad you told it. I couldn't put it down. I have read many stories of survivors - from the "Lost Boys of the Sudan" to the survivors in Afghanistan and Iran. I understand that people like you survive these horrible unimaginable experiences for one reason in particular - to tell the world so that we never forget and so that we try to improve ourselves and seek world peace and overcome hatred and bigotry. Thank you for your story and may the Creator bless you and the memory of your brave family. Blessings.

Sincerely,

Patty Fong - Seattle, Washington.

 

 

 

I read your book and thoroughly "enjoyed" it. I thought I knew a lot about the holocaust but this book showed me things I never knew. I had to finnish the book. I have given it to my son and granddaughter to read now. Well done for writing such a good book.

all the best to you, you deserve it.

Mrs.J. Orchant - London.

 

 

Dear mister Pivnik,

 

I've read you book. I'll tell my daughter that she must read your book to. She will learn from this sad history . I've been in Auschwitz to visit the camp. This visit made my very sad. I am a teacher and will tell my student about you and your book.

I have a deep respect for you, you are a very strong man.

René Baars - Den Bosch - The Netherlands.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

I feel like I need to tell you that your story really touched me in depth. I couldn't stop reading your book Survivor (the Italian title is L'ultimo sopravvissuto). I had already heard stories like yours unfortunately; we study it at school quite deeply; but I was really involved while reading it and I couldn't stop thinking what I would do If I were you. I don't think I could bear such a situation, the constant TERROR of horrible atrocities without any reason. Immediate shooting would be more bearable. I remember the words of an Italian author and poet and journalist, Primo Levi, who was a prisoner at Auschwitz-Birkenau:

 

[.] Considerate se questo è un uomo Consider if this is a man Che lavora nel fango who works in mud Che non conosce pace who doesn't know peace Che lotta per mezzo pane who fights for a small loaf of bread Che muore per un sì o per un no. who dies because of a 'yes' or a 'no'. Considerate se questa è una donna, Consider if this is a woman Senza capelli e senza nome with no hair and no name Senza più forza di ricordare with no more strength to remember Vuoti gli occhi e freddo il grembo with her empty eyes and cold lap Come una rana d'inverno. Like a wintry frog. [.]

You probably already know this poet and his poetry and I apologize for my terrible translation, but it makes you understand the absurdity of what happened. And I'm not surprised when you say that you felt like you needed revenge. I'm surprised you didn't revenge. But I suppose that your temper, your education, your culture for justice prevented you doing it because in the deep of your soul you knew it was not your task and you couldn't kill a "human being" (were they really human beings or monsters??).

 

I don't want to bother you anymore. I just assure you that I won't leave your story apart. As far as I can, I'll tell my children (like my father and grandfather did with me) what really happened in the extermination camps so that they can not say it was not true.

Thanks a lot for your work.

 

Susanna Saccani - Reggio Emilia, Italy.

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

I have just finished reading your book, Survivor, and have a few things I'd like to share with you. I am not terribly eloquent, but will try to express a few thoughts with you that come from my heart. First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to share your story! I know it must have been emotionally draining to go back over the details and even visit the places where these horrific acts occurred. Thank you so much for sharing these things with us as I believe it is so important for us all to remember how quickly evil can take hold in this world! I want you to know, like so many people, I believe these events took place and I don't understand the mentality of those who don't admit it. The evidence is clear, and I thank you for presenting it. Secondly, I am so very sorry that you were not able to see your siblings grow up and watch your parents age naturally and enjoy the lifetime with them that you deserved. I am so sorry you were not able to see your sisters have children, and their children have children, and so on and so on. I am so very thankful you found your one brother alive and do find it amazing that both of you survived! On the other hand, I'm so sorry for all that you did see. So sorry for all that you did experience, and every other person who went through the Holocaust. As a Christian, I believe as a result of Adam's disobedience in the Garden of Eden, that we all inherited a sin nature which gives us a choice to either choose to live a life of good or evil; to serve God, or to serve Satan. I believe the only explanation for the atrocities that occurred during the Holocaust is that Satan himself was involved! He is a busy boy, trying to keep as many people from experiencing the joy and peace of a life with our Savior as possible! You mentioned in your book, that what you ultimately want is justice. I can assure you, that one day justice will be served by our Heavenly Father! One day, every knee shall bow to Him and every tongue will confess that He is Lord, as the Bible tells us in Phillippians 2:10,11. Justice will be served at that time. That includes every person who was responsible for the crimes committed against all groups of people involved in the Holocaust. I'm so sorry that you have doubts about God, but I believe He will meet you where you are with an understanding of what you went through and how it would affect your faith. I believe His word, and the fact that Jews are His chosen people, and I believe He has a special reward for each of you. I also believe God did answer at least one of your prayers as you escaped death so many times. Miraculous! For what it's worth, these are the things on my heart right now as I've finished reading your story. I will never forget you, Mr. Pivnik.

Sincerely,

Penny.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

Today I finished reading your incredible book. Your story has left a real impression on me, and many others. Thankyou for telling your story - what a courageous man you are.

Warm Regards,

Jessica - Perth, Australia.

 

 

 

Hello Mr Pivnik,

 

I have just finished reading your book and I am glad that I picked up this book from the bookstore. It is very mind blowing and inspiring, though I think no words can describle what you have gone through. I have nothing but well wishes for your and your family. Thank you for telling your story to the world, which will continue to inspire many and in the future generations. Take care and may you & your family be blessed each day.

Warm regards,

Lynn Cheong - Singapore.

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

I am reading your book "Survivor" and am so impressed that I had to write to you. I grew up in Australia and Israel in an orthodox family and spent much of my youth reading about the Holocaust ( I am not orthodox any more). I have never read a book that touched me like yours did. In fact, for many years now, I have found it very difficult to revisit this era, and it was just by chance that I picked up your book that my husband had borrowed from the library. You were able to convey such a moving account and your writing style made it seem so real to me.

Thank you so very much for your book.

With deep appreciation and warm regards,

Bonnie Goobich.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

I have begin to read your book and have been amazed by the cruelty which human beings can force upon each other. As you state if the future generations do not have accounts such as yourself the monsters and hatred which once consumed the lives of millions of people would be forgotten. I cannot imagine the suffering that your generation has gone through. Being of an ethnic minority family myself, I have gone through racism and persecution myself. I wanted to ask if it would be possible for you to sign a copy of your book for me with possibly some words of wisdom which I can keep and also pass onto my children. if this is possible I would be grateful and would take this opportunity to wish you all the best that life can provide and peace in the future.

 

Thank you

Dee Vyas-UK.

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

My name is Christian Small, and I am getting in touch with you as I have just recently finished reading your book Survivor. Never has a book done something to me that I have wanted to contact the author personally. Your book and your story is truly amazing.

As a 25 year old from Australia, I have never known the humiliation, fear, horror, and courage you had to grow up with. In high school, I took History and studied Nazi Germany so I had an understanding of WWII, Lebensraum, and the Concentration Camps.

Your book however paints such a vivid and painful picture of what The Holocaust was like. As such, it makes survival stories like yours all the more remarkable. While reading your book, it was hard not to get drawn in and start feeling the same emotions as you would have felt all those years ago. I can only imagine the horrors you faced on a daily basis.

I was glad to see that you could be contacted, as I wanted to express my gratitude to you for taking the time to confront your past and tell your story in such confronting detail. It is stories like yours and of your peoples which need to be retold, and serve as a reminder to not let history repeat itself.

Thank you for sharing your incredible story. I'm sure your family would be proud of the man you became and the life you lived.

Long life.

Christian Small - Perth, Western Australia.

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

I'm from Poland. Precisely around Zielona Góra. I'm passionate about the story of the second World War. I read your book ' Ocalaly'. I don't know what is the original English name of this book. I was very touched.The most moving moment for me was when you wrote that you hoped your grandmother was not alone when she died and someone held her hand in gas chamber.

 

My grandparents remember the second World War , but they happily weren't in a concentration camp. My uncle died on Monte Casino, I guess he was the only one in my family that experienced the war. His accurate date of death is not known. My grandfather was born in present Ukraine. He told me that the Ukrainians were worse and more brutal than the Germans. Your book gave me more information and knowledge. I admire you that you could wrote your experience. P.S. Sorry for my English, I'm still learning.

Patrycja Greczylo - Poland - Aug 19th 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik.

 

I just read your book! I am a 59 year old Jewish woman from the United States. I have read maybe 50 -75 Survivor stories over the many years, and while each story is somewhat the same, at the same time, each story is so unique! However, one thing runs through all of them........the will of the human spirit to stay alive. I was wandering in the book store, and your face appeared on the rack. When I opened the inside cover and saw that you were from Bedzin, I immediately bought the book and called my sister. I said, "Guess what, I am about to read a Holocaust biography about a man who was born in Bedzin. What if he knew Bubbi's familiy?" My Bubbi's name was Faigele Graub. Her parents were Simcha (nee Alexander) and Kalman Graub. Did you anyone by the last name of Graub or Alexander? While Faigele would have been older than you (born in 1903), perhaps you recognize the name as there were many other relatives. My Zeidi, William Friedman, was from Sosnowiec. In 1925, he moved to Brussels. He called for my grandmother and they married there on December 24, 1925. My mother was born in 1930. Sensing that things were not good, they moved to America in 1938. While they escaped, many in the family did not. I was in Poland in 2004. On our way from Krakow to Auschwitz I visited my grandparent's 2 home towns. By that time my grandparents and mother had passed away. I didn't really have any addresses, not that their homes would be remaining, and we just drove around a bit. While reading your book and the description of Bedzin (my Bubbi called it Bendin), I pictured my Bubbi as a child and young woman growing up there. I was so happy to know a little bit about the town! As for Auschwitz, while everything I have read about the camp, including looking at so many pictures gave me such sadness, it was nothing compared to being there in person. I was overwhelmed with emotion. Also, we were there in January....so I don't have to tell you how cold it was. I was bundled up from head to toe.....and to this day, have no idea how EVERYONE didn't die from the cold, considering your tattered clothing....and lack of food.

I know many Survivors.....relatives and friends' parents......and you are all true heroes.

Cathy Hodes Greenly - Beverly Hills, CA. - USA.

 

 

Hi my name's Roberto Grigollo and I live near Turin in Italy. Sorry for my english but I don't speak and write very well. I've just finished your book "L'ultimo sopravissuto" and I would like to thank you for every single word you wrote. My grandfather was born in 1925 and he fought the Germans here in Turin with the partisan but he doesn't want to remember. It's so difficult to do but his experiences and those of thousands of other people will be a warning to future generations. I'm glad to have read your book and I greet you with a virtual hug.

Roberto Grigollo - Italy - Aug 6th 2013.

 

 

Dear Sam Pivnik,

 

Thank you for your book! I find it hard to use the word 'enjoyed' having read about your pain, loss of family and suffering endured during WWII. I am overwhelmed with emotion having read about your wartime experience at the hands of the heinous Nazis SS and their sympathisers. I don't know you but I will always admire and respect you as a man who fought to survive and who so accurately recounted in a dispassionate fashion the 'truth' about the infamous Concentration Camps. God bless you always

Jan Tadeusz Góralski - July 27th 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

I feel like I need to tell you that your story really touched me in depth. I couldn't stop reading your book Survivor (the Italian title is L'ultimo sopravvissuto). I had already heard stories like yours: We studied it at school quite deeply; but I was really involved while reading your story and I couldn't stop thinking what I would do If I were you. I don't think I could bear such a situation, the constant TERROR of horrible atrocities without any reason. Immediate shooting would be more bearable. I remember the words of an Italian author, poet and journalist, Primo Levi, who was a prisoner at Auschwitz:

Considerate se questo è un uomo - Consider if this is a man

Che lavora nel fango - who works in mud

Che non conosce pace - who doesn't know peace

Che lotta per mezzo pane - who fights for a small loaf of bread

Che muore per un sì o per un no. - who dies because of a 'yes' or a 'no'.

Considerate se questa è una donna, - Consider if this is a woman

Senza capelli e senza nome - with no hair and no name

Senza più forza di ricordare - with no more strength to remember

Vuoti gli occhi e freddo il grembo - with her empty eyes and cold lap

Come una rana d'inverno. - Like a wintry frog.

You probably already know this poet and his poetry and I apologize for my terrible translation, but it makes you understand the absurdity of what happened. I'm not surprised when you say that you felt like you needed revenge. I'm surprised you didn't revenge. But I suppose that your temper, your education, your culture for justice prevented you doing it because in the deep of your soul you knew it was not your task and you couldn't kill a "human being" (were they really human beings or monsters??).

I don't want to bother you anymore. I just assure you that I'll tell my children (like my father and grandfather did with me) about what really happened in the extermination camps so that they can not say it was not true.

Thanks a lot for your work.

Susanna Saccani - Italy - July 24th 2013.

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

Waiting at Melbourne airport for a flight to Singapore where I am selling a two day picture auction, by pure chance I stumbled across your book.

I was soon captivated by your story but something was ringing bells in my memory. For ease I had bought an ebook. My curiosity got the better of me and I googled your images and there you are, a man I knew as a picture dealer in my early days at Phillips in London.

This simple fact of recognition made your story even more touching. I am not Jewish but I have an interest in the holocaust and the horror of that terrible time. I am so sorry about your family and the pain you suffered. Your survival is nothing short of a miracle and your book is totally absorbing. Thank you.

I very much hope that I treated you with kindness and respect and I hope you have found happiness in your life. You certainly deserve it. My father taught me to treat others as I would wish to be treated and this has served me well.

Yours sincerely

Martin Gallon - Art Dealer - Australia - July 21st 2013.

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

I'm Giada from Italy and today I finished reading your book. Thank you for your courage to remember the most horrible period of your life and to write it. Everything that happened was horrible! You won.! You managed to survive! It's necessary that the whole world will know all the evil that has been done. The memory of the survivors must live in us and in our children. Only in this way it Should never happen again!

Wishing you a lot of happyness and all the best.

Thank you again,

Giada Egitto - Italy - July 22nd 2013.

 

 

 

Hello Mr. Pivnik

 

My name is Vincenzo Agliottone I'm 30 years old and I live in Naples in Italy Since my school days I have been interested in the period of the Second World War. I have read many books of survivors and in July'll 2013 I'll be visiting the camp of Dachau. Your story upset me, I was so moved as I read that I often had to stop reading because it was so strongly drawing me in to the point that I felt involved in those places with you. This was an immensely dark time for humanity and I hope that young people today read and study what happened to not forget. You can not forget those sad years for the world and I hope that stories like yours will live on forever in order that we can all remember and avert it happening again. I hope one day to meet you, to be able to embrace and talk to you, but for the moment I'd be happy if you answer me and send me a letter with some more information or some pictures. I wish you much good,

Vincenzo Agliottone - Naples, Italy - June 18 2013.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

My name is Claire, I am 29 years old and I live in Australia. This is the first time I have ever written to an author! I feel compelled to thank you for sharing your story. 'Survivor' was the first Holocaust memoir I read. I always felt frightened to read Holocaust memoirs as I thought I would be left feeling consumed with heartbreak at the horrendous grief suffered by so many. I also felt that I did not want to 'entertain' (forgive me for using such a shallow and inappropriate word but I hope you understand my context) myself with reading a survivor memoir but on the other hand I felt it was a duty owed to those who survived with the ability to tell their story. Of course, from History lessons and general knowledge, I had some understanding of the Holocaust - but to me, it seemed to be a distant and incomprehensible event. Through researching my own families involvement in WW2 I became interested in the broader political context of the war which inevitably lead me to learn more about Nazism and the Holocaust. This is when I decided to face my fear and read a survivor memoir.....your's was the first one I picked up at the bookstore. I read your book cover to cover, barely stopping to catch my breathe. As I had feared, reading your memoir was heartbreaking, but it didn't leave me heart broken - the matter-of-fact and gentle way you told your story was also truly inspiring. I was left with a sense of what truly matters in life to me - people, warmth, food, joy and laughter (and how privileged I am to enjoy all, everyday). Your story made me so grateful for every moment I have of peace and freedom and happiness. It gave me a reinvigorated desire to live my life with courage and compassion and to never, ever turn a blind eye to suffering or cruelty. For this, I thank you from the absolute bottom of my heart. I have gone on now to also read Primo Levi's books 'If This Is A Man', 'The Truce' and 'The Drowned And The Saved' - I found his writing, like your's, to also be an incredible contrast between beauty and relentless darkness. Have you read Primo Levi's books? What did you think of them? Sadly, it seems to me that as a whole we humans have a short memory. I feel there is so much injustice, cruelty, ignorance and selfishness in the world that it leaves me feeling frustrated with the fear that the evils of our past will continue to be repeated. I hope I am wrong because to me, life is too beautiful to be wasted on hatred. I have come to the conclusion that all I can do is continue educating myself, sharing my knowledge and treating people of all races with kindness and respect - and never staying quiet when I witness cruelty or hear words spoken out of ignorance but to calmly and gently point out the truth as you have done.

Again Mr Pivnik, thank you so much. I do hope you know how much your story means to me and I hope you are well :)

With My Warmest Regards & Upmost Respect,

Claire Miller - Australia - June 7th 2013.

PS Please forgive my terrible writing, I am typing on my phone :)

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

Thank you so much for writing your book. My name is Linda, I am a Dutch girl in the age of 26 years. I am very interested in the second world war. That is why I read many books about survivors of the camps, and today I read the last chapter of your book. Sometimes I had to stop reading, so much heavy things.. I have to say that I cried a lot when I read your story. It is so hard to know that nowadays people say stupid things to / about jewish people.. I can't understand that, maybe it is because your people are Gods special people and people don't like to hear that!

Thank you for sharing the story. I'm sorry about the people that never talked about it. It is important for the whole world to know what realy happened in those camps. Thank you for the spirit to survive.

Thank you so much. God bless you.

Kind regards,

Linda Wessells-Teune - Netherlands - May 23rd 2013.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Sam,

 

your courage didn't fail and that's why I want to THANK YOU for your touching report. I wish you all the best.

Yours sincerely,

Marco Rolleri - Italy - May 20th 2013.

 

 

 

Hello Mr Pivnik,

 

My father was a little bit older than you when he went to war. There was never any doubt in his mind why he went but with the war being on the other side of the world there were people who didn't want to go and some went to jail for that reason. My father said he went to do his bit to stop evil. I did know about the death camps but never really understood what that evil was until I read your book. You honour your family, your friends and all those many millions who were lost by telling your story.

My very best regards to you.

Sharon Hansen - June 2 2013.

 

 

 

Hi Sam,

 

My name is Jessica age 33 fron Christchurch, New Zealand. I'm a deaf mother of 3 (preg with my 3d), Emma is almost 10, Daniel is 7. I also have wonderful partner. Why am i telling you this? Your book, I''ve almost finished it. I've read so many but its yours that stands out. It's really made me think how lucky I am with my family, the very thought of gas chambers sends shudders up my spine. So many families gone just like that, those who survive never forget the horrors like you saw. our generation, a lucky lot, never went though what you did, yet reading your book has me thinking, its powerful memories feels like you're there too. Yet you survived, and able to have a voice to tell the world the horrors. I've studied the holocaust for years since a teen. I thank you for telling us your story.

Kind Regards

Jess :-D - Christchurch, New Zealand - May 22 2013.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

my name is Simone, I live in Florence, Italy...I just read your book...let me thank you...thank you very much for writing it...it's precious...it should be included in all school programs...God knows how much we need such documents from the past which is not past yet...just look around you...history repeating...especially in Italy, we never took the distance from fascism...some fascists are even in our current government...I can only imagine what you felt and still feel about Nazi people who did not even experience the jail... All pages of your book are full of sadness and despair, but the last part, after you gained back your freedom was good to read. Holocaust deniers are worse than anyone else, humanity needs to look at the holocaust direct with no excuses. Have you ever come to Italy? In Florence nearby (Prato) there is a Holocaust museum...maybe you know it... In any case, if you plan to come to my country I will be pleased to meet you.

Thank you so much,

Sincerely,

Simone Cresci -Italy - May 19 2013.

 

 

 

Hello Mr. Sam,

 

I purchased a copy of 'Surviver', a very interesting book that should be read by future generations, particularly not to forget what was the Nazi wickedness and especially of how man can sometimes demonstrate a cruelty beyond measure.

I am sorry that the horrors of war have destroyed your loved ones and also the tenderness and joy of your childhood. I hope that one day the Lord will reward you for all of your suffering. Rest assured that your parents, brothers, sisters and grandmother will never be forgotten.

An affectionate hug.

Donato Costantini - Italy - May 24 2013.

 

 

 

Dear Mr Pivnik,

 

I have read much about the Holocaust but nothing has made it as "real" as reading your book. It was truly inspirational and you are rightly described by many who have read it as a hero. I am sure you would shy away from that label, but it is important that there are real-life heroes, because this is the way to capture the attention of the world and make sure the story lives on. With your book, it will. I send you my deep respect and admiration and hope you will take some comfort and peace from the amazing impact your story has had and will continue to have. Thank you.

Hellen Williams - May 19 2013.

I am a 74 year old Christian American. I'm in the middle of reading your book & it has affected me like no other book I have ever read! Every person of every nationality should read this! Never Never forget!!!!!!!!!!! I don't know why God put you through this or your fellow Jews but maybe just maybe you wrote this book as part of God's plan.the world is spinning out of control & the End is near. God WILL NOT LET ISRAEL BE DESTROYED! I am profoundly moved by your words!! God Bless you Sam Pivnik..

 

Bev Mylan - from Sam's Facebook page - 4th October 2014.

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

I must have been 12 when I found in my father's library "The Nurnberg Trial" and I read it. The photos of the book are still in my mind. I remember I did not understand much at the time but that is how it started - my necessity to know. It really happened! And it was done by human beings just like me. I have heard too many times they were monsters, less than human beings, but I do not believe it. They were human beings and this is the greatest danger. They were mothers and fathers and sons of someone. And they just forgot or ignored the humanity in them. They exterminated the souls of other human beings and then killed them. I had to know more about the holocaust. I had to know so I can pass it on to the next generations. So we will never allow this to happen again. And I had to tell them and constantly remind myself that the exterminators were human beings. There is still racism in the world and for the life of me my brain cannot cope with the idea or find any kind of explanation. I worked on the cruise ships for five years and that makes me a very lucky person because I got to know people of many cultures, religions and races. I learnt so much from all of them. I was so happy on the ship because my spirit became so rich! I have little money but I am the richest person I know.

 

 

My name is Iulia, I am 36 and I am Romanian living in Italy.

 

I thank you for surviving. I thank you for going through everything once again to tell us your story. I promise you that for as long as I live I will talk about it. I promise you that my children and my grandchildren, and anyone who would listen to me will know. I promise you that I will always tell your story and the story of all the dead and the survivors. That is the very least I can do. One day, when I am strong enough, I will go to Auschwitz. I am not ready yet. But one day I will be. And I will take my family with me.

Thank you.

Iulia Vornicu.

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

I was 3 years older than you when they took you away from your beautiful country. I've just read your book and it was horrible what they did to you all. I won't ever really understand what it could have been like, I wouldn't imagine how boys and also girls like you could have felt living in your conditions. Sometimes I asked my self what I would have done if I was in your position. And I always, always replied to my self that I would not have kept on living for too long, because I would have been too proud, maybe stupid, to have let them treat me that way. In the back of the book, I read that everyone asks you "why you didn't oppose them?" . Well, I think the answer's simple: they could have killed you. And then? Who would have told us what those sort of people (can we really call them people?) have done you? I don't know how to define your story. I really appreciate that you related us every horrifying detail. Even though you said that the people in the UK were not interested in your story after the war, things are very different now and there are many people who are very hungry for stories like yours. The world needs to know what people are capable of doing with each other. I would like to know how your life has been in the recent years. I really hope you have had a good lifeJ

Love,

Giulia.

 

 

Sam,

 

I just finished your book and found it very well written. It's so hard to believe anyone could survive that, but YOU did. Thank you for telling your story after all these years and my best to you!

Chadd Hamilton - USA - Aug 27 2013.

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Pivnik,

 

My name is John Darretta born in Matera, Italy, in 1967 and I'm lucky to have grown up and still live in my city. I bought your book at the airport on the way back from my trip to Poland this summer and I will not hide my anger and my emotions, feelings I had on my trip, organized with my wife and my two daughters Mariella Frank and Ida, in Warsaw, Krakow and Oswiecim. I went to these places because I wanted to see the ghettos, to breathe what is left in those places of Jewish culture and .... I wanted to try to understand. Part of my nation is equally guilty for everything that has happened and, for that reason, I beg your pardon on behalf of all Italians. The entire world has an obligation to the people of Israel and people like you should be treasured for your witness to what happened. I will not hide my tears as I write these words, but this time tears of joy knowing that wonderful people like you can still give so much to the world. I hope that in contrast to what happened with the letter from Mr. Schmidt, you will see that my message is genuine and I send my greetings to you with sincere friendship.

John Darretta - Matera,Italy - Sept' 21 2013.