“What They Didn’t Burn: Uncovering My Father’s Holocaust Secrets” is a dogged reporter’s quest, a son’s revelation and a father’s unlikely Holocaust saga—confirmed by the Nazis themselves. Unearthing damning documents the Nazis didn’t burn, and chasing after hidden diamonds, author Mel Laytner melds the intimacy of personal memoir with the rigors of investigative journalism to write a Holocaust book for new generations that Kirkus calls, “A scrupulously researched and dramatic remembrance.”
Join us for a conversation with investigative journalist and author Mel Laytner, taking place in-person and on Zoom. A book signing will follow the in-person event.
Growing up, Laytner saw his quiet, introspective father as a conventional Type B. As he discovers the documents the Nazis didn’t burn, another man emerges—a black market ringleader and wily camp survivor who made his own luck. At a time when the Holocaust itself risks becoming a cliché, how do we show the truth to younger generations further and further removed from the war? Laytner lets the Nazis do it.
The Nazi paper trail tracks Josef “Dolek” Lajtner from home to ghettos, slave labor, concentration camps, death marches and more. In corroborating his more unbelievable stories, the tattered papers also corroborate the stories of Lajtner’s camp comrades, those who survived…and those who did not. “What They Didn’t Burn” is also an inspirational story of resilience and redemption, of desperate refugees turned hopeful immigrants rebuilding shattered lives in America.
- 7 p.m.: Doors open for seating; books available for purchase
- 7:30 p.m.: Welcome by Shari Lecker, member of KI Board of Trustees
- 7:35 p.m.: Author presentation
- 7:45 p.m.: Q&A with Mel Laytner, moderated by Anna Winestein, director of programs
- 8:30 p.m.: Book signing
- 9 p.m. Event ends
384 Harvard St
Brookline, MA 02446
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