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Let Me Go

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  1,226 Ratings  ·  209 Reviews
A powerful memoir in which Helga Schneider describes her relationship and final encounter with her mother, a former SS guard at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In 1998, Schneider is summoned to her 90 year-old mother's nursing home in Vienna. The last time she has seen her mother is 27 years earlier. Then, she had asked her to try on her treasured SS uniform, and wanted to give her sev

Kindle Edition
Published (first published 2001)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
At times it was difficult to continue reading this book. I stayed with it because of the mother-daughter connection. It would be hard not to feel revulsion toward oneself, knowing you were spawned by such a despicable creature. It sickens me just to think I'm a member of the same species as Helga Schneider's mother. We're not really the same species, though. I am homo sapiens and she was homo monsterus horribilis.

It's bad enough that a woman would abandon her two small children without hesitati
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decidí compaginarlo con LTI para "empaparme" bien de nazismo real y veraz en primera persona. Este libro me ha ido golpeando duro en el estómago en cada rato de lectura. Es terrible observar la manipulación y "lobotomía" que pueden abocar a determinados seres a actos sin un ápice de dolor ni arrepentimiento. Una historia, una conversación, tan cruda y un comportamiento tan crudos y dolorosos que sólo te demuestran la locura humana.
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a deeply compelling and disturbing chronicle of a daughter's final visit with the mother who abandoned her decades before in order to become a prison guard at Auschwitz. The author wrestles deeply during the visit as she seeks to understood what possibly could have motivated her mother to make the choices she did. She weaves in her personal history as she attempts to relate to and reconcile with the senile stranger she hasn't seen more than a handful of times in 30 years. She probes her ...more
Feb 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An important, emotionally intense and difficult book, which should be requisite reading for anyone trying to understand what happened in Germany during the Nazi era. It is, basically, the portrait that a daughter makes of her own mother, an unrepentant and ferocious jewish-hater Nazi who, decades after the fall of the regime, still hangs on to her despicable beliefs. The frankness and discomfort of the author are heartbreaking. She tries to reach out to her mother when the latest is gravely ill, ...more
Sara Cristina
Gosto de livros relacionados com esta temática (Holocausto), achei a premissa interessante, o testemunho de uma menina, filha de uma SS. No entanto, não foi daqueles livros que me tenha puxado tanto, como os outros. Talvez porque eu já tenha lido imensa coisa sobre o Holocausto e queira algo que me surpreenda cada vez mais.
Aug 27, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a strange read. I felt conflicted most of the time when reading this account. The style of writing is nothing special, but the content is quite haunting, though not in a good way. This is the account of an obviously confused and troubled daughter who has been abandoned by her mother when a small child so that the mother could serve Hitler in the SS. Helga (the daughter, and writer), though in her 50s now, has understandably been tormented by imaginings of what her mother did and saw as a gu ...more
Jan 28, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Brutal. Simply brutal. I listened to it on CD and had to stop listening several times. First, there's the reality. The mother was an SS guard at birkenau concentration camp. The book includes details of atrocities to Jewish men, women and children that are very difficult to hear. I listened because I never want to forget.

Unfortunately, more difficult to hear was the daughter's voice. I don't mean the woman who was reading the book, not that voice. No, it was the daughter's writing, her attitude,
Nov 22, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a gripping and heart-wrenching memoir, that "spoke" to me on several levels. The author was born in Poland in 1937, and grew up in Berlin. When she was only 4, her mother abandoned the family to join the Nazi SS cause. She worked in the concentration camps, assisting in the work of genocide. Her daughter learns the terrible truth years later and spends decades of her life with no contact with the mother, until learning that she is becoming senile and weakening in a nursing home. She relu ...more
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e, narrativa-tedesca
In così poche pagine ci si trova a contatto con una sofferenza così grande: la sofferenza di una donna che deve affrontare la presenza ingombrante dell'assenza della madre, votata a una causa superiore ignobile fino alla fine dei suoi giorni; la sofferenza dell'odio e del disgusto mischiato al bisogno comunque incessante di avere una madre, da amare o da odiare, che porta al non potersi separare da lei, dall'idea di lei, e quindi al non poter andare oltre. E sullo sfondo il ricordo di una grande ...more
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Helga é ormai una donna che ha superato la mezza età quando decide, dopo tantissimi anni, di rivedere la madre che ormai novantenne, vive in una casa di riposo ed è vicina alla morte.
Cosa ha tenuto per così tanto tempo lontana una figlia dalla madre malata? Il passato violento e crudele della madre stessa che durante gli anni della guerra é stata uno dei membri più attivi e partecipitivi delle SS.
La madre di Helga infatti, ha abbandonato i giovani figli per seguire quello che per lei era uno s
Kelsey Hanson
This is a short, but incredibly intense book about the author's attempt to connect with her former SS mother before she dies. My heart goes out to the author. This book was hard to get through at times, I can't imagine living it. The author's mother is completely unrepentant about her actions during WW II and a complete believer devoted to Hitler's ideologies. The author struggles to deal with both the abandonment of her mother in an especially challenging time period as well as coming terms to ...more
May 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The searing, heartwrenching, courageous, and horrifying account of a daughter's second visit in 57 years to her German mother who abandoned her when she was four years old to join Hitler's SS. Interspersed with a telling of the events of the visit are the author's memories of her childhood and of her previous visit to her mother in 1971. I recognized many German attitudes and behaviors from my own experiences with growing up with a German mother who lived through World War II, and the book has e ...more
Eva Leger
Jul 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Eva by: myself
This is a great book- it's the story of a little girl who was abandoned at a very young age along with her small brother and father by her mother. Her mother decided she'd join the SS and went to work in the camps. I can't say it's the best book on the subject as a whole but it's a different perspective than I've read before and it accounts her mother still at a very odl age, not showing a bit of remorse for her actions. In fact, her mother shows the exact opposite even very near death. This goe ...more
Jun 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A true story about a young girl whose mother was active extrremely committed to the Nazi party, so much so that she essentially abandoned her husband and young children because of it, joining the SS and becoming a concentration camp guard. This narrative is written by her daughter and tells some of her mother's story and also their final meeting at a nursing home, nearly 60 years after she left in 1941. Her mother's lack of remorse is chilling. The language in the book is a bit stilted at time, ...more
Helga Schneider, una delle più noti testimoni del periodo nazista dal punto di vista dei civili vittime della guerra, è ritornata fra le mie letture con il suo romanzo sicuramente più intimo e sofferto: quello in cui narra dell'incontro con la madre, che aveva abbandontato lei e il fratello da piccoli per seguire la sua vocazione, ovvero diventare guardiana SS nei campi di sterminio del Fuhrer. Helga, abbandonata alla tenera età di 5 anni, rivede brevemente la madre negli anni '70 per poi ritrov ...more
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
¡Qué duro leer este libro! A veces era difícil seguir leyéndolo. Seguí debido a la "relación madre-hija" y saber si había arrepentimiento o remordimiento por parte de la madre.

Déjame ir, madre es una crónica profundamente convincente e inquietante de la visita final de una hija (Helga Schneider) a la madre que la abandonó a los cuatro años para convertirse en guardia de la SS en el campo de concentración y exterminio de Bikernau (Auschwitz II). La autora lucha profundamente durante la visita mie
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
La sensazione suscitata da questo libro è un desiderio fortissimo di farsi la doccia e strofinarsi la pelle con tale forza da rimuoverne gli strati superficiali. Così si diventerebbe una persona nuova, vergine, e si sarebbe pronti ad affrontare un altro carico di orrore come quello donatoci da Helga Schneider.
Carico di orrore che non è solo dato dalla "trama" (se di trama si può parlare in un romanzo autobiografico) ma sopratutto da come questa viene affrontata, in un modo che definire morboso
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heart-rending and gut-wrenching.

How do you confront the fact your mother was a Nazi concentration camp guard? How do you reconcile that she abandoned you and your baby brother because her love for the Nazi regime was greater than her love for you? How do you live with the knowledge she has no remorse or regret for her acts and indeed, proclaims pride and glee over her actions in Ravensbrück and Auschwitz?

Helga Schneider has not seen her mother Traudi in 20 years. When she is contacted by her mo
"I've lost. I've lost again." I agree. She got no answers. It seems the times she saw her mother were a waste of time because so many questions were left unanswered! I want answers! So yeah, I feel that leaving yet another time with nothing answered is a loss. I feel she wasted so many years feeling this anger or mixed emotions or whatever you want to call it due to her mother abandoning them that she missed that chance when she might have gotten some answers because she let so many years go by ...more
Jul 08, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am half way through this book and not sure I am going to continue.
Yes, it's interesting/horrifying to hear a first hand account from someone who is (still) loyal to Hitler.
Yes, it's an abandoned daughter who is trying to understand her mother's leaving.

Mostly? It's an obsessed daughter who is trying to vilify her mother to make it "ok" that she left. She pushes a 90 year old woman, who has had to live with her actions, and yeah, sticks with the whole 'what I did for the Fuhrer, I did because
Anna Dorywalska
I started reading this book on the floor of Imperial War Museum bookshop. Affected by an exhibition I just saw, I wandered to the shop and this piece caught my eye.

The story, of course, is heartbreaking. Helga decides to visit her mother and confront her about her past as a Nazi SS guard at concentration camps. The book recalls conversations that took place that day and describes crimes committed by Schneider's mother and her "comrades" during WWII. What's so horrible for the author, and the rea
May 04, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I just had to read this book because the premise is so unbelievable. The author's mother voluntarily abandoned her husband and children to become a Nazi guard at Auschwitz. It's very difficult to believe someone would do that. The author's mother is an absolutely unlikable human being. Besides the horrible things she did to her family and with her life, she's just a nasty woman. I don't understand how the nursing home where she lived was so accepting of her, almost cherishing her. They put up wi ...more
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WWII buffs and memoir-lovers
I'm seeing you again after twenty-seven years, Mother, and wondering whether in all that time you have understood how much damage you did to your children. I didn't sleep a wink last night. It's almost daylight now; I've opened the shutters. A smoky veil of light is brightening above the roofs of Vienna.

I'm going to see you again today, Mother, but what will I feel? What can a daughter feel for a mother who refuse to be a mother so that she could join Heinrich Himmler's evil organization?

Helga Schneider cuenta su experiencia de verla a su madre por segunda vez, cuya madre fue parte del Waffen-SS durante la segunda guerra mundial, cuya madre la abandono cuando tenia 4 años, cuya madre no le importo que la visitará con un nieto que anhelaba una abuela; fue una madre cruda, vil, un monstruo, quien en la residencia de ancianos siempre declaraba que se sentía orgullosa de lo que había hecho por los pobres judíos.
Es un relato corto en que Helga lucha constantemente contra la "madre" q
Fliss Blanch
Jan 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me cry - really, really cry. Helga Schneider was born to a woman who abandoned Helga when she was four years old to devote herself to Hitler's regime. She became an extermination guard in Ravensbruck and became involved in the ''experiments'' of the prisoners. Helga did not see her mother again until 1971 but found herself feeling revulsion when her mother insisted that she try on her SS uniform. Helga decided to have a final meeting with her mother in 1998 to find out if they sti ...more

Helga e' stata abbandonata dalla madre da bambina. Fervente nazista, la donna ha deciso di diventare guardiana di un campo di concentramento.

Parecchi anni dopo, diventata adulta, Helga reincontra sua madre, ora anziana che risiede in una casa di cura. Un incontro sconvolgente, tra una donna che vuole risposte ed un'anziana che non ha mai rinnegato la sua fede nazista, nemmeno dopo la piu' rovinosa delle disfatte.

Emblematica la scena in cui la vecchia madre, orgogliosa di conservare ancora la su
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am struggling to come to an exact rating to give this book. I think I will go with a 2.5-3.0 star rating.
I found that I wanted to throw the book many times while reading it, but stuck it out to see if there was any redemption in the end.

This book is a memoir of Helga Schneider. She was abandoned by her mother during World War II to join the Nazi SS. Her mother ultimately became a guard at various concentration camps, including Auschwitz. This is the story of her last meeting with her estranged
L.n. Drunkengoth
Nov 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hja-research
It's difficult to express how much I thought of this book.

The final meeting between a woman and her mother who is still the strong manipulative woman she once was, but also confused and disorientated by the ravages of dementia. The woman was abandoned by her mother at the age of 4 for the Waffen SS, treated unkindly by her stepmother, and still desperately seeking a connection that has never, and will never, be there.

I was left, just as the author appeared to be, wondering if the mother was tell
Let Me go by Helga Schneider. It's a short book 165 pages, but vey intense as well. Helga and her brother and father were left when her mother decided to abandon the family in favor of going for advancement in the Nazi party and the SS, sentiments which she held to her dying day in complete contrast to her daughter's. The meeting and the conflict was totally painful to the daughter. The woman was intelligent, a fanatic, and a manipulator especially where her own wants were concerned. No one was ...more
Should I be ashamed if, every now and again, instinct, my instinct as a daughter, gets the better of morality, of history, of justice and humanity?

The failed story of a mother and a daughter. A non-story.

No, I don't hate her. It's just that I don't love her.

This is confusing. It's heavy and depressing on so many levels.
Abandonment, forgiveness, war and evil...
Helga Schneider's mother leaves her in 1941 to follow her beliefs in the Third Reich. They next meet in 1971 and then again in 1998, the
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So, did she? 1 9 Oct 11, 2015 08:29PM  
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Nasce nel 1937 in Slesia (territorio tedesco che dopo la seconda guerra mondiale sarà assegnato alla Polonia). Nel 1941 Helga e suo fratello Peter, rispettivamente di 4 anni e 19 mesi, con il padre già al fronte, vengono abbandonati a Berlino dalla madre, che arruolatasi come ausiliaria nelle SS diverrà guardiana al campo femminile di Ravensbruck e successivamente di Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Helga e Pet
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