Recently I have been reading Prisoner B-3087 written by Alan Gratz. Prisoner B-3087 was based off a true story and published on March 1, 2013. Alan has also written books such as the Code of Honor which was recently published last August. The novel was 272 pages long.
Yanek, was an 11 year old Jewish boy living in Krakow Poland. Yanek was very passionate about his neighborhood, family, friends and way of lifestyle. Germany slowly invades Poland, and Nazis made their way into Krakow where the city was divided between the “Jewish ghetto” and the normal city. Life inside the ghetto was more strict to Yanek and his family. Curfews were set into effect and many daily routines were ruined. Living conditions were poor and cramped. The Gruener family feared being separated from each other and taken to concentration camps. The Gruener’s fears one day became a reality when Yanek’s parents and neighbors were loaded on trucks and taken to the “unknow”. For a long period of time, Yanek spent the age of 10/11 still in the ghetto in Krakow before being taken away himself. Yanek was first taken by Nazis to the Plazsow concentration camp where his only goal was to stay alive. Yanek was reunited with his Uncle Moshe who died shortly after their reunion. Over the years, he was transfered to 10 concentration camps. The Nazis made life a crual “game” inside each concentration camp for the prisoners. The few friends Yanek made were only with him for a short while before being transfered and gone forever. Being transported from one area to another was either a “Death March” or a train car packed with people with no room to move. As World War II died down, the concentration camps were less packed with prisoners. In the year that Yanek was 16, the war ended. Overnight explosions rained down on the camps. When morning came, the prisoners found no SS guards, and no Nazis outside their barracks. Instead, US soldiers appeared at the front gates. Yanek’s fellow prisoners cried out in relief as the US soldiers guided them into trucks to be taken to Munich Germany. The sight of bread and a toothbrush in Munich was too much for Yanek to handle. After Yanek found out his cousin, Youzek, was in refuge in Munich, he went to see him right away. Having family left was an amazing feeling for Yanek. That’s when Youzek influenced Yanek to obtain an American citizenship and pursue a movie career in the United States. Yanek Gruener then turned to Jack Gruener when his citizenship was accepted about a year later.
The genre of Prisoner B-3087 is fiction. The climax of the plot is right after Yanek arrives at the first concentration camp. I’d compare this Author to Lauren Tarshis, who was the author of the “I Survived” series.
I choose to read Prisoner B-3087 because I heard of the title and heard the book was a good read. The Quoted Passage I included in my Letter Essay is when Yanek’s only companion, Fred, is too weak to work and is then taken away by the Nazis:
Fred wasn’t better the next day. He was worse. He couldn’t even get out of bed. “Fred, you have to get up,” I told him. “You have to move, the kapo will come for you soon!” “No,” Fred moaned. “No, Yanek. Go. You have to. Go.” “What’s this? What’s going on?” an angry voice demanded. It was our barrack kapo. He pushed me aside and poked Fred with his club. “Get up. Time for roll call.” “He can’t,” I told the kapo. “He’s sick.” The kapo struck me with his club, sending me to the floor. I put my hand to my ear and felt blood. “Get up!” the kapo told Fred again. He hit him with the club, and Fred moaned. I stood up and was about to grab the kapo to try and stop him, but another prisoner took me by the arm. “Come away,” he whispered. “Come away, boy.” The kapo hit Fred again, and again. “Fred!” I yelled. “Get to roll call, or you’ll get a beating!” the kapo threatened me. – Page 161
I choose to include this passage in my Letter Essay because it resembles how strong Yanek felt for one of his only friends in the concentration camps. I would rate Prisoner B-3087 an 8/10.
– Michael Farnen: April 1st 2016