Roman's Journey | Granta

  • Published: 06/09/2012
  • ISBN: 9781846275067
  • Granta Books
  • 352 pages

Roman’s Journey

Roman Halter

Roman Halter is an optimistic and boisterous schoolboy in 1939 when he and his family gather behind net curtains to watch the Volksdeutsch neighbours of their small town in western Poland greeting the arrival of Hitler’s armies with kisses and swastika flags. Within days, the family home has been seized, and twelve-year-old Roman becomes a slave of the local SS chief and, returning from an errand, silently witnesses his Jewish classmates being bayoneted to death by soldiers at the edge of town. And then there begins the remarkable six-year journey through some of the darkest caverns of Nazi Europe, and the loss of every other member of his family and the 800-strong community of his boyhood. Roman tells his story with a simplicity and grace that allow his suffering and survival to speak for themselves.

A unique story told without sentimentality... This is writing after my own heart.

Aharon Appelfeld

The most remarkable man I have ever met. It is a privilege to know Roman.

Fergal Keane

No matter how many memoirs have emerged from the Holocaust, there is always room for more to cast new light on the insane gauntlet of life in the Third Reich. . . The story of Halter's months adrift in Europe following the German surrender is gripping. . . Roman's story is a compelling, compassionate and impressively literary contribution to the writing of humanity on the brink.

Toby Lichtig, Observer

The Author

Born in 1927, Roman Halter was a celebrated architect and arist. He designed the gates to Israel’s holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, and his paintings, testifying to his experiences during WW2, have been shown widely, including at Tate Britain. He died at the age of 85, in 2012.

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