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ADOLFO KAMINSKY A FORGER’S LIFE: A Memoir ~Sarah Kaminsky (Translated by Mike Mitchell)

“Already published in six languages to a global audience, ADOLFO KAMINSKY A FORGER’S LIFE, critics have called it riveting, thrilling, precise and touching, written like one of the best spy novels, and one of the most captivating books of the year.”(From publicity sheet – Meryl Zegarek Public Relations, Inc.  www.mzpr.com )

Imagine a young boy, a Russian Jew exiled to Argentina and now immigrating to France with his family as the Nazi regime is taking over the countryside.  The boy is allowed some time to attend school and he becomes fascinated with chemistry – helped by a Pharmacist he is able to study and learn.  Then his mother dies, and he must go to work as a dyer (coloring fabric) and here he learns even more chemistry.  The family is rounded up and confined but their Argentinian paperwork keeps them from being shipped to the death camps.  Adolfo Kaminsky is now sixteen and alone and as he finds his way he is brought into the resistance movement and learns how to forge papers and passports.  He learns how to create the machines they need to print the documents and how to age and distress the paper and the forms.

He is also learning photography and development of film.  He worked underground with a team and is meticulous about not being followed and remained invisible.  He was never arrested over his career though he did have to dash away a number of times and move his point of operations many times.  He would not take any money for his efforts and work – never paid.  He was always inventing and selling his photographs as a front to keep going.   He created paperwork for the homeless concentration camps survivors to enter Palestine and create settlements.  When WWII was over his efforts continued for the next thirty years to help all oppressed people, including the Algerian Freedom Fighters even Pacifists in the United States during the Viet Nam War.

Sarah Kaminsky, the youngest daughter, listened to her father dictate this story when he was nearly 80 years old.  They as a team were able to meet and interview many of the people who were part of the story.  When the book was published, the team of father and daughter began to speak at schools and tell the story to young people who were the same age as the young boy who taught himself chemistry and learned how to forge all the paperwork.  This is a riveting story of a non-violent hero of a huge war and a self-effacing, creative voice for the oppressed.  It is a best seller in eleven countries and is now translated into English.

“Sarah Kaminsky (b.1979 in Sidi M’hamed, Algeria) is a French actor, screenwriter and author.  She was three years old when she immigrated to France with her father Adolfo, who is of Russian Jewish origins, carrying an Argentinean passport, and with her mother Lei..la, a Tuareg Algerian.  Sarah Kaminsky is currently employed as a screenwriter at several production companies in France.  She lives in Paris.”

“Mike Mitchell (b. Rochdale, England) has been active as a translator from German-English and French-English for over thirty years.  He is the recipient of the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for translations of German works published in Britain, has won the British Comparative Literature Association translation competition three times, and has been shortlisted for numerous other awards.  In 2012 the Austrian Ministry of Education, Art and Culture awarded him a lifetime achievement award as a translator of literary works.  He lives in Scotland.”

This book was a remarkable read and on the top of my list to share with others.

Related
Gone to Soldiers
Autumn in Oxford
The Boys in the Boat
Sarah Kaminsky TED Talk
Sarah Kaminsky Wikipedia

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2 Responses to “ADOLFO KAMINSKY A FORGER’S LIFE: A Memoir ~Sarah Kaminsky (Translated by Mike Mitchell)”

  1. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia — “…a riveting story of a non-violent hero of a huge war and a self-effacing, creative voice for the oppressed.”

    Definitely MY kind of book. Thank you for review it here. I’ve added it to my must-read list.

    Patricia Reply:

    Fabulous Book – Laurie I think you will very much enjoy this book