Author: Mike Otterman
Inmate 1818 and Other Stories was edited by Marlene
Great job here – this was the 2nd job FirstEditing had completed for us. The 1st was a collection of short-stories that already had been edited professionally… but we wanted to make sure things looked good and our FirstEditing editor found many errors. For the 2nd project, our editor was catching typo’s left and right. Happy with the level of detail and value of this service.
A short introduction
The release of Inmate 1818 and Other Stories, a collection of twelve short stories inspired by the Holocaust and its aftermath, marks a new milestone for a celebrated writer with unusual skill and vision. The stories of Bernard Otterman, a Holocaust survivor born in Lodz, Poland, are set in the ghettos and camps of World War II and in the difficult days following Hitler’s war against the Jews. The Shoah defines the lives of all characters in the stories—survivors as well as their children. In the title story, “Inmate 1818,” a young boy is smuggled into a labor camp and befriended by an eccentric teenager with a love for astronomy, who gives the boy a gift that saves his life. In “Golem of Auschwitz,” a survivor is haunted by the memory of the golem, a mythical creature drawn from Jewish folklore, that he and a Rabbi’s son created while in captivity. A German boy is determined to redeem his family’s Nazi sins by recreating the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp using plastic toy bricks in “Lego Lager.” In “Days of Rage,” married survivors are tormented when their son believes and spouts a neo-Nazi ideology. A survivor in “Lotto Fever” is both upset and obsessed by winning the lottery using numbers very similar to those tattooed on his arm. And in “Black Grass,” the author turns to the rich tradition of magical realism to respond to the phenomenon of the Holocaust, where the darkness born by this tragedy slowly envelops the world.
Scholars and fans of the work of Franz Kafka, Chaim Grade, Primo Levi, Ida Fink, and Henryk Grynberg will find immediate parallels to Otterman’s writing. His poems have been published in Poetry, Jewish Currents and other noted journals while his short stories have appeared in New Millennium Writings and Word/Slovo. Inmate 1818 and Other Stories is Otterman’s third published collection of Holocaust-related short fiction. This collection is not to be missed—and once read, never forgotten.
About the author – Mike Otterman
Bernard Otterman was born in Lodz, Poland, in 1937. At the age of three, he and his parents escaped Lodz and fled to Warsaw. From there to the Pietrokov ghetto and were subsequently interned in the Radom ghetto and then transferred to the Daimler work camp five miles away producing small munitions. In June of 1944, as the Russians advanced from the east, the camp was liquidated, and its inmates shipped to Auschwitz. Bernard and his mother escaped from the line being marched to the trains, fled and hid for six months as fugitives in the Polish countryside and survived until the Russian troops liberated Poland in January of 1945. His father was sent by train to Auschwitz, then immediately moved to a work camp in Germany. He too survived and the family was reunited in Lodz in September of 1945 through displaced persons listings. They lived in Germany until coming to the United States in 1951. Otterman was trained in mechanical engineering and for many years was on the engineering faculty at Northeastern and Hofstra universities. He worked and reworked the stories in this collection for more than a decade. “The Golem of Auschwitz” was first published in New Millennium Writings. “Kaddish” was first published in The Nassau Review and received first prize in fiction from the Review. “Lotto Fever” was first published in Word/Slovo. Several of Mr. Otterman’s poems have been published in Poetry, Jewish Currents and other journals and compendia. His website is: www.bernardotterman.com
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