My Father's Testament

Memoir of a Jewish Teenager, 1938-1945

Edward Gastfriend
Book Cover

PB: $31.95
EAN: 978-1-56639-735-3
Publication: Dec 99

HC: $66.50
EAN: 978-1-56639-734-6
Publication: Dec 99

187 pages
5.5 x 8.25
2 figs., 5 halftones, 2 maps

An intimate account of the life of a Jewish boy during the Holocaust

Read an excerpt (pdf).


This first-person account, by the youngest of eight children of a pious Jewish family from Sosnowiec in Poland, is remarkable for the faith shown by a teenager faced with the horrifying realities of the Holocaust. Edward Gastfriend, known as Lolek as a boy, remembers in heart-wrenching detail, the seven years he survived in German-occupied Poland.

My Father's Testament is an intimate portrait of a teenage boy trying to stay alive without losing his humanity—in hiding, in the camps, and during the death marches at the end of the war. It will engage readers interested in the study of history, the Holocaust, and religion.

Embedded in this unique memoir are two other stories of fathers and sons. One lies in the moving Foreword by David R. Gastfriend, Edward's son, now a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School. The other lies in Björn Krondorfer's Afterword. Years after he met Ed Gastfriend, Krondorfer was startled to hear his father mention Blechhammer as one of the places he was stationed as a young German soldier. Blechhammer was where Lolek was held in a slave labor camp. The coincidence led this German father and son to travel back to the site to confront the Holocaust.


"My Father's Testament is a remarkable Holocaust memoir, written in a style of Biblical simplicity that evokes a child's voice of family love and kinship brutally interrupted, and an incredible determination to survive and retain, in adulthood, the ethical imperatives of his parental home. An altogether riveting and memorable narrative."
Chaim Potok

"My Father's Testament will interest scholars concerned with both the complex process of how one comes to bear testimony and the often conflicted relationship between father and son in times of crisis."Judaism

Table of Contents

Foreword – David R. Gastfriend, M.D. Preface – Björn Krondorfer Acknowledgments – Edward Gastfriend My Father's Testament: Memoir of a Jewish Teenager, 1938-1945 Photos Afterword – Björn Krondorfer

About the Author(s)

Edward Gastfriend and Björn Krondofer are active in Holocaust education. Chairman of the Jewish Holocaust Survivors in Philadelphia, Gastfriend spearheaded a project to memorialize the millions who perished during the Holocaust. Krondorfer, who teaches in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department as St. Mary's College of Maryland, is the author of several books, including Remembrance and Reconciliation: Encounters Between Young Jews and Germans.