Josef Katz (1918-1990), the son of a leather merchant, was 23 years old in 1941 when the Nazis deported him from his home in Lübeck, Germany, to internment ghettos and concentration camps in Latvia. He would endure four years of unrelenting brutality in Riga, Kaiserwald, Stutthof, numbers of smaller camps, and a death march in Germany, where he was finally liberated. Returning home to Lübeck, Katz began recording his intense memories as a diary, completing it in 1946 in New York, where he emigrated with his new wife.
In New York, Katz was employed as a shipping clerk, before he established himself in a textile concern in Los Angeles, where he died in 1990.
His memoir book was first published in English translation in 1976.