Will to Live

One Family's Story of Surviving the Holocaust

By Adam Starkopf

Subjects: Autobiography, Biography And Memoir
Paperback : 9780791426203, 242 pages, August 1995
Hardcover : 9780791426197, 242 pages, September 1995

Alternative formats available from:

This book is the story of a Jewish family's survival in Nazi-occupied Poland by assuming "Aryan" identities.


This story of a Jewish family's survival in Nazi-occupied Poland by assuming "Aryan" identities shows the Starkopf family's courage and tremendous will to live. The book documents their journey from Warsaw to the immediate vicinity of one of the most frightful places on earth—the Treblinka death camp. The Starkopfs survive on false papers and false identities as they witness the tragedy of millions.

Adam Starkopf, his wife Pela, and daughter Jasia live in the Chicago area. Mr. Starkopf has given many talks relating the experiences expressed in this book.


"Will to Live is a wonderful account of the Holocaust period from a special point of view. I consider it a great contribution to the literature of the Shoah. It demonstrates how the non-Jewish world, outside of the Warsaw Ghetto, reacted to the annihilation of the Jewish people. The survival of the author and his family is a miracle in itself. It is compounded of courage, love, ingenuity, and a will to live. As I read this book I thanked God they were spared and could tell their story with such honesty and skill.

"The Talmud teaches that when you meet someone who was saved from death, you should recite a blessing: 'Praised be the merciful God Who gave you back to us and did not consign you to the grave. ' This prayer was constantly on my lips as this life-story unfolded. " — Rabbi Ralph Simon, Congregation Rodfel Zedek

"Is is a gripping story of ingenuity, courage, and the intense desire to survive the enemy. " — Arthur J. Landwehr, Senior Minister, Grace United Methodist Chur

"I was utterly absorbed by the author's tale; true, full, heart-breaking, inspiring, and most instructive. This book relates the extraordinary strengths, endless crises and unending collisions with sure death that were the family's daily lot, 24-hours a day of the most terrifying tedium, tension, and utter uncertainty. Chance played such a chilling role—such courage, humanity, in the face of absolute evil. " — Charles R. Allen, Jr. , author, Nazi War Criminals in America

"This book is a very human document and drew me along from page to page in the Starkopf's saga of hope and fear, of wandering and of soul torture. " — Rabbi Moses Mescheloff, Congregation K. I.N. S. of West Rogers Park