Sixteen-year-old Michel Mielnicki was taken to Birkenau, survived a death march, worked in the slave labour camp at Mittelbau-Dora in Germany and was finally released from Bergen-Belsen. The emotional cost on both survivor and amanuensis alike is made clear in his memoir Bialystock to Birkenau: The Holocaust Journey of Michael Meilnicki (Ronsdale $19.95) which provides harrowing first-hand accounts of Birkenau, Buna, Mittelbau-Dora and Belsen.

Historian John Munro, who transcribed Mielnicki's words, wrote, "...his depression, already clinical, became profound. I can only guess how ghastly this must have been for him. For me, his Holocaust experiences filled my dreams to the point where constant nightmares interrupted my sleep, which caused me to begin to worry about my own sanity."; Mielnicki's story ends with a blistering indictment of the callousness of the British liberators, and his discovery on returning to Poland that no Jew was safe there. Born in 1927 in Wasilkow, a few kilometers from Bialystok in north-eastern Poland, Mielnicki immigrated to Canada where, from his home base in Montreal, he became known as "Mr. Michel";, one of Canada's premier fur fashion designers. 0921870-77-9