Description - The Mascot by Mark Kurzem
One man's struggle with memory and prejudice on the way to recovering his past. Mark Kurzem was happily ensconced in his academic life at Oxford when his father, Alex, showed up on his doorstep with a terrible secret to tell. As a five-year-old during the Second World War, Alex Kurzem had watched from a tree as the entire Jewish population of his village, including his family, were murdered by a German-led execution squad. He scavenged in the forests of Russia for several months before falling into the hands of a Latvian police brigade that later became an SS company. After one soldier discovered this young boy was actually Jewish, Alex was made to promise never to reveal his true identity - to forget his old life, his family, and even his name. The young boy became the company's mascot and part of the Nazi propaganda machine responsible for killing his own people. Fearful of being discovered - as either a Jew or a Nazi - Alex kept the secret of his childhood, even from his loving wife and children. But he grew increasingly tormented and became determined to uncover his Jewish roots and the story of his past. Shunned by a local Holocaust organisation, he reached out to his son Mark for help in reclaiming his identity.
The Mascot is a survival story, a grim fairy-tale, and a psychological drama. It's a remarkable and highly readable memoir that asks provocative questions about identity, complicity, and forgiveness.
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