Posts tagged ‘holocaust’

The Tipping Point

I only recently got around to reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point. Although the book was written before Social Media kicked in, his analysis of how ideas (he calles them epidemics) take off fits perfectly into the new digital world. I’m trying to see if I can use some of his insights to work out an online campaign to try to sell my new book. The book – I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp – has an appeal to several groups of readers:

1. My family and friends

2. The children and grandchildren of Survivors

3. Jewish boomers who were not the children of survivors (I am in this category)

4. Hopefully, their children, for whom the book might serve as an introduction to the Holocaust

5. People interested in the Holocaust and/or the history of the 2nd WW  (this includes educational users)

6. Poles

7. Everyone else

Gladwell writes about Connectors as being highly networked people who can spread the world about an idea or product. In the digital world this seems to refer to Twitter and Facebook users who have huge followings. Whether I can get my book taken up by connectors like this is uncertain, but it’s obviously the ideal way to get it in front of large numbers of people.

What I have decided to do is to use email to try to spread the word. We are publishing the book in the UK in November and my plan is to email everyone in my address book with a request that they disseminate an attachment about the book to all of their contacts. Whether they are willing to do that depends on the quality of my email, which is another of Gladwell’s points. He calls this the stickiness factor: is the idea sticky enough for people to remember it or does it just fade away on first reading. If I can write a sticky enough email, then perhaps enough people will be willing to do the boring and tedious task of re-sending the email out.

Why am I writing this post? I suppose I’d like to get feedback from people who are more au fait with social media than I am as to whether this is the right way to go about it, or whether there are other things that I can do. I’d like to see the book widely read, because I think it has something new to say. But if it does not get beyond my immediate family and friends I won’t be unhappy, although my publisher will. I wrote the book originally for my Zayde (grandfather), but he died a long time ago and won’t be able to read it.  Only the living can read, and it would be satisfying if a good number of living breathing readers would discover the book.

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October 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm 1 comment

I Survived A Secret Nazi Extermination Camp

That’s the title of my new book. It didn’t happen to me, I wasn’t even born when Rudolf Reder lived through those terrible times. He was the only post-war survivor of a death camp in Poland called Belzec. Most people have never heard of it, but in just 18 months 700,000 people (almost all Jews) died there. We only know what happened in this death factory because Reder managed an incredible escape, and after the war told his story to a Jewish Historical Commission in Cracow who were trying to gather evidence against the Nazi criminals.

The victims who arrived by freight train to Belzec were killed in the gas chambers within two hours. The Nazi system processed these people like cargo. The only people who survived longer were Jews who were selected to work at the camp, and they only lasted a few months at most. Reder lasted for 4 months because he was an engineer and could fix the tank engine which produced the carbon monoxide which was the killer gas.

I found out about Belzec and Reder’s story when I made a trip to Lublin in Eastern Poland to research my Granfdfather’s roots. While I was there I visited Majdanek Concentration Camp and there I found a slim book called Belzec which contained Reder’s witness statement. My young Polish guides explained to me that Belzec was where the Jews from Lublin were sent to die, so it is very likely that some of my relatives were killed there. I never knew that I had relatives killed in the Holocaust until I made this trip. 

Now I am waiting for the book to come out, and I need to find ways to make it known to potential readers. We are starting first in the UK (I live in London) and hope that if we can make a bit of a splash that we can find a publisher in the US. An ebook will follow in a few months.

I decided that Reder’s statement was so strong and powerful that I needed to make it more widely known. So I decided to make an audio out of it (soon to be on Audible) and wrote an account about how I found the text.  

October 6, 2012 at 11:10 pm 5 comments

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