Children's Block
Otto B Kraus

Book cover image

Narrated By: Lewys Taylor

Duration: 8 hours and 49 minutes

What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

'We lived on a bunk built for four but in times of overcrowding, it slept seven and at times even eight. There was so little space on the berth that when one of us wanted to ease his hip, we all had to turn in a tangle of legs and chests and hollow bellies as if we were one many-limbed creature, a Hindu god or a centipede. We grow intimate not only in body but also in mind because we knew that though we were not born of one womb, we would certainly die together.'

Alex Ehren is a poet, a prisoner and a teacher in block 31 in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the children’s block. He spends his days trying to survive while illegally giving lessons to his young charges while shielding them as best he can from the impossible horrors of the camp. But trying to teach the children is not the only illicit activity that Alex is involved in. Alex is keeping a diary…

Originally published as THE PAINTED WALL, Otto Kraus’s autobiographical novel, tells the true story of 500 Jewish children who lived in the Czech Family Camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau between September 1943 and June 1944.

Genre

Second World War fiction, Historical fiction, The Holocaust, Biographical fiction

Listen to a sample

‘Otto B Kraus brings together the strength of his own personal experience in the tiny barracks-school immersed in the darkness of Auschwitz with the story telling powers of an exceptional writer…He will from now on occupy the important place he deserves among writers of the twentieth century’

ANTONIO ITURBE, bestselling author of THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ

I read Ota Kraus' manuscript and am impressed. Yes, it deserves to be published.