Remember Your Name

Non-Fiction - Historical
214 Pages
Reviewed on 03/01/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Teresa Syms for Readers' Favorite

Remember Your Name, by Erik G LeMoullec, relates the life story of Teddy Znamirowski and his family before and during the German occupation of Poland. Hayden, the great-granddaughter of Teddy, and her parents are on their way to celebrate Teddy’s eighty-fourth birthday. During the car ride, Hayden asks her father why Teddy speaks the way he does. This triggers a time when Hayden’s father asked Teddy the same question. This book tells of the atrocities, hatred, and horrors that Teddy, his family, and the Jewish people experienced during the war. Teddy and his family were transported into the ghetto of Lodz at the age of ten, then after a few years were transported by cattle car to Auschwitz. It was at this time Teddy lost everyone except Kwart, a friend and former neighbor. The two kept each other alive. After surviving the death march to Görlitz concentration camp, Teddy and Kwart, along with other prisoners were finally liberated. Teddy is recruited by the Bricha and becomes one of their lead operatives. He smuggles survivors across Russian, German and Polish borders; he is arrested many times but always set free because of his connection to the Bricha. Finally, Teddy is unable to continue his work and asks them to send him to Palestine. He wants an education, to have a family, and make a life for himself. What he does not know until later is who his wife truly is and what his connection to her was during the war. As horrific as the inhumanity of this story is, LeMoullec has captured the truly human side of surviving one of history's darkest times.

Remember Your Name by Erik G LeMoullec is a powerful story everyone should read. I fell into the story and did not come up for air until I was finished reading. I found myself trapped in the story with Teddy. The writing is so captivating, emotional, and heart-breaking that tears came to my eyes. This story is so well written, the reader will feel everything Teddy feels, hear and see what he does, and your heart will break at the horrific injustice of what happened to the people sent into the concentration camps. Auschwitz was brought to life in this book. The reader will go with Teddy into the pigsty as he searches for food, or into one of the trucks he drove across the borders when he worked for the Bricha. This is the most moving story I have read for many years. LeMoullec is brilliant in storytelling. He brought his characters and his locations to life while giving the reader a brief glimpse of what existing within Auschwitz must have been like for the prisoners. The reader will not be able to set this book down. It is exceptional.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

Erik G. LeMoullec pens an exceptional memoir in, Remember Your Name. Stuck in traffic on the way to celebrate his grandfather’s birthday, Erik’s daughter, Hayden, asks him a question about her great-grandfather. A question he had asked many years ago. “Why does Saba talk like that?” Erik had spent a lot of time with Saba when he was younger. During their time together, Saba shared stories of his life. Growing up wasn’t easy for Saba. Glancing into the rearview mirror at his daughter, Erik begins to tell the story of Teddy. Teddy was a young Jewish boy living in Lodz, Poland. Nine-year-old Teddy played with his friends, went to school, life was full and enjoyable. Then the Germans marched into Lodz. Suddenly, everything changed! Evicted from their home, forced to live in the ghetto, Teddy and his family endured unbearable anti-Semitic treatment. During deportation, Teddy is separated from his family and transported to Auschwitz. At thirteen, held captive in a brutal never-ending nightmare, Teddy lived every moment in the shadow of death. How does one survive such sorrow, such fear, such hatred? You “Remember Your Name.”

Remember Your Name by Erik G. LeMoullec is an emotionally gripping story of survival. LeMoullec powerfully shares the story of his grandfather growing from a boy to a man during the Holocaust. His words paint vivid scenes of terror and incomprehensible hardship. The revelations are hand-over-your-mouth, tearful images of cruelty. However, and most importantly, the memoir reveals the bravery and the sheer will to survive. I was unable to put it down; the narrative compels you to keep reading. Erik’s grandfather reached beyond his youth and personal tragedy and made it meaningful by helping others escape against all odds to freedom. His greatest desire was for his story to help prevent history from repeating itself. Therefore, the narrative is written with profound intention. Erik’s Remember Your Name takes on you a dark and horrendous journey through time, yet leaves you with reverberating, irrevocable hope.

Tiffany Ferrell

In Remember Your Name, we are introduced to the narrator who is taking a trip to see his father with his wife and daughter. During this road trip, he tells his daughter the story of her great-grandfather. It was 1939 in Łódź, Poland, and Teddy’s life was about to change forever. Germany had just invaded Poland and immediately began imposing cruel laws on the Jewish people in the city. Teddy and his family are forced from their home and pushed into the closed ghetto where starvation and horrible living conditions killed off many Jewish families. Then the deportations began. After losing his mother and both his sisters, his father was taken, leaving him alone. Taken in by his neighbor Kwart, he and his family were all that Teddy had left. Two years later, he and Kwart’s family are taken to Auschwitz where it became very clear what was happening to his people. Struggling to survive, Teddy endures and somehow survives to tell the story which is then told to his great-granddaughter.

This memoir really touched my soul. You read in history books what happened during the Holocaust, but it’s from a historian's point of view. In Remember Your Name, we are given a personal account of what happened in Poland during that time and the true horrors that occurred. Erik G LeMoullec tells the real-life story of what his grandfather endured during World War II. Reading the book I had a feeling that it was based on a real person but didn’t know for sure until I read the about the author section at the end of the novel. LeMoullec has done such a wonderful job of telling his grandfather's story. It’s definitely stuck in my mind just like all the other first-hand accounts that I have read. I commend him for sharing his grandfather's story, especially now when there are so many people out there who don’t even know what the Holocaust was. It’s a vital part of history and stories like Remember Your Name help to keep that history fresh in our minds. I look forward to reading more of LeMoullec’s works.