The Prisoners of Breendonk Personal Histories from a World War II Concentration Camp Fort Breendonk was built in the early s to protect Antwerp Belgium from possible German invasion Damaged at the start of World War I it fell into disrepair until the Nazis took it over after th

  • Title: The Prisoners of Breendonk: Personal Histories from a World War II Concentration Camp
  • Author: James M. Deem
  • ISBN: 9780544096646
  • Page: 178
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Fort Breendonk was built in the early 1900s to protect Antwerp, Belgium, from possible German invasion Damaged at the start of World War I, it fell into disrepair until the Nazis took it over after their invasion of Belgium in 1940 Never designated an official concentration camp by the SS and instead labeled a reception camp where prisoners were held until they wFort Breendonk was built in the early 1900s to protect Antwerp, Belgium, from possible German invasion Damaged at the start of World War I, it fell into disrepair until the Nazis took it over after their invasion of Belgium in 1940 Never designated an official concentration camp by the SS and instead labeled a reception camp where prisoners were held until they were either released or transported, Breendonk was no less brutal About 3,600 prisoners were held there just over half of them survived As one prisoner put it, I would prefer to spend nineteen months at Buchenwald than nineteen days at Breendonk With access to the camp and its archives and with rare photos and artwork, James M Deem pieces together the story of the camp by telling the stories of its victims Jews, communists, resistance fighters, and common criminals for the first time in an English language publication Leon Nolis s haunting photography of the camp today accompanies the wide range of archival images The story of Breendonk is one you will never forget.

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    One thought on “The Prisoners of Breendonk: Personal Histories from a World War II Concentration Camp”

    1. More reviews at Mrs. ReaderPantsVIEW: I had to read this one in small chunks because it is so sad and horrible what happened to the prisoners at Breendonk. I toggled my reading with a fantasy romance, which I think helped me get as far as I did in the book. Like the author, I had also not previously heard of Breendonk. It is not as famous as, say, Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen or Dachau. The stories are well-written and emotional, and reading about Breendonk will take its toll. This is not a happy [...]

    2. James M. Deem seems to have a knack for finding interesting topics in history, exploring them, and explaining them in an easily digestible manner. With The Prisoners of Breendonk, he's uncovered a piece of World War II history that I'm quite certain few are familiar with. I wasn't until I found this book. Though not a concentration camp, Breendonk saw just as much horror and human atrocity as some other well-known locations. Deem manages to give voice to some of the prisoners through meticulous [...]

    3. This is a very well researched book about a Nazi prisoner camp in Belgium that most people have never heard of. There are lots of photographs and drawings (from prisoners) and although some of the information is a bit sketchy, the reader can get a real feel for what it must have been like to imprisoned there. One of the things that really stood out to me was the emphasis on how some of the Jewish prisoners turned on their fellow inmates and became informants and enforcers for the Nazis. A harsh [...]

    4. Het is lang geleden dat ik nog eens een boek uitgelezen heb op één dag, zeker eentje van dit formaat. Dit boek geeft vrij letterlijk wat het belooft: persoonlijke verhalen van mensen die tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog op een bepaald moment in Breendonk zaten, als gevangene of als kampbewaker. Het lijkt me overbodig te zeggen dat het boek geen opbeurende verhalenbundel is. Het is zelfs amper te geloven dat dit geen fictiewerk is. De verhalen zijn zo met momenten zo gruwelijk en onmenselijk dat [...]

    5. Op basis van grondig onderzoek schetst de auteur een gedetailleerd verslag van het concentratiekamp te Breendonk. De waarheidsgetrouwe weergave van de dagdagelijkse gruwelpraktijken, mishandelingen, folteringen en moorden grijpt naar de keel.De samenhang met de rol van de Dossin kazerne te Mechelen als verzamelkamp wordt evenzeer toegelicht.Een verhelderende blik op een onderbelicht stukje WWII-geschiedenis.

    6. This is a very well researched book that is not fun to read but is good to read. I don't think many of us think or know of concentration camps in Belgium but this book tells us that there were terrible atrocities there too. The use of personal case histories makes the horror more real. Congratulations to Jim Deem for an excellent book.

    7. This book was sad. It was sad because it described in detail what the people did but it taught you history, unforgettable history. The history of W.W.2. I love this book because it gives pictures that some historical books wont give you. I recommend.

    8. Welcome to Breendonk. This space was originally named Fort Breendonk and was constructed before WWI to help protect against German attacks. The Nazi’s took over the area in 1940 and it was never officially considered a concentration camp, even though its treatment of its prisoners was harsh and severe. Breendonk was labeled a “reception” camp where they held their prisoners until they could move them to a different location. I have read quite a few books about this time period and I didn [...]

    9. This review was originally posted at A Simple Cup of Tea.I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Content warning: This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of violence.This book is quite a way away from my usual fiction reading. When I saw it on NetGalley however I just had to request it because as a Belgian teenager I went to Breendonk with school whil [...]

    10. The more I read about the Holocaust, the less I know. There are piles of books in my library, fiction and non—they all point me to the forgotten moments, the unseen suffering, the unnamed heroes. And so it goes with the book THE PRISONERS OF BREENDONK: a passionate book thoroughly researched, strongly written.I feel hidden from the world. My grandfather, my heritage, comes from Belgium, yet I have never heard of this concentration camp just north of Brussels, guarding the south borders of Antw [...]

    11. While reading, my primary struggle was trying to keep track of all the different characters we meet in this story. There's a ton, roughly, all with interesting snippets of backstories, tantalizing moments in the prison, but relatively few with complete histories. The author did a wonderful job of piecing together what information he had, there was just a lot of it. After reading, my primary struggle was wondering what happened to the daughter of Louis De Houwer and Charlotte Hamburger. As the st [...]

    12. THE PRISONERS OF BREENDONK by James M. Deem tells the compelling, personal stories associated with a lesser-known concentration camp during World War II.Located in Belgium, the internment camp held both Jewish and non-Jewish prisoners who were political dissidents or accused of resistance activities. Occupied from 1940 through 1944, it was also used as a transit camp for Jews on their way to death camps in Germany and Poland. The prisoners were subjected to forced labor and lived under the const [...]

    13. The Prisoners of Breendonk: Personal Histories from a World War II Concentration Camp by James M. Deem is an intriguing and detailed look at a little-known concentration camp in Belgium. Deem has provided us with intensive and painstaking research into the atrocities that were committed there, such as guards putting out cigarettes on prisoners' backs, and the lives, both before, during, and after their imprisonment, of the victims that were subjected to the misery of Breendonk. This book will de [...]

    14. This is an emotionally draining book in a way that some others in this genre aren't, but I don't know if I can pinpoint exactly what made me so sad in finishing it. Clearly Deem has done mountains of research and as he explained, knew little about Breendonk until he actually set foot there and then delved into their archives to bring this book to fruition. He both explains terminology and shares personal stories from those at Breendonk. And it's the full picture that he presents including the wa [...]

    15. I have done quite a bit of reading on WWII, but had never heard of this camp. It's a very good introduction to not only this camp but also SS-Sammellager Mechelen. It's a rough read, but Deem handled it delicately enough for older children. You'll see the evil and suffering that the Nazi's brought to Belgium. It's not just a history, with a list of dates, names or places, but more glimpses of life from a series of the inmates. Where possible, Deem uses the records left by survivors, but some pla [...]

    16. This book was about what a certain concentration camp named Breendonk was like for prisoners and how they were treated. This book follows the life of some prisoners and talks about how the guards were treating them and who they were. This has many positive aspects like it gives details and has personal accounts and that it tells what happened after to he fort and the people. The one negative aspect of this book is that it may be too violent and detailed for younger viewers. The setting is Breedo [...]

    17. An interesting tale about a largely unknown Belgium concentration camp. It is endlessly mindboggling the horrors that one human can inflict on another.While this was a well-written, informative text, I'm not sure why it was in the young adult section of my public library. Nothing about it seemed particularly geared towards teens - writing style, language, characters' ages. Additionally, there are TONS of characters - so many that I, a pretty skilled reader, couldn't keep track. I think most youn [...]

    18. I am fascinated with World War II and this was unlike any book I have read on the topic. It concentrates on one place-a concentration camp in Belgium, and it gives an interesting perspective to that country. Usually when I read about a concentration camp the book follows one person, but this book stayed at Breendonk and the people came and went throughout the book and the cruelties that were exacted in just this one place (knowing it was one of many) were overwhelming. This is obviously not a fu [...]

    19. Dit boek is echt zijn 5 sterren waard eigenlijk beschamend dat een Amerikaan dit moet neerzetten maar anderzijds ook een teken wat voor een impact wat 'Breendonk' nalaat. Het boek beschrijft heel gedetailleerd hoe het er in dit 'concentratiekamp' wat het echter nooit is geweest aan toe gaat.Wat me heel erg bijblijft zijn de woorden die een SSer spreekt als gedeporteerden uit 'Breendonk' aankomen in een 'echt' concentratiekamp; "Hoe krijgen deze belgen dat voor elkaar ? ".Dit boek hoort thuis op [...]

    20. This book was set up a bit differently but I really liked the many stories of the people. I think the constantly changing cast of characters was more true to how it was. I had never heard of Breendonk and while it was small in the scale of camps it was no less horrific. Reading the afterword also made me realize how little we knew about some of the people, how little their families would have found out after the war and how few actually survived. I think was the most difficult part to read for m [...]

    21. Deem relates the history of this camp in Belgium using the stories of men and women that were imprisoned there. Readers find out about the actual reasons for confinement, horrific conditions, and aftermath of these individuals. An informative read centered around personal stories.

    22. Survivor stories and moreThis book was informative and the first-hand accounts are what are now sorely lacking since so much time has gone by and so few lived to tell their stories. I appreciate all the effort that went into the book.

    23. I thought the pictures of Breendonk were haunting and very well done. I thought the testimonials were amazing since very few people went through there compared to some of the more well known concentration camps.I felt bored by middle had to give myself a break.

    24. I've always been attracted to books about WWII. This is an excellent non-fiction for young adults. While there are descriptions of torture endured by the prisoners, I don't feel it is too graphic. This would pair well with The Hiding Place (Corrie Ten Boom) or similar.

    25. This book was an amazing read. It taught me so much that I did not know about the concentration camps. The first hand examples and testimonies really added a lot to the book and I enjoyed it very much.

    26. Angstaanjagend verhaal van de gevangenen van Breendonk. Prachtige uitgave, vooral met de tekeningen van Jacques Och.

    27. Great, quick read. I hadn't heard of this camp, I'm glad these people have been given and voice and their stories told.

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