Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life

Sarah Kaminsky (Author) Adolfo Kaminsky (Photographer)
& 1 more

Product Details

$18.95  $17.43
Doppelhouse Press
Publish Date
October 18, 2016
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.4 inches | 0.7 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate

About the Author

Sarah Kaminsky (b. 1979 in Sidi M'hamed, Algeria) is a French actor, screenwriter and author. She was 3 years old when she immigrated to France with her father, of Russian Jewish origins and carrying an Argentinean passport, and her mother Leïla, a Tuareg Algerian. Her first book is the biography of her father, Adolfo Kaminsky, published by Editions Calmann-Lévy in 2009. It has sold over 12,000 copies in France and has since been translated into Italian, Hebrew, German, Spanish, Turkish, and Arabic. Sarah Kaminsky is currently employed as a screenwriter by several production companies in France and lives in Paris with her partner Alban and her son.

Mike Mitchell (b. 1941 in Rochdale, England) is an award-winning translator of French and German who has been active as a translator for over thirty years. He is the recipient of the Schlegel-Tieck Prize for translations of German works published in Britain, has won the British Comparative Literature Association translation competition three times, and has been shortlisted for many awards including the French-American Translation Prize, the Weidenfeld prize, the Aristeion prize, the Kurt Wolff prize, and the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger. In 2012 the Austrian Ministry of Education, Art and Culture awarded him a lifetime achievement award as a translator of literary works. He lives in Scotland.

Adolfo Kaminsky (b. 1925 in Buenos Aires, Argentina) made his living as a photographer in various fields: postcards, advertising photos, but also photo reportage on industry (for example, the coal mines of the North and the French sugar refineries). He took numerous photographs of works of art for exhibition catalogues and posters, and he was the regular photographer for the painters who were the precursors of kinetic art such as Antonio Asis, Jésus Soto, Carmelo Ardenquin, and Yacov Agam. As a specialist for giant-format photography he produced photos for film sets for Alexandre Trauner, the set designer for Marcel Carné, René Clair and others. He also took thousands of artistic photographs through his life, but has only recently started exhibiting them.


Undoubtedly one of the most captivating books of the season.
- Paris Today
Kaminsky has lived, in the shadows, the brightest hours of the Resistance.
- Le Monde
A pointed, sober biography ... of one of the world's best forgers.
- Der Spiegel
At a moment when someone's passport, or religion, can still mean the difference between life and death, Mr. Kaminsky's story remains painfully relevant, but inspiring.
- Filmmakers Samantha Stark, Alexandra Garcia and Pamela Druckerman, New York Times
Penned in unassuming, unembellished language, perhaps as discreet as Adolfo's self-effacing personality, and rendered in a smooth translation by Mike Mitchell, [...] Sarah Kaminsky dons her father's persona seamlessly by transcribing Adolfo's account to her in his own voice, so the book reads like a memoir. It is a powerful homage, written with a casual, if poignant, simplicity, often masking heartfelt conundrums.
- Jerusalem Post
Every resistance movement had its forgers, but few have told their tales. Many, like Kaminsky, were very young technicians and chemists when they began their work. Sarah Kaminsky's affectionate rendering of her father's life, with all the intricacies of his trade, is a book not just about a remarkable craftsman, but a man who strove to save "every life that was in danger."
- Times Literary Supplement
Fascinates as a case study of a man driven by a lifelong compulsion, a psychological need, to combat oppression...a moving portrait of a compelling figure in a field rarely occupied by noble persons struggling to combat evil and right wrongs.
- Manuscripts, a journal of The Manuscript Society
A detailed and touching story traversing a century in clandestine shadow crossings, where Adolfo's skill meant life... or death.
- Libération
If made into a film, the life of Adolfo Kaminsky would have the ingredients of suspense thriller, war movie, historical tragedy, intimate drama, romantic comedy and scenes of terror.
- O Globo--O Globo
While Adolfo, as the book's narrator, remains center-stage, the story is filled with dozens of courageous, intriguing characters, cogs in the wheels of freedom fighting. From them Adolfo learns that "the line between 'resistance' and 'terrorism' is sometimes very fine, difficult to feel." This necessary book provides unforgettable insights into hidden worlds of the Jews, intellectuals, and partisans who fought back.
- Jewish Book Council
Technical prowess, creativity, and self-denial drive the plot in the incredibly lucky life of Adolfo Kaminsky narrated in this exciting historical document.
2010 Reader's Choice Award
- Elle Magazine, France
Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life is "worthy of the best spy novels" and tells the story of Sarah Kaminsky's father, "the genius-forger who committed his know-how and convictions to serve the French Resistance during World War II, saving thousands of Jewish families, and many others over the course of 30 years for various causes around the world. -
[An] engrossing literary debut. ... Writing in Adolfo's voice gives this suspenseful narrative candor and immediacy.
- Kirkus Reviews
A thrilling, novelesque account of how a young man became a sought-after subversive force. [...] A triumphant wartime biography, full of heroism and near-alchemistic craftiness.
- Foreword Reviews
- Haaretz--Haaretz
A fascinating description of Adolfo Kaminsky's secret life as a remarkable document forger. [...] Simon Vance does an excellent job reading the exciting and emotional narrative. Highly recommended for biography and history collections of all libraries. (audio book edition)
- Library Journal
Sarah Kaminsky has done a masterful job. A suspenseful, captivating, and thrilling account of an exceptionally brave and daring man. ... So absorbing that I read it in one sitting.
- Don Messerschmidt, Portland Book Review
A thrilling book.
- la Repubblica