The Magician of Auschwitz

  • Illustrated By: Gillian Newland
  • Pages:32
  • Publisher:Second Story Press
  • Themes:Jewish children Holocaust, Jewish magician Holocaust, surviving concentration camp, Holocaust true story
  • Available:09/05/2014
  • Age Groups:NF Picture Book
Magic can be found in the darkest of places... It is the time of the Second World War, and Werner is a boy alone in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Separated from his family, he doesn’t have a friend in the world. He shares his bunk with a quiet man named Herr Levin, who seems too gentle for this terrible place. One night Werner is woken by the sound of prison guards yelling. But it’s not Werner they want, it’s Herr Levin. “Do your magic!” they order him. Magic? In Auschwitz? Werner never expected to meet a magician in such a sad and frightening place. Nor did he expect that his life could be changed, not just by Herr Levin’s gift of magic, but by his gifts of hope and friendship. Includes a special section, with photographs, about the real-life Werner and the Great Nivelli.

"A moving Holocaust story for younger readers about a young boy sent to Auschwitz and befriended by a magician… a poignant, inspiring story of friendship, hope and survival."

– Kirkus Reviews

"Kacer (the Holocaust Remembrance series) presents a true tale about children and the Holocaust... Like Kacer’s previous books, this story is infused with hope and a message about human capacity for good in the face of evil."

– Publisher's Weekly

"The Magician of Auschwitz tells of friendship in the face of terrible conditions. It is a wonderful springboard for discussion about the Second World War and the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and should be considered an essential purchase for every public and school library."

– Quill & Quire

"Author of over a dozen books chronicling a variety of Holocaust stories, Kacer delivers this piece of history in picture book format. The result is simple, beautifully moving and gently informative... Gillian Newland evocatively illustrates the book in charcoal and sepia tones."

– Readerly, National Reading Campaign

"There is a need to continue to shine a spotlight on the past. The challenge for any writer telling children about this horrific time is balance... truth without all the terrifying details. Kathy Kacer rises to this challenge and knows how important it is that children learn about this tragic time in history. She manages the daunting task to not glorify, sensationalize or sugarcoat all the facts."

– CM Magazine

"The Magician of Auschwitz is an important book of accepting hope wherever possible in the most hopeless of situations and from the most surprising of sources."

– CanLit for Little Canadians blog

"In her first picture book, Kathy Kacer has written a gripping account of survival and hope during one of the darkest times in history. One cannot help but be moved by Levin's gift of magic and friendship that transforms the days of a lonely boy who, in turn, retains a lifelong love of magic."

– Canadian Children's Book News

"The dark brooding illustrations aptly evoke the darkness and inhumanity of the setting.... This is an excellent tale to teach children about the horrors of the Holocaust."

– Resource Links

"It’s hard to know how and when to introduce the story of the Holocaust to young children… [The Magician of Auschwitz] is a good introductory piece with a compelling true story. This is a fine book, well designed and written for such a young age group."

– The San Francisco Book Review

"...wonderfully expressive."

– Jewish Book World

"...a needed addition to anyone's library and anyone, no matter how old or how young, can take something to heart from this wonderful book."

– Kutztown University Book Review
Bank Street College's "Best Children's Books of the Year" (Historical Fiction)   | 2015  |  Commended
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award - Picture Book   | 2015  |  Winner
Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2015)   | 2015  |  Commended
Rocky Mountain Book Award   | 2016  |  Short-listed
Ontario Library Association Golden Oak Award   | 2016  |  Short-listed