Press kit for A Match Made in Hell

Editor's statement | Reviews | Author's photo | Author's bio | Cover image

A Match Made in Hell
The Jewish Boy and the Polish Outlaw Who Defied the Nazis
Larry Stillman
From the testimony of Morris Goldner

Editor's statement

This is an amazing Holocaust autobiography, unlike any other. A story of survival by any means, it's the memoir of a Jewish boy who turns the tables on the Nazis, and becomes, along with his mentor—a sociopathic gangster—a righteous, vengeful, yet oddly innocent guerilla fighter.
—Raphael Kadushin, Humanities Editor, UW Press


"I can remember crawling out from beneath my father's lifeless body." From the first line, this Holocaust memoir grips you with its searing action. At the same time, it raises crucial moral issues. In 1943, in southern Poland, Morris Goldner, 16, was rescued by Jan Kopec, a notorious criminal who trained the small, quiet Jewish kid as a ruthless accomplice in armed robberies and sold the boy's services to the partisans. Now Goldner lives in Chicago, haunted forever by what he saw and what he did. Stillman allows the survivor to tell his story in a riveting first-person narrative. On the one hand, it reads like a fast-paced Bonnie-and-Clyde outlaw adventure. But there's absolutely no romanticism either about the Holocaust horror the boy witnesses (including the roundup and massacre of his own family) or about his own role as robber, saboteur, and killer. The outlaw brutalizes the boy; did the boy humanize Kopec? When is killing justified? Discussion groups will want this one. (Reviewed November 1, 2003) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

Rarely has the old saw about war making strange bedfellows been more appropriate than in this story of a small 16-year-old Jewish boy and one of rural Poland's most notorious criminals, Jan Kopec. Stillman has found a very different kind of Holocaust story, full of drama and adventure. When Hitler's army invaded Poland in 1939, Goldner and his rural Jewish family were spared from immediate roundup. But by 1943, he had witnessed his mother and sister being herded onto a train and been left for dead beneath his father's body, both of them shot and bayoneted by a collaborator who had been one of his father's childhood friends. After Kopec, Goldner's unlikely rescuer, nursed him back to health, the pair began an 18-month partnership in which Kopec received money from partisans for having Goldner carry out acts of sabotage against the Nazis. His small size, courage and ability to learn—Kopec trained his young charge in marksmanship, a renegade German soldier taught him fluent German and a Gypsy trained him in hand-to-hand combat—resulted in impressive victories for area partisans. Goldner blew up trains and bridges used by the Nazi army and photographed Jews arriving at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Stillman has done a remarkable job tracking down what little documentation exists in order to corroborate Goldner's unique story, making a trip to the region, meeting with former neighbors and with the children and grandchildren of Jan Kopec.
—Publishers Weekly, 8/18/03,
Copyright 2003, Reed Business Information, Inc.

Author's bio and other information

Larry Stillman is a writer living in Lake Forest, Illinois. Morris Goldner now lives in Chicago and is retired from the garment trade.

Return to the web page for A Match Made in Hell.


Media & bookseller inquiries regarding review copies, events, and interviews can be directed to the publicity department at or (608) 263-0734. (If you want to examine a book for possible course use, please see our Course Books page. If you want to examine a book for possible rights licensing, please see Rights & Permissions.)



cover of Stillman's book is an illustration of barbed wire, a child fleeing and a sheet of flames
This cover image can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a 300 dpi version, click here,

Note: the Wisconsin edition is for sale only in the United States and U.S. dependencies, and in Canada.

Author photos

These photos can be downloaded and used in any web-based publicity for this book. For a 300 dpi version, click on the image, or its caption. Note that these are larger images, and take a while to load.

photo of author Larry Stillman
Larry Stillman

photo of Larry Stillman and Morris Goldner
Larry Stillman and Morris Goldner

Home | Books | Journals | Events | Text | Placement | Authors | Related | Search | Order | Contact

If you have trouble accessing any page in this web site, contact Kirt Murray, Web manager. E-mail: or by phone at 608-263-0733.

© 2003, The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System