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Light One Candle Reviews

Here are some reviews and comments about Light One Candle.

Book Reviews From

The most gripping and heart wrenching book I've ever read. March 19, 1999 Reviewer: Rudy Burwell St Louis, MO

This book touched a part of my soul and humanity more than any other book I have read in recent memory. The incredible detail in which Mr. Ganor describes the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Lithuania, and his subsequent confinement in concentration camps is absolutely chilling. I turned each page with horrid fascination with the thought that things couldn't get worse for Mr. Ganor and his family; it always did. Mr. Ganor recounts his story with eloquent but simple prose that draws the reader directly into his world of loss, torture, cruelty, and often times heroic deeds. Even if you consider yourself a fairly good student of history (which I did), this book will most likely destroy any notion that you really "understand" the overwhelming horrors and atrocities committed during this dreadful time in our history. This book is one for the ages, and is proof positive that we should never forget.


The best personal account of the Holocaust I've read. April 28, 1999

Reviewer: Mark Cotta Vaz from Mill Valley, California

In LIGHT ONE CANDLE, Solly Ganor takes the reader into that nightmare world of the Holocaust--I could practically feel the harsh elements, the constant danger of the camps. This book isn't another rote recitation of death counts. There's so much heart and compassion for all those swept up in these horrors. The insights into camp life include the primal nature of life stripped to it's basics--such as the "storyteller" who keeps the outside world and traditions alive. Particularly poignant is Cooky, Ganor's childhood friend whose account of the slaughter at the Ninth Fort is more compelling than Dante's own descent into Hell. I personally feel Ganor's book is deserving of some national/international award. Actually, reading the book I wonder how Ganor got it all done. It must have been so painful to revisit these terrible, incomprehensible, sublime, poignant memories. To me it's the best book on the Holocaust, personal or otherwise--certainly it should be a companion to any serious study of this subject. To me it hits at the heart, gets into the soul. It's the humanity of the account, particularly those heart-rending final glimpses of the condemned trying to smile as they wave good-bye.


I was deeply moved by this courageous work. October 11, 1998

Reviewer: A reader

I just completed Light One Candle and it sits deeply in my heart. I am now doing consulting work in Lithuania and I wanted to read more about this country. This is the reason I picked up the book. As well, though, I am a baby-boomer and so was born after World War II. All I know of the war is what I have seen in movies, TV or read. But this sad, yet courageous book helped me understand the war as I have never understood it. Little did I know how deeply I would be affected. Solly Ganor is a remarkable man and I have enormous respect for his bravery is such wretched times. In addition, though, this book taught me how much I owe to those thousands of American men and women who gave their lives so that Solly and I could live a normal life. I had never understood this before. Thank you, Solly Ganor, for teaching me so many things.


January 20, 1997

Reviewer: A reader

I have read a multitude of books on Hitler's annihilation of the Jewish people, but none so touched me like Solly Ganor's story. It was wonderfully written, yet poignant at the same time. Not even "Escape from Sobibor" had the impact on me that this book did. The survival through horrific conditions and attempts to break the spirit are a tribute to his strong character

From Barns and Noble Web Site



The author presents an account of his wartime experiences. "On June 22, 1941, 13-year-old Solly Ganor and his family fled their home in Kaunas, Lithuania, when the German Luftwaffe attacked. Two months later, they were forced to enter the Kaunas ghetto. . . . In June 1944, the author and his father were sent to Dachau, from which they were rescued by Japanese American soldiers on May 2, 1945. The author's sister survived; his mother and brother perished. Forty-seven years later, Ganor was reunited with his rescuer in Israel." (Booklist)


Intensely personal and compelling throughout, Light One Candle is Solly Ganor's spellbinding account of what befalls him and his family after the Nazis invade their home country of Lithuania. His extraordinary testament describes in detail his years of horror in the Kaunas ghetto and in Nazi concentration camps.

From The Publisher

Solly Ganor entered the hotel lobby hesitantly. He had spent most of his life trying to block out his painful memories of the war. Yet here he was at a reunion of Holocaust survivors and their American liberators. What was he doing here? His instinct was to turn around and walk right out the door. But he knew why he had come. The man who called him at his home a few nights earlier mentioned that veterans from a battalion of Japanese American soldiers would be gathering at the hotel. Solly immediately recalled his own liberation forty-seven years earlier. He had been lying half buried in the snow near Dachau, more dead than alive, when he looked up to see a kind face with Asian features bending down toward him. The man, Clarence Matsumura, saved Solly's life. Solly walked into the room and immediately recognized his rescuer of a half century ago. His heart started racing. Clarence came forward, and the two embraced. For the first time in almost fifty years, Solly cried. He had finally allowed himself to look backward, to recollect his ghastly experiences of the war, and he cried like a child. Light One Candle is the result of Solly's emotional catharsis of that day. It is the dramatic account of what happened to him immediately before and during the war in Europe. He tells of the horror of the Kaunas ghetto and the Nazi concentration camps that followed, and his nearly fatal death march from Dachau. But he also paints a glorious picture of his native Lithuania in the days before the war, and recounts his boyhood friendship with Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul who wrote thousands of exit visas for Jews fleeing Lithuania.


From George Cohen - BookList  

On June 22, 1941, 13-year-old Solly Ganor and his family fled their home in Kaunas, Lithuania, when the German Luftwaffe attacked. Two months later, they were forced to enter the Kaunas ghetto, where they suffered from hunger, backbreaking labor, beatings, disease, cold, fear, and humiliation. Many of the Jews were murdered by the Germans and Lithuanians. In June_ 1944, the author and his father were sent to Dachau, from which they were rescued by Japanese American soldiers on May 2, 1945. The author's sister survived; his mother and brother perished. Forty-seven years later, Ganor was reunited with his rescuer in Israel. "Light One Candle" is an extraordinary memoir, an incredible story of hope and faith in the face of evil.


From Jewish Book World  

Ganor's survivial in the Kaunas ghetto and Dachau concentration camp has the bizarre twist of being tied up with the Japanese, first with the Japanese ambassador Sugihara, who did help save Jews by writing transit visas, and then with his own rescue.


From Booknews  

A precise and scholarly work co-authored by Kelly (criminal justice, City U., New York) and Shatzberg (retired New York City Police Department detective), presenting a social history of organized crime in general, and specifically in the African-American community. They argue that the constrictions of racism and economic deprivation fostered the evolution of organized crime, examining African-American history and urban migration in relation to crime, the formation of an underground economy, drug and vice organizations, and their relationship to present day gangs and gang activity. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (


From Eva Sartori - MultiCultural Review  

Solly's story, told compellingly and in vivid detail, is unfortunately a familiar one, but one that never ceases to astonish. Ghetto inmates managed to survive physically and psychologically, scrounging for a piece of bread, a blanket, a job, even as they witnessed or took part in the evacuation of orphaned children to a certain death, or dug mass graves for their brethren. The unusual aspect of Solly's story is that it is framed by two encounters with Japanese individuals.


From Publisher's Weekly - Publishers Weekly  

This well-crafted, affecting memoir offers a detailed account of the author's struggle to survive the German occupation of Lithuania amid the terrorizing, torture and liquidation of most of the inhabitants of the Kaunas ghetto during WWII. Ganor describes the diabolical way the Nazis turned gentile Lithuanians against Jews and, inside the ghetto itself, neighbor against neighbor. Remaining useful to the Germans was the only way to survive, and Ganor recounts how the Jewish Council set up vocational classes to teach carpentry and other skills. In the end, Ganor was unable to avoid being sent to Dachau concentration camp, from which he was liberated at the eleventh hour by American troops. In postwar years he became a self-described ``emotional amputee'' who worked hard to suppress his bitter memories of the war. Yet in 1992, he experienced an almost miraculous second liberation when he met Clarence Matsumuru, a veteran of the Japanese American unit that liberated Dachau-and the very man who rescued Ganor from the brink of extinction on May 2, 1945. This absorbing memoir, with its record of suffering and catharsis, is a valuable addition to Holocaust literature. (Nov.)