Born: Viseu, Romania
Pen Name: None Connection to Illinois: Rudolph Tessler came to America in 1947 and lives in Chicago. Biography: N/A
|Letter to my children :
ISBN: 0826212441 OCLC: 41527987 University of Missouri Press, Columbia, Mo. : ©1999. A concentration camp survivor recalls the horrors of Auschwitz as he and his entire family--sixty-seven members in all--suffer the privations of the camps, trying to hold on to their lives, and their Jewish identity. The inspirational story of one family's struggle to survive the Holocaust through hope, determination, & perseverance. As Rudolph Tessler's mother stepped from the train in Auschwitz, shortly before she was sent to the gas chamber, she heard "Hello, Esther." In a polite tone, a young German SS officer greeted her as he would any old friend. His family lived down the road from the Tessler family in Viseu, their hometown in northern Romania. They, like the rest of the town, admired Esther for her wonderful cooking, particularly the delicious cakes she brought them each Christmas. Now he ushered her and six of her children to their deaths. Throughout Letter to My Children, Tessler offers vivid glimpses of the senselessness that surrounded him during World War II. Of the thousands packed in trains and transported from Viseu to Auschwitz, just a small group survived to see liberation. Among the survivors were Tessler, his father, and two of his brothers. This is their amazing story as Hasidic Jews caught in the chaos and terror of the Holocaust. Tessler's upbringing had emphasized community and family devotion -- traits not forgotten in the concentration camps. Few fathers and sons survived the concentration camps together. In spite of the odds, Tessler and his brother Buroch managed to stick together, sharing their father's labor assignments to protect him from death, preserving not only their family bond but also their spirituality. Despite an environment in which their captors tried to reduce them to animals, Tessler's remaining family and seven other Jews from Viseu made a special effort to observe their faith. Bending rules in ways that risked their lives, they worked together to smuggle wheat, grind it into flour, and bake matzos to distribute for Passover. The group also secretly gathered tosing prayers on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. In addition to vividly portraying the daily struggles of camp life, Letter to My Children follows Tessler beyond liberation, recounting his days as a displaced person struggling.