The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million
In this rich and riveting narrative, a writer's search for the truth behind his family's tragic past in World War II becomes a remarkably original epic—part memoir, part reportage, part mystery, and part scholarly detective work—that brilliantly explores the nature of time and memory, family and history.
The Lost begins as the story of a boy who grew up in a family haunt...more
The two teenage girls at the right in the back row in this picture are my paternal grandmother and her sister. Their parents and grandfather are in the front row. The picture was taken around 1900. A few years later, my grandmother, rebellious and politically inclined, left the small town in Poland and came, alone, to the United States. She was one of the very few members of her family to escape the Holocaust.
Like many American Jews, I don't know precisely what happened to my relatives. Daniel ...more
“A toda essa distância, ao fim de todos aqueles anos e ali estava ela, sentada à mesa comigo, ali estava ele, a conversar comigo ao telefone, ali estavam eles, ali andavam eles se soubéssemos onde encontrá-los: recordando-os.” (P.167)
Ester, Bronia e Schmiel Jäger
on her recent visit to France. At the time, she had no idea how interested in this book I would be.
The memoir recounts Daniel Mendelsohn’s search for information about the lives and deaths of his great uncle and his family. His journey starts with only one sure fact: his Uncle Shmiel and family were killed during the Nazi occupation of eastern Poland (now Ukraine).
As a Ukraine-phile, I was particularly in ...more
The book focuses on one man's search to find out more about 'the lost,' six members of his family (an aunt, uncle, and four cousins) who perished in the war, but no one knows exactly how. He travels to multiple countries over several years interview ...more
Mendelsohn is the self-appointed family historian who, after an entire childhood of listening to his grandfather's stories, decides to find out what happened to the family members who were left out - his grandfather's brother, his wife, and their four daughters, who were "killed by the Nazis". With little more to go on (when he begins his search, he was unsure ev ...more
What happened to Shmiel Jäger, his wife Ester and their four beautiful girls? Emigrants to their relatives in America, they died at the beginning of the occupation of Galicia by the Germans denounced by their good Polish. Born in 1960, Daniel Mendelsohn, nephew of Shmiel has always doubted the official version, and from his childhood, began searching for the truth. This book is both the result 'of a life of inquiry, and the story of the investigation itself.
Even for a Holocaust narrative, this is a particularly brutal story. It's not about the banality of evil or about people rationalizing genocide because they are only signing a paper rather than looking someone in the eye and killing them with their own hands. It's about ordinary people given permission to personally commit horrific acts of violence against people they'v ...more
Did the author think he's above quote marks, or did his editors talk him into this fiasco because it’s the latest "cool" trend? This stupid trend leads to complete reader confusion.
The author is searching for information about his six relatives who were killed in the Holocaust. He travels to Poland, Australia, and Sweden to interview elderly Holocaust survivors. It’s utterly engrossing…until he begins relating the inter ...more
Mendelsohn was a little obsessive about trying to find information, but his story made me remember how easy it is to forget an entire life (and how easy ...more
A friend sent this to me about a year ago, insisting that I would love it. It took me awhile to brace myself to enter in, given the subject matter.
It does get off to a slow start. However, once it gets going, it is so many things. Maddening, heartwarming, sorrowful, fascinating, spiritual, and flat-out amazing. When one considers the Holocaust, my main experiences were in a learning environment in school - so to take this journ ...more
I usually have a hard time with most non-fiction books, my attention drifting after a few chapters, because they typic ...more
I liked the parallel of the story side-by-side with commentaries on the Torah. The sections on the Torah were dense and sometimes difficult to read, but they leant a more spiritual flare to the author’s search.
I wondered early on where his editor was, as run-on (and on and on) sentences were abundant throughout. I often had to go back to the beginning of the sentence to even remember what it wa ...more
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It is this temperamental failure to understand Sodom in its own context, as an ancient metropolis of the Near East, as a site of sophisticated, even decadent delights and hyper-civilized beauties, that results in the commentator's inability to see the true meaning of the two crucial elements of this story: the angel's command to Lot's family not to turn and look back at the city they are fleeing, and the transformation of Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. For if you see Sodom as beautiful -which it will seem to be all the more so, no doubt, for having to be abandoned and lost forever, precisely the way in which, say, relatives who are dead are always somehow more beautiful and good than those who still live- then it seems clear that Lot and his family are commanded not to look back at it not as a punishment, but for a practical reason: because regret for what we have lost, for the pasts we have to abandon, often poisons any attempts to make a new life, which is what Lot and his family now must do, as Noah and his family once had to do, as indeed all those who survive awful annihilations must somehow do. This explanation, in turn, helps explain the form that the punishment of Lot's wife took- if indeed it was a punishment to begin with, which I personally do not believe it was, since to me it seems far more like a natural process, the inevitable outcome of her character. For those who are compelled by their natures always to be looking back at what has been, rather than forward into the future, the great danger is tears, the unstoppable weeping that the Greeks, if not the author of Genesis, knew was not only a pain but a narcotic pleasure, too: a mournful contemplation so flawless, so crystalline, that it can, in the end, immobilize you.”