Friday, May 12, 2023

The Stable Boy of Auschwitz by Henry Oster & Dexter Ford

The Stable Boy of Auschwitz adds an important first-hand account of WWII from the perspective of a child having lived through rehousing in a Polish ghetto, surviving two concentration camps, and experiencing continued anti-Semitic sentiment after the war. So many books end when the war ends but the author, Henry Oster, shares about the challenges of adulthood having lived through such a harrowing childhood. My husband (an avid reader of WWII books) listened along with me and he said this particular book was one of the most exceptional accounts he had ever encountered. 

I will caution readers that there is a very explicit chapter about the author's duties in assisting with equine mating. There is also some male anatomical humor sprinkled throughout the memoir. Oster holds nothing back and speaks candidly about puberty, his delayed development and also his first intimate experience. Listening to the audiobook, it was difficult to skim past those sections (had I been reading a print version, I would definitely have skipped those portions).  I would say the content is definitely adult-oriented for those reasons as well as the very graphic depiction of conditions in the concentration camps. 

One disappointment was early on in the book when the author digressed into disparaging comments about a political party--likening them to Hitler. I felt that unnecessarily alienates a number of readers. Other than that, the book is very well written and helps shed light on the unfortunate prejudice that followed Jewish immigrants after the war. Mr. Oster serves as a remarkable example of courage and perseverance through unimaginable suffering. 

Disclaimer: I received a digital audiobook of The Stable Boy of Auschwitz from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received. The views expressed are entirely my own.


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