Lawrence Bodner wrote Gemacht, a biography about the fascinating life of his father, Jacques Bodner. Jacques Bodner survived the Holocaust, and his escape from Austria is nothing short of astounding. Gemacht covers almost nine decades of an unusual life that encompassed every high and low that can occur in a lifetime. These incidences include some of the most heinous and brutal acts perpetrated by one human being on another. At the same time, Jacques attained the most precious and unexpected gifts in his lifetime.
The contents of this story clearly show that despite being placed in an appalling situation, one man can eventually triumph against all odds. This book takes the reader on an incredible journey.
Jacques was an indomitable person who can be called a true outlier. Born into a middle class Jewish family in Austria in 1920, he grew up in a comfortable environment, the child of a salesman. The Bodner family did not want for anything.
Post-World War I, Vienna remained in a state of change. The city had separated from Lower Austria becoming a state of its own. This tranquil lifestyle slowly decayed into darkness as Hitler's Brown Shirts made their presence known. Every leisurely activity that had previously been open and available to the public was taken away.
Jacques's older siblings successfully escaped from Austria prior to the Anschluss, but Jacques remained trapped in a land he could no longer call his own. His unbelievable journey to freedom is documented in Gemacht, with photos, and documents which we assume he may have sewn into his clothing.
His story ascends into darkness in an unlikely manner. Jacques was forced to flee his country during WW II. Tragically, his plight closely parallels the devastation we are witnessing in 2022 as Ukrainians try to escape death from invading Russian troops. It is inconceivable to witness elements of the Holocaust in the present day. This terror is what Jacques and millions of others lived through almost a century ago.
The horrors of World War II are only one part of Jacques's story. His life takes many unique and fascinating twists and turns. This educational true story provides useful information about the value of humanity. Gemacht was written with the hope that readers can embrace certain esoteric concepts, and understand that our utmost responsibility to one another as human beings is to ensure the survival and progression of our species.