Prisoner B-3087

By Alan Gratz

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Taking place in Poland during the 1930's and -40's, Prisoner B-3087 is an inspiring book based on the true story of Yanek (now named Jack) Gruener, a Jew who seems to lose everyone he loves, being forced to live in over half a dozen concentration and death camps over the course of his life. Somehow, through heartbreak and cruelty, Yanek pushes through it all with his astounding courage and his ability to hang onto hope.


Prisoner B-3087 takes place in Poland during World War 2. Like I stated before, the story features Yanek Gruener, living in Nazi-ridden Krakow, Poland in the beginning, and being taken to various concentration camps later. Prisoner B-3087 actually presents a very good lesson about life, similar to the message the woman who played piano from Terezin and loved life conveyed. Almost all of Yanek's family and friends were dead or nowhere to be found. Despite this, Yanek's story teaches us that if we did just a little more, we'll be fine in the end or that it'll be worth it later on. An example of this could be whenever he rubbed his teeth with his finger every night to try to keep clean or the times he thought to himself to just keep going and he'll be okay. Yanek wanted to be there to greet the Allies when they rescued him and the others. He encourages us to believe that if you just go the extra mile, that mile can make a 5 mile difference on you. In other words, the story tells us that when we have a rough moment in life or are working hard to achieve something, we should tough it out, and that it'll be worth it later. Furthermore, it's kind of strange that Yanek's journey (one that he was forced into) can be related to working towards a goal, but it's still quite accurate. Ultimately, what Yanek learned and went through in his mind from the time from he was hunted down is explained perfectly and as clear as possible.

Historical Information

Prisoner B-3087 is based on the true story of Jack Gruener. This means that the big events in the book are based off real events, but not 100% of the things you read in the book are true. Such as the fact that while Jack really was a real person who really went to concentration camps and was split apart from his family, some of the events and details in the story are false, or didn't happen. For instance, some names of the people referenced may have been changed, too. Overall, while a lot of the story is nonfictional and they really happened to real people, probably not 100% of the contents and experiences in the book really happened. Some parts may have just been added in to make the story more interesting, like what Jack said or thought in his time being held captive and some events. Either way, Prisoner B-3087 is definitely an extraordinary and engaging book that tells you what millions of people went through everyday, and even what might've been going through their minds and how they felt.


Cover for the book Prisoner B-3087. Digital image. Amazon. Scholastic Press, 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <>.