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Editorial Reviews. Review. "[An] engrossing literary debut Writing in Adolfo's voice gives this suspenseful narrative candor and immediacy." Kirkus.
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Nov 10, Carmen Bollinger rated it it was amazing. Adolfo Kaminsky began his life as a forger during WW2. He forged identity cards, birth certificates, baptismal records, etc. He kept forging even after the war, creating fake visas for Jews to leave Europe. He continued for forgingfor an astounding number of reasonsuntil the 's. I Adolfo Kaminsky began his life as a forger during WW2.

The Story Of Adolfo Kaminsky - Saving Jews During The Holocaust

I refused to start taking part in illegal activities now that the war was over. To convince me, Pierrot arranged for me to go with some GIs to the refugee camps.

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Suddenly I saw them, on the other side of the barbed wire in prisoners' striped costumes. I managed to talk to one of them who spoke fluent French. He was Polish, a former French teacher. They all said the same.


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The governments of their countries had betrayed them, being on European soil would always remind them of the atrocities they'd been subjected to. Nothing could break their determination, even if it meant staying in these camps to wait, or rot, for years if need be, until they could finally obtain a visa for Palestine. Oct 12, William Bentrim rated it liked it.

I found it interesting but not compelling or captivating. I'm sure all the notables who raved about this book had good reasons to rave. I found myself interested but not enthralled. The book chronicles the life of a forger who happens to be Jewish. His forged documents most likely saved thousands of live Adolofo Kaminsky:A Forger's Life by Sarah Kaminsky This is one of those books that has all kinds of accolades. His forged documents most likely saved thousands of lives while endangering his own. Kaminsky was unable to go "straight" after WWII.

He became an activist for Algerian independence despite his claims of trying to get France to accept a friendly accommodation of the Algerians. It is both laudable and questionable how Kaminsky lived. The saving of lives during WWII was highly laudable, the methods used to support his later causes seem somewhat questionable. It seems like Kaminsky always had good intentions but there is a question in my mind if some of his work didn't lead to unintended consequences.

The book was interesting. Nov 18, PennsyLady Bev rated it really liked it Shelves: nonfiction , history. This is an intriguing look at the lifework of Adolfo Kaminsky. His daughter Sarah records and presents his life story and we see the weighty responsibility he assumed working as a forger for the "French Resistance, the Algerian Independence Movement, and numerous clandestine organizations over the span of nearly thirty years.

He assumes the role of narrator, adding extra interest to the read and provides some beautiful black and white images fro This is an intriguing look at the lifework of Adolfo Kaminsky. He assumes the role of narrator, adding extra interest to the read and provides some beautiful black and white images from his years as a professional photographer. Dec 14, The Jewish Book Council added it. Jason for the Jewish Book Council. Jan 22, loeilecoute rated it it was amazing Shelves: creative-nonfiction , history. Brilliant; a tour de force.


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My only complaint is that I wanted more. Can't wait till the movie comes out. Jan 10, Melody rated it really liked it. A couldn't-put-it-down memoir detailing a clandestine life in the WW2 French underground resistance Sep 14, Richard rated it really liked it Shelves: In these Trumpian days, the talk of resistance is loud and clear, even my hoodie has Smokey the Bear with shovel in hand and fist raised. Resistance was the first word out of our mouths, but how many of us know what it means?

Was the Women's March resistance, or a spasm of anger and grief; is blocking a freeway, or smashing a window resistance? I suppose so, in its broadest form it's saying we don't accept the status quo, or the direction of the powers that be. Those acts may also give spine to In these Trumpian days, the talk of resistance is loud and clear, even my hoodie has Smokey the Bear with shovel in hand and fist raised. Those acts may also give spine to the representatives in government who can block the most egregious wrongs of seated power, but there are other levels of resistance that most of us in our lives of 9 to 5, or blissful retirements don't often think about.

Deep resistance, life or death, secretive, dangerous, mostly unsung, and it's that level that confronts us in Adolfo and Sarah Kaminsky's, A Forger's Life. It's Adolfo's story that his daughter transcribes in his voice. I think it's a "must read," for any of us who have engaged in resistance, at whatever level. Adolfo was a seventeen year old clothes dyer's apprentice in Paris in He was also Jewish. He loved his work, and parlayed it into a study of chemistry, especially as it pertained to the alteration of fabrics that had been stained by possibly insoluble substances.

He was really good at his work. By happenstance, or as happenstance as clandestine recruitments may be, he was approached by a member of the Jewish Resistance who asked him if he could remove stains from paper. Paper being a fabric, Adolfo responded positively, and before long was altering, forging, and creating documents that protected, or saved the lives of countless Jews, in and out of the organized resistance.


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Adolfo continued his work for the next thirty years. After the war he worked with Zionist organizations against the British occupation of Palestine, for the Algerian freedom fighters, for struggles throughout Latin American, for the African National Congress, and for Americans resisting the Vietnam war. It's safe to say that by the time he retired in he and his workshops had provided papers for tens of thousands of freedom fighters, refugees, and "fellow travelers.

That's Resistance, with a capital "R. Adolfo is 93, and resides in Paris. I learned about him through a NY Times award winning documentary. For as long as possible. Fight against sleep. After World War II Kaminsky continued to offer his talents to resistance movements all over the world. He never accepted any payment for his work. His life unfolds like a wild Hollywood spy thriller.

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To this day Kaminsky is still piecing together loving relationships with his children. May 20, Michael rated it liked it Shelves: france. Written like a first person memoir, the author was Kaminsky's daughter. Early on Kaminsky was forging personal documents to subvert the Nazi occupiers in Paris, but his activities evolve to support anti-colonialist and other secret groups worldwide, operating an almost industrial scale operation in Paris for about 30 years. The first half to two-thirds flowed along and drew me in, but at some point the events began to seem repetitive in their presentation.

I would not have missed anything by aban Written like a first person memoir, the author was Kaminsky's daughter. I would not have missed anything by abandoning the book after the first pages. The text runs about pages; there are also 14 black and white photographs at the end representing Kaminsky's artistic work as a photographer. Kaminsky never took money for his work forging documents, supporting himself, often with apparent difficulty, with other work.

Towards the end he talks about his fruitless efforts to find someone who would replace him in doing this kind of work at something like the same scale, but inevitably he seemed to identify either ideological problems with his candidates or had not answer to the question, "where does the money come from?

Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life

Is Kaminsky the one in a million honorable person among us? But reading that, I suppose if he or his daughter had tried to make a strong case for this, it would have taken away from that argument rather than reinforcing it. Most of the book is set in France, with the action taking place in Paris, but there is considerable description of France's relationship with post-WWII Algeria that added to my not very comprehensive understanding of that topic. May 28, Miles rated it it was amazing.

This is a completely gripping story of a forger's life. Adolfo Kaminsky cut his teeth producing documents to save children from the Holocaust in occupied France and then spent thirty years underground creating documents for various liberation movements, from the FLN Algeria to the ANC to others. He describes his life underground, his peripatetic love life, his laboratories, his strict trade-craft, his refusal to accept payment and more. He sees himself always as a freedom fighter, not a mercen This is a completely gripping story of a forger's life.

He sees himself always as a freedom fighter, not a mercenary. Kaminsky's struggle was to enable people to move about in the world, to aid the refugee and to fight injustice. His shield was deep anonymity, as he insisted on one point of contact and no more and searched constantly for a few trustworthy people. He refused as many or more jobs than he accepted, always judging whether the cause and purpose was worthy before he created the document. The life he led is extraordinary, and the final pages brought me to tears. I can't even say exactly why, except that one is left with an impression of extraordinary integrity.

The book is based on extended interviews by his daughter. It reads like a man talking at a cafe, telling a story. This is a somewhat unusual style, but in no way off-putting. If you've ever enjoyed the problem of hidden and double identities, the problem of how a quiet person can wage war against injustice, or the subterfuge of a life underground, beholden to no one person or movement but only to one's personal vision of what is just and right I really loved this. Adolfo Kaminsky undoubtedly lead an interesting life. As a document forger for over 30 years, Kaminsky used his talents to help clandestine organizations during World War II, and in subsequent conflicts.

The fact that I can't remember all these conflicts is evidence of my disappointment in this book -- I can't remember where he was or who he was working for. Admittedly, there are political aspects to his activity that is complicated and history I just don't know enough about so that makes it dif Adolfo Kaminsky undoubtedly lead an interesting life. Admittedly, there are political aspects to his activity that is complicated and history I just don't know enough about so that makes it difficult to engage with the book.

However, the book had very little character development, very little atmosphere, and very little action. It reads like a recitation of facts. I understand the author's reason for telling this story in the first person: it didn't feel right to write about her father in past tense when he is alive. This probably would have worked if during the interview process, she had asked questions about how he felt or what the cities felt like.

There are glimpses of great stories as he remembers a certain incident, but they are brief and too few. I wanted to love this book, but I think this will be one that is quickly forgotten. Nov 11, Delores Thomas rated it it was amazing. This begins as the story of a young Jew living in Paris when the Nazis invaded.

He and his family need papers to be able to hide.

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He was caught and sent to a concentration camp where he learned from a forger how to make papers that would pass so well so he was able to escape. So began his career in forging illegal papers so good the officials never caught on. He carefully explains how each person needed many different kinds of papers from identity papers to food and gas coupons and even fake let This begins as the story of a young Jew living in Paris when the Nazis invaded. He carefully explains how each person needed many different kinds of papers from identity papers to food and gas coupons and even fake letters in their new name.

He continues after the war to supply papers for a lot of the areas of conflict. He helped Jews settle into Israel, Africans who were involved in wars and genocides and South Americans in some conflicts. He lost his wife and family since he had no time for them but eventually he quit forging since too many organizations were depending on his ability. He decided to devote his time to his main occupation of photography and art.

But the details of his forgery or as he liked to consider it his illegal life is totally fascinating. Jan 06, AK Wintzer rated it really liked it Shelves: biography. Interesting from an historical perspective. The book was developed by his daughter from conversations with her elderly Father. He forged Interesting from an historical perspective. He forged documents for the resistance movements throughout the world as governments were in upheaval for various reasons.

He must have been truly talented to make a career of this profession without being caught. He surmised that he was too widely well known to safely continue. What a fascinating read! But I had no idea the expansive nature of his work for various causes, including the Jewish escape from the Nazis, the Algerian independence movement, and so many more conflicts around the world. Kaminsky himself is a perplexing character.

Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life

The book, written as first person through interviews of Kaminsky by his daught What a fascinating read! The book, written as first person through interviews of Kaminsky by his daughter, paints the portrait of a man who would not accept money for his forgeries, always appealing to the higher cause, while also being somewhat of a serial monogamist and absent father to his first family. There are times when you want to cheer him and times when you want mutter in frustration over his choices, but it cannot be denied that he is an intriguing person who saved the lives of countless people in trouble.

Sep 22, Mike Brubaker rated it liked it. As a young man, he trained to create fake identification papers for Jews escaping Nazi occupied Europe. Despite the depth of trust between them, there were times when talking to his daughter was difficult. For example, the death of his mother [who was killed by the Nazis].

Dora and her father were prisoners at Drancy, an internment camp located by a suburb northeast of Paris, with Adolfo and his family. After the death of her father, they tried — and failed — to pass Dora off as a member of their family. She was later deported. Adolfo always presumed that she died in Auschwitz.

Fortunately, they were receptive to her interviews. Some were with people she had known since she was very young. For me, meeting them was the most interesting thing. What I was told was always so surprising. To ensure accuracy, she undertook extensive historical research and fact-checked the information that Adolfo told her. They also visited significant places together to help Adolfo with his recollections. Adolfo was — and still is — very idealistic, says Kaminsky. Between and he worked for the Haganah, helping Jews emigrate to Palestine at a time when immigration quotas were limited.

Adolfo Kaminsky gave up working as a forger in She attributes the fact that he forged papers for so many years to an overwhelming feeling of being responsible for the lives of others — a sense of sacrifice, born out of survival guilt. When she thinks what she would have done in his position, she likes to believe that she would have stopped earlier.

Adolfo Kaminsky : A Forger's Life - ijedutinoj.cf

Adolfo Kaminsky with daughter and biographer Sarah Kaminsky. Amit Israeli. Documents forged by Adolfo Kaminsky. Adolfo Kaminsky as a young man.