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Auschwitz and After

(Auschwitz, et après (Auschwitz and After) #0)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  1,016 ratings  ·  69 reviews
In March 1942, French police arrested Charlotte Delbo and her husband, the resistance leader Georges Dudach, as they were preparing to distribute anti-German leaflets in Paris. The French turned them over to the Gestapo, who imprisoned them. Dudach was executed by firing squad in May; Delbo remained in prison until January 1943, when she was deported to Auschwitz and then ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published February 27th 1997 by Yale University Press (first published April 26th 1995)
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  1,016 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Dec 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Ryan by: My Holocaust literature professor Lina Insana
Shelves: favorites
This is easily one of the most moving and influential books I have had the privilege to read. After living through the truly horrific experience of imprisonment in Auschwitz, Charlotte Delbo has managed to turn her pain into art. It is a combination of prose, poetry, vignettes, and prose-poems. At first, the formatting and structure may strike the reader as jarring, but even this has its purpose. It is intentionally done in this way to convey the shreds of memory that exist after the rupture of ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Whew. I had to stop, several times, and put this book aside and finished it much later than I thought I would. Not only is the subject powerful, but Delbo's writing takes away your breath and makes you ache. I thought about giving this book four stars just because it's so emotionally difficult to read, but I don't want anyone to be dissuaded from attempting it by a lower rating. Auschwitz and After should be on everyones "to read" list. ...more
anna ✨
Aug 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
Key words from this book: hope(lessness), guilt, cold, why?.

I am almost afraid to rate/review this, because how can you rate/review a book about this topic? Who am I to say whether or not I liked the way someone wrote about their trauma/experiences?
This book was heart-breaking, but in a way I have never read before. The writing style seemed detached and not as emotional as other Holocaust literature I've read which I think is interesting. It also communicates what Delbo makes clear: "You cannot
Mar 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: great-books
The poems in this book are so painful to read, but also life-affirming at the same time (can't explain it better than that). The first read destroyed me, I'll admit, but I was steeped in a Holocaust Lit class so my atmosphere was heavy. Later, on subsequent re-reads, it became easier. Her poems are accessible, in terms of rhyme and meter, and her themes, while obviously not joyful, are important for us to read and remember. Buy this book, put it on a shelf and read a poem once in a while. Delbo ...more
Peter Landau
Dec 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
AUSCHWITZ AND AFTER, a trilogy of memoirs by Charlotte Delbo, a French resistance fighter who lost her husband to a firing squad and spent the war in concentration camps, is not an easy read. It shouldn’t be. Her straight-forward, often poetic, reflections on her and her co-captives’ internment is like a description she writes of the people in cattle cars being delivered to the camps: they expect the worse and find the incomprehensible. The details are what stay with me. How the constant thirst, ...more
Alexander Weber
Nov 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-stars
4.5 / 5. Maybe higher. This needs to become standard holocaust reading. Up there with Levi, Frank, Frankl, and Wiesel. Maybe more of a stepping stone after those authors though, as the structure and experimental nature of the writing makes it harder to read. Plus one requires a good grasp of the history and situation, as Delbo doesn't really give you much of that.
I found so many things to like about this sad, sad, sad book. Her attempts at communicating the horror, her struggle with memory, and
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Charlotte Delbo tells in such painstaking detail and with a deep well of emotion her life, as sorted into her time at Auschwitz and after. She concludes that there is no before. Her examinations on memory and the impact of survival are, in my opinion, absolutely crucial for any sort of understanding of the Holocaust. I am devastated and moved by her account. There were times I had to pause because her words snagged on my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Her ability to tell a story both so per ...more
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly powerful writing from a French political prisoner, interned in Auschwitz. It is refreshing to read an account of the female experience of the camps, especially in such a beautiful combination of poetry and prose. The attention devoted to life after liberation and Delbo's return to France makes this something of a landmark; this work should be hailed alongside that of Wiesel and Levi as the epitome of Holocaust testimony. ...more
Jul 02, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: holocaustmemoir
Maggie used this book for many samples and prompts in the survivor writing workshop at USHMM. Really some of the best written memoir out there, in my opinion.
Emma Rategan
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking. I wrote my undergraduate honors thesis primarily upon this book.
Katie Greenwood
Mar 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's always difficult reviewing books that pertain to the Holocaust. Part of me doesn't feel qualified and part of me wonders if in some way it's disregarding the author's experience. With that in mind, as I mentioned in my 'review' for Night by Elie Wiesel (here) this will be more a discussion.

Auschwitz and After details the experience of Charlotte Delbo who was a French Resistance fighter that ended up in Auschwitz and a few camps before eventually being liberated. Interestingly, she was not
Dec 12, 2020 added it
A haunting, but very moving, read. I’ve read works from other survivors but none have moved me as much as this one. The mix of prose and poetry, the vivid imagery of the camps and the final part of the trilogy that explored the survivors lives after Auschwitz combined to make a very reflective and inward exploration of trauma, whilst somehow managing to include many other voices and their experiences.
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: This review is only for the first section: "None of Us Will Return."

Of all of the Holocaust literature I am reading (graduate class on the subject), the language of this is the most resonant. A question arises as to whether expository or creative memoir best serves the purposes of witnessing something as humanly tragic as the Holocaust. Not to discredit prosaic and expository memoir, but, as in most cases in life (who on GOODREADS is going to argue against this?) the creative wi
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Auschwitz and After was a haunting read that was unlike any book I have read about the Holocaust. Taken from the perspective of a French woman who had been a part of the French resistance, it relives the experience from a woman who was prosecuted for her activities. It is an experimental memoir and truly encapsulates the horrors of the camps with vivid detail that was terrifyingly poetic. It was unconventional and at times choppy. However, being a fan of poetry, I felt the plight of Delbo on a l ...more
Feb 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chelsea Zwayer
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly depressing and very very good. I find that many Holocaust books retroactively frame and apply a certain structure to the whole experience--not on purpose, I think, but for the sake of trying to explain what happened to people who weren't there. Delbo is good at recreating the experience and emotion of the Holocaust without ascribing a sensible plot that wasn't there in reality. It was crazy and it was awful and in many ways it did not end with the war. In fact, in many ways Delbo did ...more
This book is one of those good books that you find difficult to say how good it is.

Delbo was imprisoned in Auschwitz (and Ravensbruck) because of her involvement with the French Resistance (her husband was killed). This was written long after the events and is a blend of poetry and memory.

It is readable and wonderful and heartbreaking. They really should reach this in school,to be honest.
One of the best memoirs to come out of the Holocaust. Charlotte Delbo was not Jewish. She was a supporter of the Resistance movement who was arrested and deported along with several other women out of France. Charlotte tells her story through a series of vignettes and poems. It is a powerful tribute to those who endured (whether they survived or ultimately passed away) those horrific times. The Holocaust must never be forgotten.
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Even though I've barely started the first volume of the trilogy, I can tell that the combined narratives will be one of the most powerful Holocaust texts I've ever read.

Delbo's mix of dramatization, poetry, reflection, autobiography, flashback, vignette, and play-like acts is impressive.

The last volume is the most moving, as it gives the accounts of Delbo's comrades' return "home."
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of the hardest books I have ever read. At times I found myself sobbing, or uncontrollably angry. Her gentle words weaved into poetry paint a wall of grief that seems insurmountable.
It is truly one of the most wonderful books I have ever read, despite the pain and horror I felt. These emotions made me thankful for my life and grounded me towards what is truly important.
Rochelle Jewel  Shapiro
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is written in brilliant, spare prose and poetry. You will never forget it. It's nothing like you've ever read before. Even if you've read a thousand Holocaust books or never wanted to read one at all, you must read this. ...more
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A hauntingly beautiful memoir. Her prose and poetry invoke feelings that many other survivors have failed to evoke. A true insight into the experiences of the Holocaust as well as the survivors guilt felt afterwards. Cutting and deeply felt.
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Chilling first person testimony of the horrors of Auschwitz and After. Difficult to describe this work with words like 'beautiful', 'accessible' and 'empathising', because it is simultaneously incredibly horrible, alien, and opaque. Definitely worth reading, but it will not be easy. ...more
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
best holocaust book i've ever read. delbo is stark, acute, jarring, and wise.

nothing like other holocaust books. this woman is amazing.
Sarah Ngaothong
Jan 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite works - heartbreakingly honest, brilliantly descriptive writing.
Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The most affecting Holocaust memoir I've ever read, period. ...more
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-studies
This lyrical composition renders the experience of the camps in visceral visual form. It is a haunting work, an exquisitely rendered poem of horror.
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Incredible...the author's words create a story so multilayered in moved me to tears like no other.
Just finished...
Apr 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The best holocaust book I have read. The best part is the memoir after the holocaust. Five star writing. Great literature.
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, uni-reads
Charlotte Delbo's memoir left such an indelible mark on me that I ended up finishing it in two days after starting while also writing notes in between, and ended up doing a comparative report with this work and Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz/If This Is A Man that I got an A+ on and encouragement from my professor that I will do absolutely great in graduate school and could also write a conference paper on the topic. More than anything, it's Delbo's poetry that truly left me feeling as though ...more
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Charlotte Delbo was a French writer chiefly known for her haunting memoirs of her time as a prisoner in Auschwitz, where she was sent for her activities as a member of the French resistance.
Born in Vigneux-sur-Seine, Essonne near Paris, Delbo gravitated toward theater and politics in her youth, joining the French Young Communist Women's League in 1932. She met and married George Dudach two years l

Other books in the series

Auschwitz, et après (Auschwitz and After) (4 books)
  • Aucun de nous ne reviendra
  • Une connaissance inutile
  • Days and Memory

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