Friday, February 20, 2015

Guest Post: Jerry Amernic, Author of The Last Witness

The Last Witness

Synopsis: The Last Witness - Jerry Amernic - October 2014

The year is 2039, and Jack Fisher is the last living survivor of the Holocaust. Set in a world that is abysmally complacent about events of the last century, Jack is a 100-year-old man whose worst memories took place before he was 5. His story hearkens back to the Jewish ghetto of his birth and to Auschwitz where, as a little boy, he had to fend for himself to survive after losing his family. Jack becomes the central figure in a missing-person investigation when his granddaughter suddenly disappears. While assisting police, he finds himself in danger and must reach into the darkest corners of his memory to come out alive.

Goodreads Link:


Guest Post on why I wrote about the Holocaust by Jerry Amernic for Paula at The Phantom Paragrapher.

Why did I choose to write a novel about the Holocaust and why set it in the future? I have long been fascinated and horrified with the Holocaust, the greatest human tragedy, the greatest mass murder, in history – a singular event from which came the word genocide. The fact that a country like Germany, one of the most modern and industrialized nations on earth, could perpetrate something so horrible, so beyond imagination, has gnawed away at my brain for years.

Alas, one day in the not-too-distant future there will be one last living survivor. Let’s say this person was a male born in 1939,  which makes him a child survivor. He was born in the Jewish ghetto of Lodz, the second largest city in Poland, and as a Jew he was a hidden child or the Nazis would have taken him. But when his family is discovered living in the sewers below the old city, the entire group is whisked away to the death camp. Auschwitz.

In the year 2039 this man would be observing his 100th birthday, and that is how my story begins.

The Last Witness is a novel about the last living survivor one generation down the road. But what will the world be like then? If it’s anything like today, and current trends continue, I must assume that the overall level of knowledge about the Holocaust will be less than it is now. It will be a world that is woefully ignorant and complacent about events from the previous century.

This then is what befalls my central character Jack Fisher, who lives in a New York seniors’ residence, when he gets involved in a missing-person investigation concerning the sudden disappearance of his great-granddaughter, a schoolteacher in Canada. Running in tandem with that near-future story line are flashbacks about the young Jack as a little boy in the Jewish ghetto and later in Auschwitz, and how he managed to survive.

It’s readily apparent that anything written about the last survivor of the Holocaust has to be set in the future, although not far off. I should add that not one real-life child survivor whom I interviewed in my research – and there were many – considered my premise about ignorance of the Holocaust a stretch. And just to illustrate how sad the current state is of Holocaust knowledge and knowledge about World War II, I produced a video where we asked university students some very basic questions. You can see the results for yourself.

The Last Witness is a thriller, albeit a historical thriller. And while I hope it engages the reader, I also hope it leaves that reader with a message.
The Last Witness on Amazon:

Author Bio:
Jerry Amernic is a Toronto writer who has been a newspaper reporter and correspondent, newspaper columnist, feature contributor for magazines, and media consultant. He has taught writing and journalism at college, and is the author of several books.

His first book was Victims: The Orphans of Justice, a true story about a former police officer whose daughter was murdered. The man became a leading advocate for victims of crime. Jerry later wrote a column on the criminal justice system for The Toronto Sun, and has since been a contributor to many other newspapers. In 2007 he co-authored Duty – The Life of a Cop with Julian Fantino, the highest-profile police officer Canada has ever produced and currently a member of the country’s federal Cabinet.

Jerry’s first novel Gift of the Bambino (St. Martin’s Press, 2004) was widely praised by the likes of The Wall Street Journal in the U.S., and The Globe and Mail in Canada. His latest novel is the historical thriller The Last Witness, which is set in the year 2039 and is about the last living survivor of the Holocaust. The biblical-historical thriller Qumran will be released next. It’s about an archeologist who makes a dramatic discovery in the Holy Land.

Jerry’s Website:
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