Out of the Ghetto
Out of the Ghetto is the compelling, true story of Jack Klajman's childhood. Jack was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1931, as the fourth of five children, to poor, working-class Jewish parents. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, the apartment building Jack lived in was bombed, sending his family scrambling to seek food and shelter with relatives. Then, after Poland surrendered, life became even more difficult as the Jews of Warsaw found themselves closed in by ghetto walls and being starved to death. To feed his family, Jack crept through holes in the walls to get to the Aryan side of the city, where he begged for food posing as a Christian boy. Undeterred by near-death encounters with Nazi soldiers, these smuggling efforts kept his family alive until 1942, when the Germans decided to implement the 'final solution' and transport all the Jews of the ghetto to nearby extermination camps. Jack survived by staying in the hiding places of a few leaders of the ghetto underworld, who had taken him under their wing. During the Warsaw Ghetto uprising in 1943, Jack experienced both the euphoria of Jewish resistance, and the horrors of mass murder. He survived the annihilation of the ghetto first by hiding amongst dead bodies, and later fleeing through the sewers. He ended up on the streets of Warsaw, pretending to be a Christian boy, and trying to elude the authorities whenever his true identity came under suspicion. Jack made it through the war, escaping on many occasions what seemed to be certain death. His story is a powerful and dramatic affirmation that a steely desire to survive, combined with a great deal of luck and the strength and energy of youth, can overcome even the most desperate and horrific of circumstances.