By Sol Kotz, as told to Lisa Mishler.
(Publication Consultants. $12.95 print; $6.99 Kindle)
Sol Kotz (the “Zalman Ber” of the title) was 25 years old when he arrived in the U.S. on Oct. 29, 1946 and observed, in a wryly understated way, that he had already “lived more than a full life.” A Holocaust survivor, Kotz had suffered unspeakable barbarism at the hands of the Nazis, including the extermination of friends and family; his infant son was shot to death while Kotz held him in his arms. With nothing left to lose Kotz risked his life to escape his captors, joined forces with the partisans, and later enlisted in the Russian army. His endurance in the face of enormous odds is a testament to an indomitable human spirit. Kotz and his wife (with whom he was joyfully reunited after the war) ultimately settled in Scottsdale. His daughter, Tucson artist Lisa Mishler, grew up listening to her father’s stories and she retells them here, simply and gracefully, in a voice that that one can easily believe is authentically his own. This book is as timely as it is profoundly moving, reminding us of how dire the consequences can be when hate-filled rhetoric is allowed to take root and flourish.