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If, By Miracle

Nearly buried alive, ten-year-old Michael Kutz narrowly escapes the Nazi death squad that has killed four thousand Jews, including his own family, in his hometown of Nieśwież. Guided by his mother’s last words and determined to survive, he becomes the youngest member of a partisan resistance group in the dense Belorussian forest, taking part in daring operations against the Nazis and their collaborators. After the war, Michael embarks on an odyssey through Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, and, finally, Canada, as he tries to find a home where he can leave the horrors of his past behind. Translated from the original Yiddish, If, By Miracle is the gripping and compelling story of a courageous and resilient young boy searching for freedom.

Introduction by Anika Walke

At a Glance
Escaped from mass grave
Postwar Italy, displaced persons camp
War Orphans Project
Arrived in Canada in 1948
Adjusting to life in Canada

184 pages, including index

2015 Living Now Silver Medal

Recommended Ages

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Photo of Michael Kutz

About the author

Michael Kutz was born in Nieśwież, Poland (now Belarus), on November 21, 1930. He arrived in Canada as a war orphan in 1948 and lived in Winnipeg before settling in Montreal in the early 1950s, where he joined various charitable organizations dedicated to helping disadvantaged youth, the elderly and war veterans. Michael Kutz passed away in 2020.

Explore this story in Re:Collection

I didn’t see anyone outside the pit, so I jumped out…. I had the feeling that my mother was running beside me and calling out to me, “Michael, run faster and don’t look back!”