Now, after fifty years, Paul Steinberg speaks for himself. In an unsparing act of self-scrutiny, he traces his passage from artless adolescent to a ruthless creature determined to do anything to live. He describes his strategies of survival: the boxing matches he staged for the camp commanders, the English POWs he exploited, the maneuvers and tactics he applied with cold competence. Ultimately, he confirms Levi's judgment: "No doubt he saw straight," Steinberg writes. "I probably was that creature, prepared to use whatever means I had available. I will never know whether I am entitled to ask for clemency from the jury." But, he asks, "Is it so wrong to survive?"
Brave and rare, this volume is a profound and necessary addition to the body of Holocaust writing: a survivor's reckoning with culpability and survival.
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