Anna Rosner Blay

If All The Seas Were Ink

A Schindler Jew

If all the seas were ink … Memoirs of Jozef Gross


Reviewer: Paul Bartrop

The Australian Jewish News, Melbourne edition, Friday 2 December 1994


The survivors of the Holocaust are now either senior citizens or are approaching that status. In recent years, many of them, feeling the need to commit their experiences to paper while they are still able, have produced an increasing number of memoirs and other forms of recollections.

                 If all the seas were ink …is one such work, a short, concise and honest account of day-to-day activities of people living through the Holocaust. Its subject, Jozef Gross, was born in Cracow in 1904, the fifth of eight children. His specialty was metallurgy and gold jewellery, and it was the skills he acquired in this profession that eventually came to save his life.

                 For, as a so-called ‘Schindler Jew’ working in the German entrepreneur’s factory, he was able to make not only locks and other commissioned iron wares, but also a few additional trinkets which he traded for extra food and other necessities of life. Although guarded by Nazis in the manner of a concentration cam, Oscar Schindler’s factory was not such a camp as conventionally understood and offered some degree of sanctuary to its worker-inmates from the wider horrors of the time, this book showing just a little of what that meant.

                 In telling the story of just another lowly individual caught up in the maelstrom of war, it also shows that one did not necessarily need to hold high office as a political leader or a military figure or a resistance fighter to act heroically, and that one need not write long books to leave one’s account to posterity. Author Anna Blay has captured the thoughts and emotions of her uncle Jozef Gross with such seeming felicity that he might be addressing his readers personally.


Memoirs of Jozef Gross, A ‘Schindler’s List’ Survivor

First published 1993; revised edition 2004.

Hybrid Publishers, Vic., Australia.

ISBN 0 646 15260 2

Anna Rosner Blay