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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

The Apprentice of Buchenwald

Oren Schneider

Alexander Rosenberg was a smart and curious teenager who spoke many languages, collected stamps, played the violin, and lived a pampered life with his affluent parents in a tranquil Czechoslovakian town. The rise of fascism and Nazi Germany causes his protected existence to collapse, alongside the illusion of secular Jewish assimilation in 1930s Europe.

Using their last reserves of wealth and influence to escape extermination, the Rosenbergs go underground to avoid the Gestapo. Eventually exposed, captured, and taken to Buchenwald, the largest concentration camp in Germany, Alexander and his father collaborate to survive one day at a time. A chaotic chain of events puts young Alexander at the heart of a massive armament sabotage scheme. When his father is gravely injured and disappears after an air bombing, it is up to industrious Alexander to create leverage and use wartime machinations and raw talent to save his father's life.

This universal, true story of inner strength, resourcefulness and optimism was documented and written by Alexander's grandson, Oren Schneider. It is dedicated to brave people everywhere who choose not to give up.

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