I Only Wanted to Live: The Struggle of a Boy to Survive the Holocaust


A broad picture of the Holocaust from the point of view of a child

This book is a memoir of a child who is swept into the whirlwind of the Holocaust. The epic history is narrowed down to the struggle of a single boy nicknamed Leosz to survive the war. From age 7 to age 13, he endures all the horrors that the Holocaust brings upon the Jewish people. Life hangs on split-second timing, decision-making in impossibly cruel circumstances, incredible resourcefulness, luck and the help of others, even Germans.

In the Krakow Ghetto, Leosz is saved from three mass deportations to the death camps. He escapes the ghetto, survives for several weeks pretending to be a

Polish street child, and then goes into hiding. Although sentenced to die after being caught, he is instead miraculously reunited with his family in the Plaszow labor camp. A year later, father and son become slave laborers in the Gozen 2 camp in Austria, where his father perishes. Close to death himself, Leosz is finally liberated by the American army on May 5th, 1945.

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Author interview with Arie Tamir of ‘I Wanted only to Live’

Author Interview with Arie Tamir

“These are my early childhood memories. Between the ages of 7 to 13 in the 2nd World War, I struggled for my life. I was saved from three mass deportations to the death camps, escaped the ghetto, survived several months pretending to be a Polish street child and survived concentration camps.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn more about World War II through the eyes of a child who experienced the struggle for survival, the devastation of the concentration camps, and the return to life after. Join me as I chat with Arie Tamir, as he takes is through his memoir of this time documented in ‘I Wanted only to Live’.  

Arie, it’s wonderful to have you back at ItsWriteNow.com today to chat a little about your book. I think that this is such a powerful book that shows an important time in world history. For those who are unaware, what is this book all about?

Just my memoirs checked with the real history and facts.

Were there steps that you took to help you prepare to write these memoirs?

I just started writing, made corrections according to historical facts.

Just to be clear, you’re not a professional author.

No, this is my first and probably my last book. I wrote it when I was over 80 years old.

We’ve chatted before about this book, and I never fail to be impressed by your decision to write this book when you were in your 80s. Again, I’m going to have to congratulate you for getting these events down on paper for readers. Being in your 80s when you wrote this book you have to back about 60 or 70 years into your memories to the events in and around the war. What did you find yourself thinking about as you reflected up and wrote about this time?

How people may be cruel.

The ability of people to be cruel is a strong idea to write about it. Was it the central message you wanted to share or was there another idea that you really wanted to share with readers? What was most important for your readers to take away?

You can get nothing without a struggle, mainly not your life in a very hard circumstances.

Do you think that the events of your life intertwined with the hard circumstances of World War II is relevant to readers today, or will have a bigger impact in the future?


Despite the importance of the events that you share, do you feel that there are people who shouldn’t read this book?

Small children.

Yes, I think that the book might be too much for little kids, but I still feel that it’s important for older ones. As you look back today on the journey that was this book, what was your greatest learning experience writing it?

Never say I can’t do it.

Indeed you did do it! How have readers responded to your book?

Generally, very good.

Arie, one thing that has always struck me about your book is the professional quality cover it has. Who designed it?

Designed myself with professional help.

You did a great job, both with the cover and the message. Arie, thanks so much for sharing your memoir ‘I Wanted only to Live’, with myself and the readers of ItsWriteNow.com. I hope all of our readers will take the opportunity to return in time with you in your book and learn more about why we should strive to never have another World War.

Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘I Wanted only to Live ( ASIN: B00X2HRCNQ )‘.

Author interview with Arie Tamir of ‘I only Wanted to Live’

Author Interview with Arie Tamir

I love it when authors come back to ItsWriteNow.com to share their journey, and today Arie Tamir, who I chatted with back in early September 2016 is back to share a taste of his book ‘I Only Wanted To Live’ which documents his experiences of the Holocaust in World War II. Arie, with a year and a half more book marketing experience, what can you share with us about this book.           

These are my memoirs from my early childhood. Between the ages of 7 to 13, I struggled for my life. This book describes a human drama that involves decision-making in impossibly cruel circumstances, family relationships in the midst of a life and death struggle, relations between a father and his son, about resourcefulness, about the will to live and the struggle to survive.



Are these memoirs purely from your own experiences, or did you include additional experiences or people in the book from the experiences of others?

All my book is a life experience and all the people are real.



Looking back on these experiences and how you presented them in your book, what do you feel is the key element that you want to share with these readers?

That you are able to overcome any most difficulties in your life.



As you mentioned earlier these memoirs really are dealing with incredibly emotional and cruel events. Do you feel exhausted by the gravity of the topics, or energised by sharing your experiences?




Yes! I love an energised writer! Let’s see if we can generate more energy with some fun questions. What’s your response to the question, if money doesn’t grow on trees then why do banks have branches?

Because they try grow…



Indeed they do. Here’s a more technical question, can you cry underwater?




Interesting view. Can I get your view on your favourite word?

Be proud.



Combinations of words are just as good! Taking that idea of being proud, what line from your book gives you the most pride?

Try in any hard time to be an honest man.



What a wonderful piece of advice to share with the world. Arie, thanks so much sharing a taste of your journey with us today, and I hope that readers are inspired to pick up your novel and the advice to be an honest person.


Excited to read the book we discussed today? Find it here on Amazon: ‘I Only Wanted to Live ( ASIN: B00X2HRCNQ )‘.


Author Interview with Arie Tamir of ‘I Only Wanted to Live’


Today I’m chatting with Arie Tamir, the author of today’s book, ‘I Only Wanted To Live’, which is a poignant memoir from his childhood experiences as a Jewish child during the Holocaust and second world war.

Note: Arie is not a native English speaker and I have left his side of the interview largely unedited, save for the addition of the correct English words in brackets after any words that needed clarification.



Arie, thank you very much for joining me today. I really appreciate the time that you’ve given both myself and the audience. Now your book follows your personal journey through childhood and into your teenage years during the second world war. I can’t begin to imagine the details of the horrors that you experienced at such a young age, and it must have been difficult to review your experiences. What pushed you to write down them down into this book?
Many times after 2nd World War I filled (felt) the desire to tell about my personal experience. After the war I filled (felt) as if the real characters with whom I experienced the six years and they didn’t survive they ask me to write about what happened and to tell their story. It just happened that after so many years I did it.



Can you tell us a bit more about what you’ve chosen to include in the book.
I am not a professional author, I did wrote (write) this book when I was close to 80 years of age. I wrote it according to my memory but I did lot of work, may be around 80% of the writing work, to study the historical facts so everything I wrote will be a historic document as well. These are my memoir of my childhood. I was swept into the whirlwind of the 2nd World War and the Holocaust. The epic history is narrowed down to my struggle to survive the war. My nickname was Leosz. From age 7 to age 13 I endured all the horrors that the Holocaust brought upon the Jewish people. Life hanged (hung) on split-second timing, decisions were made in impossibly cruel circumstances and all these required incredible resourcefulness, luck and the help of others, even Germans. In the Krakow Ghetto, I was saved from three mass deportations to the death camps, escaped the ghetto, survived for several weeks pretending to be a Polish street child, and then went into hiding. Close to death I was finally liberated in (the) concentration camp, Mathausen, by the American army on May 5th, 1945. After the liberation I found that I lost all my family and my relatives, I did overcome the tragedy and until today lived a full happy life with my wife, two kids and five grandchildren. I am 84 years old.



I’m very happy to hear that you’ve lived a very full life after the early experiences in your life. So that the audience can see a bit more about where you life let can you let us know what you did for employment. And did it influence you writing?
I am an engineer, it influenced me that everything I write about will be with accordance with the facts and be (correct). For instance, when I write about a place I give the exact name of the street and the number of the house. To everything I give the real time and so on.



So you were very precise with all of the elements in the book. How long did it take write when you were very considerate of being accurate?
About three years, but most of the work , maybe 80% of the time, was spend on research of the circumstances and the historic facts in which my story took place.



And how did you go about editing to make sure that you’d gotten it right.
I wrote this book in Hebrew. I did myself large amount of editing and got some help of professional editors. This book was translated to English by a professional translator and, unfortunately, it wasn’t edited again. I do hope to do it some time…



I hope that you get a chance to do that too. When you were writing and editing did you spend more time with the people in the story that influenced you the most?
Of course, Just naturally I stood longer with people that were closer to me or were important to the whole picture.



Speaking of pictures, I think that the cover really suits the memoir well. Who designed it?
I designed it myself, but the finish was made by professional.



They did a great job. Overall, what did you find was the most rewarding thing about writing this book?
That many people found the book interesting.



Has the positive feedback enticed you to maybe start on an additional book to extend on this memoir?
As I told in the beginning I am not a professional writer, I wrote these memoir when I was close to 80 years old, so may be I would continue my memoir from the point I finished.


I think that many readers would appreciate that, so I hope that you look into continuing. Now we’re onto the Quick Fire Round to round out the interview on a lighter note. Just respond with what you first think of:


Do you have any philosophies that you live by?
What my father told me when I was about 8 years old: Be always honest, don’t lie, never, don’t steal, don’t do bad things to your friends and to anyone.


That’s great advice. How did you feel when you got your first book review?


Can you stand on your hands unassisted?


If you could steal one thing without consequence what would it be?
No stealing…


Do you have any tips for self-publishing for other authors?
Just dare, study it and get help from experienced authors.


Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?


What is your best tip for authors?
Believe in your writing


What is your favourite word?


That’s my favourite response to that question so far. Thank you very much for joining me today Arie, and I hope that that you are able to bring your story to many new readers so that we all have a much greater understanding of what went on during World War Two, so that it isn’t repeated in the future.


If you would like to get in contact with Arie, please drop me a line in the contact form.