Prisoner B-3087

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Prisoner B-3087
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
March 01, 2013
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Survive. At any cost.

10 concentration camps.

10 different places where you are starved, tortured, and worked mercilessly.

It's something no one could imagine surviving.

But it is what Yanek Gruener has to face.

As a Jewish boy in 1930s Poland, Yanek is at the mercy of the Nazis who have taken over. Everything he has, and everyone he loves, have been snatched brutally from him. And then Yanek himself is taken prisoner -- his arm tattooed with the words PRISONER B-3087.

He is forced from one nightmarish concentration camp to another, as World War II rages all around him. He encounters evil he could have never imagined, but also sees surprising glimpses of hope amid the horror. He just barely escapes death, only to confront it again seconds later.

Can Yanek make it through the terror without losing his hope, his will -- and, most of all, his sense of who he really is inside?

Based on an astonishing true story.

Editor reviews

2 reviews
Excellent Holocaust Story
Overall rating
Writing Style
Yanek's family is living in Krakow when the Germans invade. They, like most other people, thought that the Germans would be quickly turned away. When neighbors start being taken from their building, the entire family moves to a pigeon coop on the roof, where they manage to evade the Nazis, but not for long. Eventually, Yanek's entire family is taken away, and he is taken to ten concentraion camps over a six year period, when he is between the ages of 10 and 16. For a while, he is in a camp with an uncle, but he is soon killed. The uncle had cautioned him to take care of himself first so that he could survive, and Yanek takes this to heart. He works hard, keeps his head low, and survives evil kapos, starvation, death marches, working in the salt mines, and ten camps, including Aushwitz, Birkenau and Dachau. When the Americans finally liberate the camps, he finds a cousin who has survives and applies to go to
Good Points
Gratz does excellent historical fiction, and this novelized version of Gruener's life has a wealth of sobering details. From run-ins with people like Mengele, to descriptions of celebrating bar mitzvah's under Nazi rule (even one in a camp), to a harrowing description of him trying to save another boy on a death march, this is an excellent addition to the body of young adult holocaust books. It points out the abject horrors of war but overlays this with Yanek's absolute insistence on his own survivor. Superb.
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Terrifyingly Account of the Horrors of the Holocaust
Overall rating
Writing Style
"If I had known what the next six years of my life would have been like, I would have eaten more." Yanek's, the narrator of Prisoner B-3087, words reverberate throughout the novel.

Prisoner B-3087 is a realistic description of life and death for the Jewish people during the Holocaust. It is based, to a certain degree, on the true story of Jack Gruener, though it is a novelization. It is historical fiction set in Poland 1939-1945.

While being realistic enough to impress the horrors of the young Yanek's ordeal, it isn't too graphic that it would be unsuitable for upper middle school and high school students.

Yanek is only 10 years old when Hitler's armies begin to invade Europe. He is kind -hearted and optimistic. His matter of fact narration allows the reader to experience his emotions without getting too caught up in tons of description. The simple account of the deplorable treatment of the Jewish people allows readers to get to the heart of the story.

Yeanke's survival through so many different camps is amazing and makes this book different from other Holocaust survivers' stories. The descriptions of each camp allows readers to see the vast network the Nazi Party created and how each camp and prisoner sometime had different experiences. Yanek's never ending fight to survive each camp urges the reader to keep turning the page. Readers will not want to put this book down.

Prisoner B 3087 does not go into the graphic depth describing the horrors of the camp, nor does it address many other key points about the time period. To some this may leave a feeling that the story is lacking. However this overall look at one man's fight for survival allows readers to question humanity and history. This will hopefully lead readers to fin other books and do research on their own. Overall a great read for middle school, high school and history buffs. A truly compelling read.
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