Auschwitz 34207 The Joe Rubinstein Story
by Nancy Sprowell Geise
Joe arrived at Auschwitz April 30, 1942, at the age of 21, and until now, never revealed how he survived. His is a story of love and triumph, and discovering light in the darkest of places.
- Biography, Education & Training, History, Nonfiction
- Page Length:
- 250 – 500 Pages
- Book Status:
- Completed Manuscript
“A riveting, well-documented account of survival that’s harrowing, inspiring and unforgettable.” —Kirkus Reviews
Help bring the remarkable story of Joe Rubinstein to the world (and possibly to the big screen). The latest book by author Nancy Sprowell Geise, Auschwitz 34207 (to be released nationally April 2015), has garnished rave reviews from readers, reviewers, and leading holocaust scholars. Whether you’re an individual, corporation or business, you have the opportunity to have your name forever linked, and featured, as an early supporter of this incredible story.
Interview with Nancy Sprowell Geise
Why did you write the book?
Seven years ago, holocaust survivor Joe Rubinstein said he would never publicly share his story because, in part, there were aspects of it he had never been able to bring himself to tell even his family. Two and a half years ago, he changed his mind. Thank God he did! Like Louis Zamperini in Laura Hillenbrand’s book “Unbroken,” Joe’s is a story of never giving in to despair, and one miracle after another happening to keep him alive. Stories such as these are needed now more than ever. While the Nazis took everything from Joe but his life, they were never able to take his unassailable joy. My goal in writing this story was to understand why.
During my initial interview with Joe, the first of hundreds of hours, I sensed the uniqueness of his story: surviving for so long at Auschwitz when so many other perished; what he was forced to do there; the number of different concentration camps for which he was an eye-witness; and, having lost everything, going on to become one of the most sought-after shoe designers in New York. I knew this was a story the world would want to hear and one I had to write.
What do you plan to do with the funds you raise?
Everyone who has heard Joe’s story says the same thing: this is a story the world needs to hear. My goal is to use the funds to make that happen, with every avenue possible: through public speaking; advertising; on-line marketing, and to eventually secure a movie option.
What happened the first time you interviewed Joe?
When Joe finally decided to share his story, he said he wanted to get it all our, from “A-Z.” He began with such clarity that I was reminded of the early scene in James Cameron’s 1997 version of the “Titanic” when the elderly “Rose” could still describe the smell of the fresh paint. When Joe began to tell his story, in essence, this is how he began: “It was before dawn. I was sound asleep. There was a knock at the door. I went to open it wearing only a T-shirt and pajama bottoms. Two German soldiers were there, ordering me to come with them. I told them I hadn’t done anything wrong. I needed to say goodbye to my widowed mother and my siblings. They told me I had everything I needed. Everything I needed? I walked out in my bare feet. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my mother and siblings. I never saw my family again, not even my identical twin. The Nazis put me on an open-air truck with several others with no protection from the cold. It was frigid. They left us on the truck for two days. Some of the men around me died.”
And then a shadow came over to Joe and his next words were a quick summary: “And then I was taken to Auschwitz. Then after the war, I moved to New York.” All the details were gone. I knew I was witnessing how Joe had survived; he had skipped the details in his mind.
When I began writing about Joe’s life, I had A and Z. I spent the next two and a half years trying to get the pieces in-between. Sharing them caused Joe tremendous heartbreak and pain in reliving what he had spent over 70 years trying to forget. My next book may be called, “Getting to Z,” for truly, the story behind the writing of “Auschwitz 34207” is a story in itself!
How did you meet Joe?
I was working at a retirement community in Fort Collins, Colorado. Joe and his wife Irene were our first cottage owners. A co-worker told me that Joe had lost his entire family in the holocaust. Later, I saw a small piece of Joe’s tattoo peaking out from his long sleeve (he still keeps it covered to this day). I asked him if it was from one of the concentration camps and he said, “Yes. Auschwitz.” My daughter was majoring in history at the time and I asked Joe if he would consider letting her interview him for one of her classes. And he said, “Never. I will never share my story.” I told him that was no problem, but I think it got the wheels turning in his head. Several years later, after my first book “The Eighth Sea” was published and doing really well, it further got Joe thinking. Two and a half years ago, he asked me if I would write his story. At first, I thought I might have enough for an article or a memoir for only his family, but within the first few minutes of hearing him talk, I knew this was something far more.
Nancy Sprowell Geise’s debut novel, The Eighth Sea, ranked on Amazon Best Seller List: #1 in Historical Fiction; #1 Historical Romance (free Kindle). #1 Historical Genre Literature & Fiction; #1 Religion and Spirituality Fiction (Kindle). 2012 Quarter Finalist Amazon Breakthrough Awards. Geise was raised in Ames, Iowa (Iowa State University graduate). She’s lived in Austin, TX; Ft. Collins, CO; and Topeka, KS. Nancy divides her time between writing and speaking engagements.