Thanks to my Goodreads friend Chrissie for convincing me to read this book. Because it was short and I didn’t want it to languish on my to-read shelf,Thanks to my Goodreads friend Chrissie for convincing me to read this book. Because it was short and I didn’t want it to languish on my to-read shelf, I borrowed it from the library. It never even got put on my currently reading shelf because even though I’m in the middle of a can’t put it down novel I decided to start it, a bit after midnight and ended up staying up half of the night reading it, until I had to sleep, so I finished up later in the morning. It was worth taking a few hours away from my novel to read it.
This book gives me hope that perhaps there are other elderly Holocaust survivors who will write other worthy memoirs.
This spare little book packs a punch, and it’s amazing how much the author is able to cover in this memoir, written as a letter to her father. She’s now an elderly woman. She was a Jew in France and at 15 she was sent to the concentration camps. She writes about her experiences in the camps, a bit about her life prior to that, and a lot about the scope of her entire life. While it’s true what other reviewers here have said that she hasn’t been able to get past the camps, nor have her surviving friends and relatives, I was actually impressed with how much she’s done in her life, how much good, despite the scars she continues to carry, despite how greatly her family was impacted, both during and after the war. She definitely makes a point of addressing the continued anti-Semitism in modern times and throughout various eras too, and the entirely of the book is what made it feel very important to me. I’m so glad that she wrote it and got it published.
I wish I could have read it in its original French but as far as I could tell it was a fine translation.
I mostly appreciate her honesty, as her way of expressing it cuts right to the heart of all that’s important, every time, in every way.
As I was reading I thought I might assign 4 stars to this book because I assumed I’d want more than what was contained within its 100 pages. By the time I got to the end though it felt complete. I can’t give it less than 5 stars. In a way it’s a slight book, but what’s there is brilliant and important. Outstanding book!
Note to self: Her father originally came from Poland and this author’s maiden name is Rozenberg, meaning mountain rose or mountain of roses. One of my grandparents was a Jew whose parents (My great grandparents) were born in Hungary, and their last name was Rosenberg, with the same meaning, just a different spelling. I always think of how the countries’ borders have changed over time. I know that this is a common name, but I’m interested in genealogy, and I always wonder who might be related to me, however distantly. I also recently found out that two of my other grandparents had ancestors from Poland, one might have been born there himself. Different surnames though.
Highly recommended for readers who like reading Holocaust memoirs, coming of age stories, historians, today’s young people high school and up.
“Surviving makes other people’s tears unbearable. You might drown in them.”
“...our family became a place where you screamed for help but no one heard, not ever.”
“...our history, the history of European Jews...they will never forgive us for the evil they've done to us” ...more