JOSEF KATZ was 23 years old when the Nazis deported him from his home in Lübeck, Germany, to the Riga ghetto in 1941. Over the next four years Katz, like thousands of other Jews, was subjected to unrelenting brutality in internment ghettos and concentration camps. One Who Came Back is Katz’s account of the daily terror in Riga, Kaiserwald, Stutthof and numbers of smaller labor camps and of his coming through. “Every incident, every experience, every horror is exactly as it occurred,” Katz wrote in his original introduction.
Liberated in 1945 after surviving a death march to Germany, he began writing his diary in pencil in LÃ¼beck in 1946, finishing it a year later in New York where he arrived with his wife Irene, also a survivor of Riga. The diary remained in a drawer until the mid-1970s when Katz’s daughter brought it to a German professor at UCLA. Recognizing the importance of this work, written as it was in the immediate aftermath of the war, the Herzl Press published One Who Came Back in English in 1973 (in German in 1976) in collaboration with the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Press. A number of memorists and historians such Martin Gilbert (The Holocaust – The Jewish Tragedy) and Leni Yahil (The Holocaust) have referred to the book’s significance as a primary source for understanding what slave laborers endured in the Nazi camps..
This new edition revises the translation, adds a map, and includes a foreword by Herman Taube, the author of 20 books of fiction and poetry, among them, Autumn Travels, Devious Paths: New & Selected Works and Looking Back, Going Forward: New & Selected Poems(both from Dryad Press).
Joseph Katz was born in 1918. First finding employment in New York’s garment industry as a shipping clerk in 1946, Katz soon went on to establish a successful textile concern in Los Angeles. He died in 1990.