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Author's Note

I was born in 1930 in Grodno, Poland and condemned to DEATH at the tender age of nine by the Nazis. Hitler’s plan was to exterminate every Jew. To murder entire communities in the gas chambers and burn their bodies in the crematoriums of death camps such as Auschwitz and others, to remove all traces of Jewish existence.

I was hunted for no reason other than being born Jewish and living on the wrong continent, at the wrong time. Little by little, I found myself devoid of friends and relatives. The Nazis killed them all. Only a few of the names have been changed. 

In 1941, I stood with my father in the undressing room of Auschwitz, at the open gates to the gas chamber. We were a few feet away from the final doors of no return, when the sword of death was lifted from my throat by the greatest power whom I call “Our God.” I spent my teenage years in concentration and death camps as a political prisoner marked for death, as an enemy of the state.

I lived to tell my story.

I was just a young boy but remember vividly the horror of those years that changed not only my world, but  the world at large. I feel compelled to tell this story for all who died at the hands of the Nazis, and can speak no more. I am one of the last survivors—witness to Hitler’s atrocities. 

It is not my intention to describe the events of World War Two in great detail and with great accuracy. Nor am I blaming the German people for the Nazi’s crimes against humanity during World War II.

This is not a book by a defeated person seeking sympathy. Rather I take a stand to demonstrate that, despite adverse living conditions and ruthless abuse, deprived of a childhood for more than four and a half years while imprisoned, I transcended, prevailed, and lived a productive life.

From the Publisher

A book by Salinas Holocaust survivor Harold Gordon helps students in Japanese colleges and universities learn English. It’s the latest chapter in the expanding influence of “The Last Sunrise,” a self-published effort in which Gordon details how he and his father survived Hitler’s concentration camps. The author has spoken to thousands of students at high schools and universities including Stanford University, churches, synagogues and civic groups about his experiences. He has been invited to appear on motivational programs reaching millions of households. What propels the effort is not only the dramatic events of Gordon’s story but also his philosophy which emerged from those events. Though he is in his 10th decade, that distant image is but a heartbeat away. There is the pale concentration camp ID number, “B-2209.” tattooed to his forearm. The images of electrified barbed wire, of flames sparking from the chimneys of crematorium ovens, the smell of burning flesh and bone – “like when a dentist drills your tooth with a high-speed drill" – must not be forgotten. For a while, Gordon wanted nothing more than revenge. But when the war ended, he began to think differently. He decided to focus instead on building a life of which his mother would have been proud. He would get married, raise a family, have a career and grandchildren. He would write down events as he had lived them so others could see what had happened and know that his mother and his brother had walked this earth, also. HE CALLS HIS PHILOSOPHY “PUTTING HATE ON HOLD”.  He feels that if HE could stop the violence after what had been done to him, ANYONE could let go of hate and resentment, and STOP THE VIOLENCE.  

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