Yanek’s Story, a Story of Survival


The book Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz is about a boy named Yanek. He is living in Poland during the Holocaust. He overcomes many obstacles in hopes of surviving. In my opinion, the most dreadful thing that Yanek had to deal with was when he was in Auschwitz.

     The first thing that Yanek had to endure had to do with his best friend Fred. First of all, Fred became Yanek’s first friend since the war began. Yanek hadn’t had a true friend since the war since Uncle Moshe, Yanek’s uncle, told him to be no one and make no friends. Fred made Yanek feel stronger because he had someone to talk to. They ate together, slept near each other, and worked side by side. Unfortunately, Fred became sick. One morning, Fred couldn’t get out of bed, and the Nazis beat and hung him. I can’t imagine losing my best friend, especially in such a cruel way.

    Secondly, Yanek lived in horrible conditions. The floor of his barrack wasn’t even a real floor. It was a muddy swamp. Everyone slept on a wooden shelf. There were no pillows, no blankets, and no mattress. I can’t imagine living in these conditions and am grateful that I have a bed. The food, like always, was awful. They were only given a bowl of tepid soup. The prisoners had to use latrines instead of a normal bathroom. At night, they were forced to use a bucket.

Finally, Yanek was put in a death march. Everyone from Auschwitz was forced to walk to the next camp. The Nazis forced them to go in the death march because they were afraid of the Allies coming and liberating the Jews. I can’t imagine having to walk so far, especially in the cold. They were only given half a loaf of bread to last the trip. Yanek watched people fall to the ground, either from frostbite or Nazis shooting them. Yanek watched Ally planes flying overhead and dropping bombs. He wondered if they would be liberated.

In the end, Yanek had to endure so much pain. No one should ever be treated that way or suffer that much. Yanek witnessed the death of his best friend, walked endlessly for miles and miles, and lived in horrible conditions all to survive. I can’t imagine having to suffer that much. All in all, Yanek had to overcome many hardships to survive this terrible time in his life.

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