A Survivor’s Duty: Surviving the Holocaust and Fighting for Israel — A Story of Father and Son

A Survivor’s Duty: Surviving the Holocaust and Fighting for Israel — A Story of Father and Son

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Gabriel Laufer

Series: The Holocaust: History and Literature, Ethics and Philosophy
ISBN: 9781618117823 (hardcover) / 9781618117830 (paperback)
Pages: 416 pp.; 10 illus.
Publication Date: May 2018

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The Holocaust and the birth and growth of Israel are strikingly different Jewish historical events. Yet they are related, just like the author, Gabriel Laufer and his father. With only a few hints in hand, Laufer researched the details of his father’s Holocaust survival in the Hungarian forced labor battalions near Stalingrad, as a slave building German bunkers for weapon factories, and later, his escape from Stalinist Hungary. In this book, Laufer shares the gripping stories of his father’s experiences juxtaposed with his own as an Israeli Defense Force officer in the Six Days War and the three wars that followed. Laufer leads the reader through his family’s personal history and its place in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century.


Gaby Laufer, Hungarian born and Israeli native, is a retired University of Virginia Engineering professor. Deploying his scientific research skills to discover unknown details of his father’s Holocaust survival and juxtaposing them with accounts of his own participation in Israeli wars, he created a unique parallel father-and-son narrative.


This work [is] a unique and important addition to Holocaust study and Jewish history generally. … Laufer notes in the foreword of his book how it is a ‘duty’ that ‘memories of our experiences [both of father and son] and their lessons’ be communicated ‘to our children and the generations to follow’—just as Elie Wiesel felt. As far as this reviewer is concerned, the author of A Survivor’s Duty: Surviving the Holocaust and Fighting for Israel—A Story of Father and Son has most definitely done his duty.
— Diane Cypkin, Pace University, Martyrdom & Resistance January/February 2019

Table of Contents


June 1942: Imprisoned in the toloncház
July 1942: Budapest
August 1942: Leaving Gyula
August 1942: Püspökladány, Hungary
September 1942: Gomel, Ukraine
September-October 1942: When Man Becomes a Horse
October-December 1942: Stary Oskol
May 1967: Dark Clouds over Israel
May-June 1967: The Six-Day War
Summer 1967: Messianic Days (or so we thought)
January 1943: Near Stalingrad
1968-1970: The War of Attrition
October 1973: The Yom Kippur War
November 1944-May 1945: Dachau and Mühldorf, Germany
May 1945: Liberation
July 1945: Home at Last
1945-1949: Budapest
July-August 1949: Escape from Hungary
June 1982: A War of Deception