Prisoner B-3087 by Alan Gratz

Prisoner B-3087 - Alan Gratz
As I walked the empty streets of Podgórze, my chest felt heavy. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I hadn’t been gone long, and the last few years I had lived here had been a nightmare, but what I remembered wasn’t the snow shoveling and the shootings and the starvation. I remembered walking to the market with my mother. Visiting my father at work. Playing ball in the street with my friends. This neighborhood had been my home once, and it always would be, even after the “taint” of Jews had been scrubbed away.


Look, I don't cry to movies, books, songs, or whatever. That's not me. I can probably count the times I've really cried to a book on my fingers. I'm not heartless in any way. It's just that I don't cry. I wanted to when watching Bambi, Find Nemo, and other movies. But I rarely cry. Even when I was a little kid I didn't cry to movies. But, I remember in eight grade, when we learned about WWII and the holocaust, I would lie in bed each night one the days we learned about these two, and feel hollow. If I didn't feel hollow, I felt rage. If I didn't felt rage, I felt helpless. And, some nights, I'd cry. Ever since I can't read, see or hear about these events and not feel all these emotions all over.

Prisoner B-3087 was a very emotional read for me, as you understand. Our protagonist, Yanek, is only a boy when he's taken from his home in Polen, and he's already lost most of his family when it happens. Over the following years he's transported between 10 concentration camps, each worse than the other. There are different terrors in each of these. Officers, wives, other prisoners... there's something distinguishing each camp. And Yanek is determined to survive as the last of his family. That's it. He's supposed to survive. And we're brought along on his long, hard, terrifying journey. 

This story is written for younger young adults, and is therefore not much for the more horrendous details. I read another reviews saying Prisoner B-3087 is nothing out of the ordinar and that this story has been told before. Is it okay if I call bullshit on this one? Because yes, there are stories similar to this one. Maybe there's a reason for that too... But saying these stories are more or less all the same is like saying all depressed people feel the same. And, as someone who's been just that, I find such statement offensive. All of the stories, are to me, unique, because that's what humans are. We're unique. And even if there are similar stories as this one, they're still good. Well, terrible considering the topic, but you know, good books. Prisoner B-3087 offers insight on the treatment on the Jews/Polish, the town Yanek comes from, and his relations to the other prisoners. So no, this story is not "ordinary" and have "been told before". It's a story with great details and insight. Well worth reading!