Zaidy's War - Book Review


Zaidy's War

Author: Martin Bodek
Genre: Non Fiction - Memoir
Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers
Date Published: December 22, 2010
ISBN-10: 9493276473
ISBN-13: 978-9493276475


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Book Review of :  Zaidy's War


Martin Bodek has crafted a masterful narrative in his nonfiction volume, Zaidy's War. Four Armies. Three Continents. Two Brothers. One Man's Impossible Story of Endurance. It is a story that immortalizes the remarkable life of Benzion Malik (known as 'Zaidy').

Bodek's engrossing nonfiction book, Zaidy's War, starts with Benzion's birth in the Transylvania territory of Romania in 1918 - a child born against incredible odds. Tragedy had haunted his mother, who had experienced ten pregnancies and lost eight children before giving birth to Zaidy. His mother had little hope she'd survive labor unscathed; miraculously, she did. Zaidy also survives childbirth, which was the beginning of his extraordinary life.

The author dedicated years to interviewing, recording, and videotaping his grandfather's stories. He researched and authenticated Zaidy's memories of his involvement in World War Two. Much of the exhaustive research involved translating written texts from Yiddish to English. Antidotes and stories from family members were also authenticated and included.

Readers are invited on a journey deep into Jewish culture with terminology and references that may be unfamiliar but nonetheless captivating. By navigating through "pet" names and given names alike, today's readers get to enjoy this unique documentation of one man's story held within history itself.

Bodek's goal is to document his grandfather's resilience during World War Two. Zaidy was first called into the Romanian Army in 1939 at the age of 21. By law, he was not permitted to be a soldier but must perform menial labor for the military. There was no kosher food, so starvation was possible. He and other Jews were badly mistreated. Within the year the Romanian army was transferred to the Hungarian Army. Again, he was forced into labor as a slave. Germany took over the Hungarian army base. He was selected to serve as a laborer with the Germans against the Soviet Union. Later, he found himself in the Soviet army.

Zaidy's story also includes the devastation of his entire family in the concentration camps. His own narrow escapes from death are climaxed with the ruins he finds at home. He eventually emigrates to Israel and later to the United States.

Zaidy's story is a powerful, authentic reflection of World War II's horrific impact on one Jewish family. Through captivating first-person details, readers will be deeply moved by Bodek's unflinching depictions of war and the mistreatment the Jewish population experienced under Nazi rule. It unpacks their struggles through eye-opening first-hand accounts that will shock and move readers. Vivid photographs accompany the narrative to provide an intimate glimpse into this difficult time. Bodek's extensive notes further reinforce research capabilities for libraries or individual researchers looking for accurate information about this time period. This invaluable book should have a place in every library seeking to preserve its unique story for future generations.

Reviewed by: carole

About Martin Bodek


Martin Bodek was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He currently lives in New Jersey with his wife and three children. He is an avid marathoner, Daf Yomi participant, Wordler, vexillologist, and halvah aficionado. He is a technologist by day, and a writer by night. He has been writing freelance for over two decades, mostly on Jewish interest topics. He is the co-creator of a popular Jewish news satire website called His work has been published in The Huffington Post, The Denver Post, The Washington Times, The Jewish Press, Country Yossi Magazine, Modern Magazine, The Jewish Link of NJ, The Jewish Book Council,,,, and His work has also been translated for Germany?s only weekly Jewish newspaper, The J?dische Allgemeine. He has served as the beat reporter for and as the surname columnist for The Emoji Haggadah, The Festivus Haggadah, The Coronavirus Haggadah, and The Shakespeare Haggadah generated much praise and media attention, and were covered in The Jewish Week, The Jewish Link of NJ, Jewish Vues, Vos Iz Neias, Jewish Book Council,, The Forward, Jewish Journal, J-Wire, Vox, The Jewish Press, The Jewish Fund, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Telegraphic Agency, The J?dische Allgemeine, Moked, various blogs,,, New York Shakespeare Instagram Live, The Cindy Grosz Show, and The New York Times. Zaidy?s War is his eleventh book, and it might be his most important.

Visit for more information on Martin Bodek


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