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Memories from the Abyss/But I Had a Happy Childhood

The Azrieli Foundation | The Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs

William Tannenzapf never wavered in his determination to survive and save his wife and baby girl from the evil that gripped his home town of Stanislawów. Blond, cherubic, Renate Krakauer was a “miracle baby” born as the world descended into war and soon surrounded by misery and death. Starved and enslaved, Tannenzapf entrusted his daughter to a Polish family so that little Renate could live in “childhood oblivion” – yet still under the eyes of her loving parents. Later reunited and thrown into the trials of refugee and immigrant life, Krakauer’s thoughtful observations provide fascinating insight into the perceptions of a child survivor and offer a poignant counterpoint to Tannenzapf’s adult reflections on the same events. This gripping volume offers the reader the rare opportunity to read survival stories from two members of the same family.


William Tannenzapf was born in 1911 and his daughter, Renate, was born in March 1941, during the Nazi occupation. The family immigrated to Canada in 1948. William Tannenzapf passed away in 2011 at 100.

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