HarperNonFiction has bought a “unique and poignant” memoir by Holocaust survivor Thomas Geve, told through the drawings of concentration camps he did as a boy.
Publisher Ed Faulkner negotiated a deal for world all language rights to The Boy Who Drew Auschwitz with Geve and co-writer Charlie Inglefield. Billed as a “profoundly moving true story of survival and hope”, the book will be published on 21st January 2021.
Geve was an Auschwitz, Gross Rosen and Buchenwald survivor at just 15 years old. Arriving with his mother, he spent 22 months imprisoned at these camps during the Second World War. He was subject to, and forced to observe first-hand, horrific events including the overworked gas chambers, the barbaric cruelty of the SS and the daily quest to stay alive.
HarperCollins explained: “On his release Thomas captured the daily life of the death camps in 79 chilling drawings. The book will include his testimony and a collection of his drawings of infamous scenarios that are synonymous with this dark period of history, in poignant and simplistic detail. The harrowing drawings reveal the constant dangers of being a prisoner and the humiliations inflicted on the inmates. The drawings also bring out the daily routine of camp life and how people like Thomas strived to live – all with incredible accuracy.”
Geve, whose drawings have been kept at at the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre at Yad Vashem in Israel, said: “In 1946, at the age of 16, I looked at a stack of drawings of mine which portrayed the lives of youths in German concentration camps. In 1958 I wrote the first book, for no one else had come forward to tell of those who grew up in concentration camps. I was not a famous person. I was one boy among thousands. But I had to record the truth. Now, at the age of 90, 75 years after my liberation from the camps, I am a grateful man for having my drawings and written testimony presented in this new edition. For all future generations, they will get to know the past – exactly what happened, comprehend the deep meaning of it and hopefully act accordingly to prevent the horrors of the past from re-emerging and to create a better future.”
Faulkner added: “It is a huge honour for HarperCollins to publish Thomas Geve’s deeply moving story and unique drawings of his experiences at Auschwitz, Gross Rosen and Buchenwald. As the last survivors gradually fade away, it is more important than ever that we continue to publish their stories and bring their experiences to a new generation.”
Inglefield, a writer based in Switzerland, commented: “Thomas' remarkable story came to light in the most innocuous of circumstances having read a leaflet on an exhibition held in a small Swiss expat town of Zug. This is where I first saw his name and his drawings. It has been a privilege to work with Thomas and his story must be told.”