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Many readers of this Journal would readily identify the young boy in lederhosen, hands tightly clasped by his mother, who is in turn enfolded in the father's embrace – all three smiling on what is perhaps the child's third birthday – in the cover photograph of the American edition of the book under review. In this memoir he is Tommy, Tom, Tomek, or Tommyli; in later life he is known to us (and recognized worldwide) as Thomas Buergenthal, judge of the International Court of justice since 2000 and honorary president of the American Society of International Law from 2001 to 2009. We may have heard the essential points in his life story when he has been introduced at plenary sessions of our annual meetings – a child survivor of Auschwitz who came to this country as a young man, was educated at Bethany College in West Virginia, earned a law degree from New York University and a doctorate from Harvard, became a professor of international law and human rights activist, and has served on several of the most significant tribunals in the areas of international human rights law and general international law. He has taught and mentored generations of law students aspiring to careers in the fields in which he has made such a mark, who have drawn inspiration from the life he has lived and his unwavering optimism that the human condition can indeed be improved through law.


International Law | Law


A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy by Thomas Buergenthal, New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2009, pp. xvii, 228, $24.99.

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