Sevek & the Holocaust The Boy Who Refused to Die



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Sevek & the Holocaust

The Boy Who Refused to Die

Study Guide

Ms. Ambre Watson WestoAm@tulsaschools.org

Chapter 1



  1. What experiences was Sidney told to forget about?

  2. What was the reason why Sidney should forget his experiences?

  3. Why did Sidney decide to tell his story to his daughter Ruth?

  4. What are Sidney’s feelings about Abraham Lincoln?

  5. Who was Raul Wallenberg?

  6. What brought Sidney to tears at the Holocaust Memorial Museum?

  7. What does Sidney consider the Holocaust Memorial Museum to be in regards to his relatives who died in the Holocaust?

Chapter 2



  1. How old was Sidney when the war began?

  2. Who asked Sidney to talk to school children?

  3. How did Sidney feel after his first talk to school children?

Chapter 3



  1. What was Sidney’s Polish name?

  2. Why was 1931 a bad year to be born?

  3. What was Sevek’s father’s occupation? p 7

  4. What country ruled Poland in World War I? p 7

  5. What did the Polish Jews want? p 8

  6. Explain Sevek’s first encounter with Jewish persecution. p 8

  7. How long had Jews lived in Poland by the time Sevek was born? p 9

  8. Explain what institutions were separate in Piotrkow. p 9

  9. Name the different political groups of Polish Jews. P 9

  10. What kinds of occupations were held by Jews in Piotrkow? p 9

  11. What were the Jewish Community Council’s responsibilities? p 9

  12. What was different about Sevek’s sister Ronia? P 10

  13. What did Sevek feel was the reason his father was so hard on Isaac? p 11

  14. What was the Zionist Dream? p 11

  15. What did people talk about at Ronia’s apartment? p 15

  16. Who was Tom? p 15

  17. Who was Adele and what happened to her? p 16

Chapter 4



  1. Why did Sevek’s family not go to Pzyglow one summer? p. 17

  2. How did the flour-mill workers persecute Sevek? p 18

Chapter 5



  1. What happened on September 1, 1939? p 21

  2. Explain Sevek’s first experience with terror. 21

  3. Who is Sevek named after? 22

  4. What was Sevek’s first reaction when the bombs began to fall? 22

  5. Where did Sevek’s family escape to during the bombing? 23

  6. When did Sevek first feel deep pain? 24

  7. How many died in Sueljow? 24

  8. Why is the bombing the first major turning point in Sevek’s life? 26

Chapter 6



  1. Where did the Jews live when the Nazis invaded Poland? 27

  2. What was important about Friday/Saturday to Sevek’s family? 28

  3. What would happen to a Jew if he/she was caught out of doors after 5:00 p.m.? 28

  4. Explain what happened to Sevek’s friend Hannah. 29

  5. What did Sevek do with the cigarette butts he found? 29

  6. Explain the hazards of smuggling in the ghetto. 29

  7. Why did Sevek believe money was important to survival? 29

  8. What happened to Ronia? 30

  9. When was the last time Sevek could feel enough to cry? 30

  10. Explain the hazards of Sevek’s job in the glass factory. 30

  11. Explain what Sevek did when he was almost shot. 31

Chapter 7



  1. What happened to Isaac in the trench? 34

  2. Who treated Isaac kindly in the hospital? 34-35

  3. What is ironic about the Jewish tradesmen who lived in the ghetto? 35

  4. What did the Nazis tell the Jews in the ghettos about the trains going east? 36

  5. What was the rumor about the trains? 36-37

  6. What is significant about the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur? 37

Chapter 8



  1. What happened to Jews who wanted surgery during the round-up? 39

  2. What was the last sentence Sevek’s mother said to him and why is it important? 40

  3. What was the dilemma faced by men who had families and work permits? 40

  4. What did Isaac do to make sure Sevek would not be separated from him? 40

  5. What did Frania sacrifice? Why do you think she did that? 42

  6. What gave Sevek the courage to brave the rats in the loft? 43

  7. For what did Sevek want revenge? 43

  8. What was the purpose of the flowers at the labor camp? 44

  9. What is ironic about the gas chambers? 45

Chapter 9



  1. What did the Nazis feel about children in the ghetto? 49

  2. What was Isaac’s illegal business? 49

  3. What attacked Sevek? 49

  4. What news brought hope to Sevek? 50

  5. What is the significance of Bar Mitzvah? 50

  6. When was Sevek alone for the first time? 51

Chapter 10



  1. What was Sevek’s first action after getting out of the train? 53

  2. What turned the prisoner’s skin yellow? 54

  3. Compare Bugaj to Czestochowa. 54

  4. Where did Isaac and his father go? 54

  5. What did Naphatali do to save the children? 54-55

  6. Why did Sevek forget most of what happened in Czestochowa? 55

  7. What three things does Sevek relate to the inhumanity of the journey to Buchenwald? 55

Chapter 11



  1. Why did Sevek feel his separation from his family was a good thing? 57

  2. Why did the man in the prison uniform tell Sevek to say he was sixteen? 57

  3. Why were the Jewish men afraid of the showers? 58

  4. What was Wily’s job? 58

  5. Who did Wily protect? 58

  6. Why did the prisoners sleep with their shoes on? 58

  7. How did Sevek feel about the dead bodies? 59

  8. What was written on the chimney? 59

  9. Name three reasons why roll call was so bad. 59

  10. Why did Sevek believe himself to be socially elite? 60

  11. What did Sevek do to keep from giving the Nazis satisfaction? 60

  12. Why do you think Sevek never allowed himself to smoke? 61

  13. How did Sevek and Harry smuggle food? 61

  14. What happened when they were caught smuggling food? 62

  15. How did Jack Weber “Save the Children” including Sevek? 62

  16. Compare Block 66 to the other barrack Sevek stayed in at Buchenwald. 62-63

  17. What happened to Jews who mistreated other Jews? 63

  18. Describe Sevek’s attitude when he saw his father for the last time. 64

  19. What realization did Sevek come to when he thought about his father? 64

Chapter 12



  1. How did Sevek know the Americans were coming? 67

  2. Who was Sevek reunited with when the Jews were rounded up? 68

  3. How did Sevek and Harry cheat certain death? 68

  4. What happened when Sevek and Harry were told to halt? 69

  5. What did Sevek tell himself to keep his will to survive? 69

  6. What happened to the Jews who were left at the warehouse? 69

  7. What was ironic about the Jews dying in the warehouse? 69

Chapter 13



  1. Why were the Nazis ordered to destroy the camp? 71

  2. How did Sevek feel about the Hungarian Jewish father and son? Why? 71

  3. What happened on April 10th & 11th? 71-72

Chapter 14



  1. What was different about these train cars? 73

  2. Who did Sevek hate? 73

  3. How long did the travel? 73

  4. What are the effects of hunger for Sevek? 73

  5. How did Sevek find food? 73

  6. Explain “sampling.” 74

  7. What was going on in this German industrial city? 74

  8. What made Sevek happy? 74

  9. How did some of the Russian prisoners of war eat? 74

  10. What did Sevek do so his stomach would not feel empty? 75

  11. What did the Ukrainian guards do to the Jews? 75

  12. Why did the Ukrainian guards not care about what they did? 75

  13. Why was everything in chaos? 75

  14. How did the German military in Czechoslovakia feel towards the Jewish prisoners? 75

  15. Who was more frightened? 76

  16. Why did Sevek not care his friend got shot next to him? 76

  17. What does Sevek find in Theresienstadt? 76

  18. What was different about Sevek’s experience when he got his hair shaved in Theresienstadt? 77

  19. What disease did Sevek catch? 77

  20. What kept Sevek from dying from this disease? 77

  21. What were some of the questions Sevek had when he discovered he was free? 78

  22. Who was reunited with Sevek? 78

  23. What did Isaac give Sevek that he hadn’t had in five years? 78

  24. What did Sevek feel guilty about? 79

  25. What happened to Aunt Rachel? 79

  26. What does Sevek’s father’s death certificate say he died of? How did he really die? 79

  27. Why does Sevek believe he will never have a normal life? 80

  28. What did Sevek believe about God? 80

  29. What did Sevek want to happen, but he couldn’t make happen? 80

  30. What is a Zionist? Why did Sevek want to be one? 80

  31. How does Sevek feel about Lola’s visit? 81

  32. Where are Isaac and Sevek going? 82

Chapter 15



  1. What are Sevek’s first impressions of England? 83

  2. What did Sevek find humorous? 83

  3. What is special about the photograph? 84

  4. What did Sevek not yet understand about food? 84

  5. What did Sevek think about his room? 84

  6. Why did Sevek not want to wear pajamas and slippers? 84

  7. What was Sevek’s medical problem at this point? 85

  8. What had Sevek missed learning to do? 86

  9. What was confusing to Sevek about the store windows? 86

  10. What did kindness mean to Sevek? 87

  11. What was important to Sevek? 87

Chapter 16



  1. What was Sevek assigned to do when he became physically well again? 89

  2. How did Sevek feel traveling alone to school? 89

  3. Describe Miss Anna Eissinger. 90

  4. What was Sevek’s concerns regarding his education? 90

  5. Why did Sevek not eat his vegetables? 91

  6. What was Sevek’s important life lesson? 91

  7. What did Sevek do to the Nazi sympathizer? 92

  8. What was the soul of Bunce Court? 92

  9. Why was Sevek depressed about family day? 93

  10. Who was Sevek’s favorite author? 94

  11. How did Sevek earn money? 94

  12. Explain what matriculation exams are. 95

  13. Why was Bunce Court valuable to Sevek? 96

Chapter 17



  1. What was different about William Ellis School? 47

  2. Why was the uniform important? 97

  3. Where was the class field trip going? 98

  4. What was Sevek’s purpose for going to France? 48

  5. How did Sevek and Irwin spend their last night in Paris? 49

  6. Who wanted to sponsor Sevek in America? 99

  7. Why did Sevek feel America was better? 100

  8. Why was Sevek sad to leave England? 100

  9. How did the Americans on the ship treat Sevek? 101



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