William Samelson

One Bridge to Life:
A Personal Memoir





In the years since the brutality of Nazi-occupied Poland, William Samelson, a survivor, has made peace with his past. His riveting autobiographical novel is an emphatic celebration of life.

The year is 1939. The boy is eleven-year-old Wilek Samelson. As the Nazis tighten their grip on Poland, young Wilek's beloved home and way of life begin to unravel.

Through the next harrowing years of war, labor camps and incalculable personal loss, boy quickly becomes man. Wilek manages to escape the Nazis, courageously participating in the partisan underground activity. Relentlessly hunted down and recaptured by the SS, he survives the final years of war in the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp, until liberation in 1945.

From this suspenseful and emotion-charged portrait of a world gone mad, emerges Samelson's unique perspective on the unspeakable. In place of unseeing bitterness and hatred, Samelson affirms the difference between the Nazis who persecuted his family and people, and those Germans who were caught between the mission of Hitler and their own humanity. Electrifying instances of heroism and cruelty abound. We instinctively know this story is not only true, but true to human nature.

The theme of the book belongs into the segment of what is called "Literature Against War," which had its beginnings in modern expression with Erich Maria Remarque and his "All's Quiet on the Western Front." It carries a universal theme rendered by writers who describe war as an inner experience of a national-global or existential meaning. It is a heroically unifying experience of personal dimensions and a symbol of a cultural transformation with heroic fatalism. It also depicts a political controversy which was, for obvious reasons, violently resolved in the years 1933-1945 with tragic implication on all sides. Nevertheless, the Nazi times set the
tone for the second half of the century marked by incidences of genocidal lust and a wanton disregard of individual rights all over the globe. The losses in material were staggering, but those of human lives would prove irreparable in the course of human affairs for centuries to come. Most troubling, however, were the losses of children's lives, murdered mercilessly by ambitious leaders without the least concern for their value in the process of cultural, spiritual, evolution of humanity.




Created by The Authors Guild

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