The University of Wisconsin Press

Memoir / Holocaust Studies / History–World War II

A Match Made in Hell
The Jewish Boy and the Polish Outlaw Who Defied the Nazis
Larry Stillman
From the testimony of Morris Goldner

"From the first line, this Holocaust memoir grips you with its searing action. . . . A riveting first-person narrative. . . . Discussion groups will want this one."

A Match Made in Hell is the award-winning memoir of shy Jewish teenager Moniek (Morris) Goldner joining forces with hardened Polish criminal Jan Kopec to survive in Nazi-occupied Poland. First trained as Kopek's accomplice in robberies and black market activities, the orphaned Goldner eventually becomes an accomplished saboteur of the Nazi war effort for local partisan groups. Through it all, Goldner and Kopec forge a remarkable friendship and co-dependency born of need and desperation in a hellish time and place.

Larry Stillman (left) is a writer living in Lake Forest, Illinois. Morris Goldner (right) now lives in Chicago and is retired from the garment trade.

Description from the cloth edition:
When Moniek (Morris) Goldner and his family were uprooted from their Polish farming village during a German aktion, the child-sized sixteen-year-old fled into the forests. He eventually met up with his father, who had also escaped, and together they managed to survive until a former friend betrayed the pair. Wounded and left for dead beneath his father's murdered body, Goldner was rescued by the enigmatic outlaw Jan Kopec, who was also in hiding, looking for ways to profit from his criminal expertise.

For eighteen months Kopec hid the boy with him, moving from one area to another, often staying in hideouts he had fashioned years earlier. At first Kopec trained Goldner simply to serve as his accomplice in robberies and black market activities. But before long he pushed the training to a whole new level, making it possible for him to sell Goldner's services to a shadowy resistance group which was becoming interested in the daring young saboteur.

And through it all, these two disparate personalities—the quiet, small-framed boy and the stocky, callous mercenary —forged an remarkable friendship and codependency born of need and desperation in a hellish time and place.

For information about other UW Press books of related interest, see our page at Jewish studies/Judaica titles

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cover of Stillman's book is an illustration of barbed wire, a child fleeing and a sheet of flames

August 2005
LC: 2003005677 DS
258 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $19.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-19394-2
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"One of the most thrilling reads I've come upon in years. It's simply written, even when dealing with such complex issues as the political underground in wartime Poland, and such difficult subjects as the ethics of war. . . . Adults and teenagers alike will go for it. It's a winner."
—Felice Picano, author of The Lure and Onyx

"A Match Made in Hell is a bold, honest account of an ordinary young man thrust into extraordinary circumstances."
—Tzivia Gover, author of Mindful Moments for Stressful Days

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Updated July 2, 2013

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