Der Boxer von Reinhard Kleist

Kleist, Reinhard. Der Boxer. Carlson, 2012.

ISBN 13: 978-3551786975, 200 pages.

Sample Text: First and Second Page: Miami, September 1963. ,,Wenn mein Vater etwas sagte, duldete er keinen Widerspruch. Ich wäre lieber mit meinen Geschwistern an den Pool gegangen..aber Vater bestand darauf, dass ich ihn begleiten sollte.

Ich hatte oft Angst vor ihm. Für mich war er der stärkste Mann der Welt, schliesslich war er einmal Boxer gewesen. Er war kein Vater, der mit seinem Sohn Baseball spielte, und häufig war er jähzornig.”

Divided into three main parts, this biographical sketch tells the true story of Hertzko Haft, concentration camp survivor who later went on to become a professional boxer in the United States.

Der Boxer

Der Boxer

Part 1 details his life in the concentration camp and his subsequent escape. In realistic and disturbing pictures, Kleist introduces the reader to the sport of boxing in the concentration camp: staged fights performed for the amusement of the officers. As Kleist shows, Haft had to box other prisoners who barely had the strength to stand in the ring.


Part 2 covers his emigration to New York City, where he began a boxing career. His most significant fight was against Rocky Marciano. As the book chronicles, he intentionally lost after having been threatened by the Mafia.


Part 3, the notably shortest section of the book, deals with reuniting with and reconciling with family. Hertzko meets up again with his former girlfriend Leah and begins speaking with his son about the past. Hertzko’s son, whose words had opened the book, also ends the book with these words: ,,Es dauerte vierzig Jahre, bis mir mein Vater schliesslich seine Lebensgeschichte erzählte.”

An extensive appendix entitled Boxen im KZ offers a brief yet comprehensive historical summary of this phenomenon, photos of Haft that the author contrasts with his own sketches, and biographies of other Jewish boxers.


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