Auschwitz #34207: The Joe Rubinstein Story

Seventy years ago, Joe Rubinstein walked out of a Nazi concentration camp. Until now, his story has been hidden from the world.

Shortly before dawn on a frigid morning in Radom, Poland, German soldiers forced twenty-one year-old Icek “Joe” Rubinsztejn onto a crowded, open-air truck. The next day, several around him were dead. From there, things got worse for young Joe—much worse.

Joe arrived at Auschwitz on April 30, 1942. Only now, in his nineties, has he revealed how he survived several of the most notorious concentration camps when so many others perished. His is a remarkable narrative—a unique story of endurance and courage. Barefooted when he was seized by the Nazis, he became one of New York’s leading shoe designers.

Joe’s story bears witness to the ultimate triumph of the human spirit. While the Nazis took everything else, they were unable to take his unassailable joy. Joe’s story is one of discovering light in the darkest of places, an inspiration for us all.

From Amazon’s bestselling author of The Eighth Sea, Nancy Sprowell Geise, comes this extraordinary true-life account.

Now also available as an audiobook and multiple eBook formats!

Author:  Nancy Sprowell Geise
Publication Date:  April 21, 2015

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Nancy Sprowell Geise

Seven years ago, Holocaust survivor Joe Rubinstein told author Nancy Sprowell Geise that he would never publicly share his experiences at Auschwitz and several others of the most notorious Nazi concentration camps. Two years ago, he changed his mind. When Nancy began writing Joe’s story, she had no idea the impact it would have on her life as she immersed herself in Joe’s world and his remarkable journey of survival and triumph.

Nancy Sprowell Geise was raised in Ames, Iowa, and is a graduate of Iowa State University. She and her husband, Doran, have lived in Austin, Texas; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Topeka, Kansas. They have three grown daughters. Nancy divides her time between writing and speaking engagements. Her hilarious and moving life experiences provide great fodder for her writing and storytelling endeavors.

What Our Readers Are Saying…

“Nancy Sprowell Geise has done a remarkable job telling the story of Joe Rubinstein in Auschwitz #34207, and what a story it is. Taken from his home in Radom, Poland, Joe’s experiences in Auschwitz were delivered with unrelenting honesty. A powerful story, worth being told and retold, one of authenticity and integrity, written so very skillfully.”

Michael Berenbaum, Director, Sigi Ziering Institute and Professor of Jewish Studies, American Jewish University


“Author Nancy Geise presents this compelling story of the strength of the human spirit with extraordinary style and simplicity. Joe’s life will help us all keep the promise to ‘never forget,’ as this treasured generation of firsthand witnesses are becoming fewer in number. May this work serve to empower and inspire for generations to come.”

Katharine Teicher, Senior Adult Program Director Aaron Family Jewish Community Center Dallas


“Joe’s story demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit to not only survive but also heal from such great atrocities. This well-written book opens a window to the trauma and suffering experienced by one man that is representative of what so many individuals suffer when hate and evil rule the day. That Joe was able to live a happy and full life after what he suffered points us to the hope we can all have no matter how dire our circumstances.”

Reverend Cindy Frost, First Presbyterian Church, Fort Collins, CO


Foreword Clarion Review

“This eye-opening account of a Polish Jew’s life before, during, and after Auschwitz deposits readers right into concentration camp horrors.

“In her first nonfiction book, Auschwitz #34207, Nancy Sprowell Geise takes the oral memories and documentary traces of one Polish Jew and weaves them into a riveting first-person narrative.”

“Auschwitz #34207 will join work by Primo Levi on a shelf of classic Holocaust narratives.”

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Starred BlueInk Review

The nightmare began with a knock at the door.

Auschwitz #34207 follows (Joe) Rubinstein…his story is told in the first person, not by him but by the author, whose extensive research fleshed out the account he provided in face-to-face interviews. The resulting narration is both vivid and authentic, balancing the immediacy of his ordeal with the values that helped him survive it, imparted during a childhood that ended too soon.”

“The ranks of the witnesses to these and other atrocities are thinning. In sharing his story – with Nancy Sprowell Geise’s help – Rubinstein has made an invaluable contribution to the literature of the Holocaust.”

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Kirkus Review

A riveting, well-documented account of survival…

“Debut biographer Geise (The Eighth Sea, 2012) tells the remarkable story of Joe Rubinstein, a survivor of the Holocaust.”

“With its thorough chapter endnotes, helpful timeline, extensive research citations and suggested discussion questions, this biography may serve as an ideal teaching tool for students of the Holocaust.”

“A riveting, well-documented account of survival that’s harrowing, inspiring and unforgettable.”

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