Theodore H. Lehman
Theodore H. Lehman was born in Poland, and when the Nazis invaded the country in 1939, he was 12 years old. He lived under Nazi rule and then in concentration camps for the next 6 years. He learned heroism as he learned life. Defying Odds is a compelling autobiographical novel about his experiences as a teenage Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz who was sent into the SS slave labor system. This moving story narrates his life in concentration camps and as a laborer in Krupp’s Berthawerk artillery factory, as he learned to survive constant SS death threats. He spend his teenage years clinging to life even as the last of his family was sent to the gas chambers. Instead of having a Bar Mitzvah and parties, he was navigating his way through Nazi cruelty, ultimately to survive and escape.
Lehman is a first time novelist, who has written one of the most powerful accounts of the slave labor system in Nazi Germany. Lehman has a secure sense of story telling, building vivid characters in a narrative style seldom seen. The novel leaves the reader wanting to read more about this story of courage.
This autobiographical novel narrates the experiences of David, the boy, subject to the dehumanization of transport trains, concentration camp life, and work as a slave laborer. Ted Lehman’s shows how the Nazi demonization of Jews demoralizes Jew and non-Jew alike.
Lehman escaped from the last concentration camp where he was held and after walking 6 weeks by night and hiding in the daytime, he reached the American lines and was rescued. For the next two years he worked with the U.S. Army and was brought to Milwaukee when his Army unit came home.
Although he did not complete elementary school because Nazis did not allow Jewish children to go to school, he studied and graduated from college in the U.S. and went on to graduate school at Columbia University. After a career on Wall Street he was contacted by a German War Crimes Commission about deaths in one of the concentraton camps, and he agreed to give testimony. Reliving that experience through the detailed questioning brought back the flood of memories that he had repressed for so long. He decided to write and begin the story that is Defying Odds, his autobiographical novel about his experiences in the camps.
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