The #1 international bestseller retold for young readers

This page is about the North American edition. For the UK & Commonwealth edition, go here.

The extraordinary true story of The Boy Who Followed his Father Into Auschwitz, the number one Sunday Times  and international bestseller, published in 2020 to huge acclaim and translated into 19 languages. Now retold specially for young readers aged 10 and upwards.

When everything is taken away from you, love and courage are all you have left.

Fritz Kleinmann was fourteen when the Nazis took over Vienna. Kurt, his little brother, was eight. Gone were their days of going to trade school or playing soccer on the street. Under Hitler’s brutal regime, the safety they had once felt in the city was ripped away, and their Austrian Jewish family of six cruelly torn apart.

Taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, Fritz and his papa, Gustav, faced hard labor and starvation. Meanwhile, Kurt made the difficult voyage, all alone, to the other side of the world – to America – to escape the war.

When Papa was transferred to the infamous Auschwitz concentration camp, Fritz – desperate not to lose his beloved father – insisted he must go too. Together, they endured countless atrocities to survive.

Jeremy Dronfield retells the Kleinmanns’ true story through the heroic journeys of Fritz and Kurt, capturing their harrowing tales of bravery, love, hope, and survival through an authentic and accurate lens.

The name Auschwitz was enough to make anyone’s heart quail. If the stories were true, being sent there meant certain death…

“That night, Fritz was haunted by the memory of Papa standing with the other doomed men. The thought of being parted forever was more than Fritz could stand. He knew Robert was right. He knew he had to forget about his father if he wanted to survive. But how could he live without his beloved Papa? How could he stand by and let him be taken away?

“By the next morning, Fritz had decided what he needed to do…”

This new telling of the story has been freshly researched and written for middle-grade readers aged 10+ and will educate and inspire children with the powerful real-life account of two brothers’ experiences during the Holocaust.

The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz interweaves two incredible true stories, following brother Fritz and Kurt, who – on opposite sides of the world – navigate one of the most appalling periods in modern history. And through remarkable courage, they find that hope can emerge even in the darkest of times.

The book features photographs and maps.

 A free Guide for Parents, Guardians, and Teachers is available, containing teaching resources to support readers and contextualise the book’s history. 

US edition

Author Jeremy Dronfield says: “Ever since The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz was first published, I’ve had readers tell me how deeply affected they’ve been by the story of Fritz and Kurt and their family, and that they want their children to be able to read it. It was important to me that this must be a completely new telling of the story, not just a simplified edition. I revisited my original research, uncovering new information and fresh insights, which explained things that had been mysterious before, and truly unlocking the experiences of two boys sent along such different, traumatic courses. I can’t wait for everyone to have a chance to read this book.”



"Shattering, astonishing"


"Brilliantly written, vivid, powerful"



"Deeply moving and brimming with humanity"


Brilliantly written, vivid, a powerful and often uncomfortable true story that deserves to be read and remembered. It beautifully captures the strength of the bond between a father and son.

Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Heart-wrenching, yet compelling, the vivid true story of a father and son’s survival of absolute horror. Beautifully written, deeply poignant in its detail, it is a necessary testament today in the fight against Holocaust denial.

Dr Helen Fry, historian and author of The London Cage: The Secret History of Britain's WW2 Interrogation Centre 

The horrors of the Holocaust are effectively conveyed on a human scale in this gripping account … accessible even to those with no knowledge of the relevant history. 

Publishers Weekly  

A thoroughly researched, deeply grim account of the Kleinmanns, a Viennese family devastated by the Holocaust … One of the most moving aspects of the book is the relationship between Fritz and his father; both struggled mightily to stay together, and neither was interested in abandoning the other … The resulting swift, novelistic narrative clarifies the brutality in ways that traditional histories sometimes do not.

Today, when studies are showing many Americans know little about the Holocaust, this will serve as a compelling remedy: a personal and universal account of brutality at its worst and of family devotion at its best.

Kirkus starred review 

Copyright © Jeremy Dronfield 2023

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