Paul Argiewicz was pretty much like every other child in his 1930s hometown of Aleksandrowice, Poland: energetic, mischievous, and lovable in every way. Like every other child, that is, save for one fatal “flaw.” Paul was a Jewish boy growing up in a country that had no tolerance for his kind of people. At age eleven, Paul was arrested for stealing bread for his starving family in the ghetto. He spent the next four years of his young life separated from all he loved, and working in slave labor camps. It has been sixty-five years since Paul Argiewicz was liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp in Nazi Germany. Now, after six decades, his miraculous and touching story has emerged from the darkness of smoke and ash, bringing with it a testimony of illumination, hope, and triumph.
What Makes Number 176520 a Unique and Valuable Resource:
Written, edited, and designed by a team of seasoned professionals
Authored by a licensed public school teacher and designed for students
Endorsed by superintendents, teachers, students and parents, librarians, bookstore owners and religious leaders
Nonfiction - 100% true, historical account
Preface and historical information by Professor Kenneth Waltzer, Director of Jewish Studies, Michigan State University
Carried by holocaust museums, educational institutions, libraries, synagogues, and churches in the United States, Israel, and Germany
Fair, accurate, undiluted assessment of life in Nazi concentration camps
Inspiring and triumphant eye-witness account
Powerfully and sensitively written
Accessible, visual, and easy to read
-Scans of actual concentration camp documents on the subject, Paul Argiewicz
(obtained from Nazi archives in Bad Arolsen, Germany)
-24 pages of stunning, full-color graphics and photographs
-Letters from students and others
-Historical maps and charts
-Detailed footnotes and glossary offer further information and insight into
cultural and historical aspects of the era
-Over 50 vocabulary words in Yiddish, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Russian, and
German with phonetic pronunciations and definitions
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A few comments from readers:
A real worth your time read...I laughed and cried, a story of tragedy and triumph. Told in an inspiring and heartfelt way. The author Deanne Joseph made the pages come to life as you walk with Paul in His amazing journey..Glad I read it and I plan to suggest it to all my friends.
- Lisa Isaacson, Rockford, IL
What an amazing story heard first hand from the actual person who lived it. I could not put the book down from the minute I started reading. This book has touched me and my entire family and is a MUST READ for all families. God bless Paul and all of the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Thank you for writing and helping us understand what so many of us cannot begin to imagine.
- anonymous reader, WI
This book is well written, poignant and revealing. It accurately dipicts the life of Paul who went into concentration camps as a child and came out an adult, although still a teenager. Adding to the interest of the book are pictures of concentration camps, historical documents,Paul and his family, maps and charts. A must read for those who care about the welfare of, not only, the Jewish people but the people of the world. Never again!
- Texas Rose, Aubrey, TX
This book is a fascinating story of a survivor of the Holocaust--a teenager. This book is very inspiring and a must read for anyone who studies the Holocaust and survivors of the Holocaust.
- anonymous reader
Events brought together only by God, have lead me to Paul. I speak with him now at least once a week, sometimes twice. His outlook on life in light of the tragic destruction of his family and his own imprisonment is humility as its core. The young boy known to the world in the infamous picture of liberated Buchenwald survivors is now a man without a shred of hatred, bitterness, anger or resentment. His faith in God is unbreakable; his spirit is determined to let the world know of his past. He brings humanity where we, as a human race – molded by more wars, terrorist attacks and disagreement – have become stoic. He reminded me recently to live and thank God for life. Number 176520, tells the story of humankind’s grotesque depravity toward innocent human beings and shows the reader how a sliver of kindness can sustain not only the physical body but the Soul as well. In the face of such banal evil there were miracles happening – and from the most unlikely sources. Out of the darkness of that time, from places of unspeakable horror and fear, comes the voice of one man who gives voice for not only every Jewish man, woman and child, but for the estimated five million others, whose voices were crushed by a mad man.
- Maria Scala, Legal Secretary (Jersey City, NJ)
Paul Argiewicz, my granddaughter (a middle school teacher) presented me with an autographed copy of your masterful telling of your Holocaust experiences. Today in Racine, WI, with a winter snow warning, I was able to read it from cover to cover. As with Elie Weisel's "Night" I cannot say I enjoyed it as reading thru tears is never pleasurable. However the beauty of the human spirit triumphant is thrilling in the telling. I ache for the small boy still evident in the man. My heart was permanently seared with the images that filled our minds with horror after the end of WWII. I can remember being uncomprehending that humans could inflict such pain on another. Your message must be heard, as difficult as it must have been to recreate those memories. There is so much discussion these days of Post-traumatic Stress Syndrome, it is incomprehensible that you immerged the healthy whole human being evident in your survivorship. A blessing on you. It really isn't relevant, and political in nature, but I must include my outrage recently, at the use of Dachau photos at a rally in Washington by the female Representative of Minnesota, to further her antipathy to a National Health Plan. It provoked in me raw emotion, and caused me to email family members with my disgust at that usage. It initiated long discussions of my memories, and in some small ways opened their eyes to things that still to this day are never discussed enough. Each year, Beloit College prints a newsletter about new entering freshman, and the things about which they have NO memory. The recent class, born in 1992, can hardly remember before computers, much less 1943. It is my hope that many will see and treasure your efforts to bring this to our hearts and minds. Thank you.
- anonymous reader
A few more comments from readers:
Thank you very, very much for coming up to our library last night. It was wonderful meeting all of you. It made it extra special that you, and Paul's wife and some of his family attended.
This was the finest program offering we have had at our library in the 10 years I have been here. Paul's presence in the room was powerful. People who attended the program knew they were in the room with a national treasure. Between Paul's extensive knowledge of history, and his charm and warmth and humor as a human being, people were treated to an experience most will never forget. Customers have been expressing their deep gratitude to me for inviting Paul to our library. They understand this was a once in a lifetime experience. We thank you all for the moving and enjoyable program. The world is lucky someone like Paul is telling his story.
I am writing to thank you for meeting with Richmond School District 7th and 8th grade students. Your life history is viewed as one of the most compelling stories that our students, parents, and faculty have ever heard. The learning experience you created for them was powerful and your message is one that will never be forgotten. To this day, students comment on how you impacted their understanding of the war, the horrific events against humanity, and most importantly, your kindness to others and your loyalty to America. When you explained what it was like to see an American for the first time as they freed the concentration camp prisoners and you were near death, a subtle epiphany occurred in which the entire audience paused to reconsider what it really means to be an American.
The Richmond family -- which now includes both you and your wife, and author Deanne Joseph – wants you to know that you are always welcome at our school. We wish all three of you much happiness and hope you will return for another presentation with up and coming middle school aged students. Thank you.
- Dr. George Zimmer, Superintendent
Richmond School District (Delafield, WI)
Thank you so much for sending me your book Number 176520. I received it on Wednesday and read the entire book that night. I absolutely could not put it down. The Holocaust has always been fascinating to me, and I particularly love sharing survival stories with my class. Paul's story is the most inspirational that I have read. I read an excerpt to my students, and they are incredibly excited to receive and read their very own copies. Paul's upcoming presentation has caused great anticipation in our school and community. One of my students is even hoping to bring his great-grandfather, who was a prisoner of war in Austria. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.
- Michelle Pagenkopf, English teacher
Belmont Community Schools
Thank you so much for presenting this meaningful program. This was the single largest audience I have seen at our library for an adult program. Mr. Argiewicz walked in with a twinkle in his eye and instantly put us all at ease. He told his story with such warmth, feeling, and humor he had the audience crying and laughing in turn. With precious few survivors left to tell the tale, Mr. Argiewicz’s gift to us was a true treasure. Thank you also for staying to speak with audience members and sign books after the presentation. Ms. Joseph’s moving and inspirational book should be considered a must-read for all middle school students. It was an honor working with you to organize this event, and I look forward to scheduling another program in the future.
- Danijela Djurdjevic, Head of Information Services
Community Library (Salem, WI)
We are deeply honored to host Holocaust survivor Paul Argiewicz and author Deanne L. Joseph on Tuesday, Sept. 29, from noon until 2:00 pm. Argiewicz will discuss his experiences and, along with Joseph, will sign his ineffably powerful memoir. Argiewicz’s survival, from laboring in a quarry at Auschwitz to the last, desperate days at Buchenwald – which Joseph relates simply, directly, and elegantly – hinged on two lies: an initial lie about his age (he was only eleven when he was captured stealing two loaves of bread) and a later lie about his being an electrician that became a reality under the tutelage of a kindly supervisor for I.G. Farben. The book’s title, Number 176520, refers to the identification tattoo Argiewicz carried as a laborer at Blechhammer and forever after. The villains in this story are predictable, but the heroes – an SS officer, a German couple, and the aforementioned supervisor – will surprise you.
- Linda Murto and Ross Parcels
Owners – Aurora Book Shop (Menominee, MI)
It was a pleasure and a privilege to have Mr. Argiewicz present a program at the Library. His story of surviving unimaginable cruelty and horror is both haunting and uplifting. More than one person in the room was moved to tears and the entire audience rose to give him a standing ovation. We are now three or more generations removed from the Holocaust but it must never be forgotten. With books like Number 176520 and people like Paul Argiewicz who have the courage tell their story, it won’t. This was the last program in our schedule for 2011 and was by far the best one. Thank you both for bringing it to KPL.
Reference and Readers Advisory Services Librarian
Kenosha Public Library
The day I met Paul Argiewicz changed my life forever. I remember sitting with Paul and Deanne for the first time; I listened humbly as Paul shared his story about his life in the concentration camps. Every word that came out of his mouth was from his heart and he showed no hatred or bitterness – just love for every human being he meets.
Number 176520 is a powerful story about an adolescent boy who miraculously survived one of the most depraved events in human history: the holocaust. The book tells how young Paul dealt with the emotional turmoil of being separated from his family after his arrest and how he faced the horrors of the concentration camps.
Perhaps most importantly, Paul is eager to share his story with anyone who has an ear to hear and he has dramatically impacted the lives of those around him. He has become a father figure in my life and I am honored to call him friend.
- Dave Kasiske, Teacher -- Kenosha, WI