The Gazebo

by Alexander Lebenstein; Don Levin



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 12/1/2008

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 6x9
Page Count : 312
ISBN : 9781438931722
Format : E-Book
Dimensions : N/A
Page Count : 1
ISBN : 9781467056779

About the Book

November 10, 1938. Germany. Kristallnacht. Night of Broken Glass. Eleven year old Alex Lebenstein comes face to face with the Nazi regime that is determined to exterminate all Jews from the face of Europe. After witnessing the beating of his family, they escape to be hidden for a few days before being forced into the newly created Jewish Ghetto where he will spend the next three years. A six day cattle car ride during one of the coldest winters on record to the larger Jewish Ghetto in Riga, Latvia is merely the first destination of what will become a three year battle of survival. From the concentration camps Kaiserwald and Stutthof, and slave labor camps Hasenpot and Burggraben to liberation and escape, teenaged Alex Lebenstein lived the sights, sounds, and smells of death. Despite facing execution, and living under the shadows of the crematoria chimneys that darkened the skies with black smoke, this is a tale of hope and wonder.

“It has been some sixty plus years since I have thought about a number of the events that I witnessed or survived during the time that I was a teenager. I must refer to myself as a teenager, and can’t say child, because I largely did not have a childhood after the evening of Kristallnacht. This dark period of my life was so traumatic that it is only recently that I have been able to confront the shadows and noises that still cause me to start whenever I see or hear them.”

“Of all the sights and sounds that left a lasting impression on me during the years that I fought to survive, there is no doubt that the sounds I experienced while we huddled on the gazebo are the ones that will forever haunt me. Even now, I cannot hear the sound of leaves scraping on the sidewalk or the bricks of my apartment without flashing back to the time that we huddled on that old gazebo and that eerie sound of dead leaves and vines added to the sheer terror that I was feeling.”

More than a story of survival, this is a tale of good triumphing over evil, and one man’s battle to make a difference in the lives of children. With a new lease on life, he now promotes tolerance through education on two continents, and tells his remarkable story so that the children will know.

About the Author

Alexander Lebenstein, is the sole surviving member of the Jewish community of the town of Haltern-am-See, Germany. At the time of Kristallnacht, Alex was only eleven years old. Alex endured life in two ghettos, two concentration camps, and four slave labor camps before liberation in 1945.

For the past 12 years, Alex has spoken on the Holocaust and Tolerance to schools both in the United States and Germany.

 In 2008 Alex had the honor of Ehrenburger, or honored person, bestowed upon him by the city of Haltern am See as well as having the city’s middle school renamed the Alexander Lebenstein Realschule.  He is the first living person to have a school named for him.

Alex is the father of two sons, has two grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Alex resides in Richmond, VA.


Don Levin, is a former Attorney at Law with over 13 years of general practice experience. He is also a retired U.S. Army officer, with over 23 years of commissioned service. He is also a past senior sales leader for two Fortune 200 companies, and is currently President of a leadership coaching company.

Don earned his JD from The John Marshall Law School, his MPA from the University of Oklahoma, and a BA from the University of Illinois-Chicago. He is also a graduate of the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College and the Defense Strategy Course, U.S. Army War College.

Previous works include the military legal thriller The Code, the legal story Broken Code, as well as the historical fiction novel Knight’s Code. He is also the co-author of The Leader Coach: Exposing Your Soul.  

Don is very active with his church, and resides with his wife Susie, in Richmond, VA. They have five children and eight grandchildren, and two dogs named Barnes and Noble.