This is the story of one remarkable young woman's unimaginable journey through the rise of the Nazi regime, the Second World War, and the aftermath. Mania Lichtenstein’s dramatic story of survival is narrated by her granddaughter and her memories are interwoven with beautiful passages of poetry and personal reflection. Holocaust survivor Mania Lichtenstein used writing as a medium to deal with the traumatic effects of the war.
Many Jews did not die in concentration camps, but were murdered in their lifelong communities, slaughtered by mass killing units, and then buried in pits. As a young girl, Mania witnessed the horrors while doing everything within her power to subsist. She lived in Włodzimierz, north of Lvov (Ukraine), was interned for three years in the labor camp nearby, managed to escape and hid in the forests until the end of the war.
Although she was the sole survivor of her family, Mania went on to rebuild a new life in the United States, with a new language and new customs, always carrying with her the losses of her family and her memories.
Nearly eighty years after liberation, we are still witnessing acts of cruelty born out of hatred and discrimination. Living among the Dead reminds us of the beautiful communities that existed before WWII, the lives lost and those that lived on, and the importance to never forget these stories so that history does not repeat itself.
The author creates a vivid picture of her grandmother, Mania Lichtenstein (or ‘Bubbie’ as she was known in the family). Amongst her ‘warm and wonderful’ memories of her grandmother are Mania’s love of books, classical music and opera, her fondness for dancing and the solace she found from writing prose and poetry.
Mania’s wartime experiences, as told to the author by her grandmother, are augmented by what is obviously the product of extensive research by the author if the detailed references at the end of the book are anything to go by. These sections of narrative contain a wealth of factual detail as well as some stark and sombre statistics. For example, that between the 1st and 3rd of September 1942, 25,000 Jews were shot and buried in mass graves they had earlier been ordered to dig. I found it particularly chilling that the Nazis set a ‘quota’ for each pogrom they carried out. The author recalls her grandmother describing the Nazis as precise and organized, keeping meticulous records of numbers. ‘Once the quota was met…not one more person would be killed.’
The narrative is interspersed with extracts from Mania’s own writings and poems recalling the experiences she endured. These are not always arranged chronologically which confused me slightly at times. There is also some repetition of events. For example, the circumstances of the death of Mania’s sister, Nechamka, and an episode in which Mania and others are forced to hide in an attic are mentioned a number of times. I can only imagine this is deliberate on the author’s part, perhaps out of a desire that Mania’s memories should be unexpurgated or to reflect the recurring nature of her recollections about this traumatic period of her life, even many years later.
Through a combination of chance, and the courage and generosity of others, Mania escaped two pogroms and survived the horrific conditions in the ghettos. She always saw this as fate taking a hand. “I and the other survivors were meant to survive so we could remind the world of the atrocities committed and also tell the world that there once existed in Europe a rich Jewish life and culture, which due to one man’s madness, was extinguished.”
The book describes the importance to the Jewish community of, where possible, continuing to adhere to religious practices and of marking significant dates in the Jewish calendar even in the squalor and overcrowding of the ghetto. In a sense, it was an act of resistance against the repression and persecution they were suffering just as potent as the acts of sabotage we commonly associate with the Resistance movement. And as Mania notes, it was a mark of Hitler’s failure “to wipe all Jews off the planet”.
Living among the Dead is a remarkable story of endurance and courage told without any literary flourishes. Because of the subject matter, it is not an easy read but it is an important one. As the author observes, “Her [Mania’s] story is now history. But, because she somehow miraculously survived horrific events and unimaginable degradation, her family, her faith, and her hope – they survive too.” Or in the words of the author’s son, Mania’s great-grandson, “I breathe and walk among others because of her.”
I thought that this was an incredible account of a young women’s life during the Holocaust as told by her granddaughter – it was a completely addictive read.
I have been reading a lot of books that are based on this period lately and this is a must read for everyone with an interest in history.
The account shows not only what it was like, it also shows the importance of belief, love, life and perseverance in what can only be described as horrendous times that I hope we never encounter again.
This was a truly wonderful and compelling look at a woman’s life which was told in many of her own words from the Holocaust – very highly recommended, this is a book and story to treasure – 5 stars from me!!
My normal practice is to begin to write, immediately upon closing a book, to let my impressions flow to form my review, raw and real. My feelings upon closing this book would not allow for this.
Such a huge crushing weight settling on me made it hard to do anything at all for a while.
Like all members of my (baby boomer) generation, safe in my Canadian middle-class existence, I know and am appalled by the unthinkable acts of WWII that allowed for the conception, planning, engaging of support, and finally the execution of the egregiously heinous acts of the Holocaust.
This book provides an up close and personal account in the words of an actual survivor, - one who lived through the horrific experiences we can only imagine, and emerged, forever traumatized, on the other side, as one of the twenty or so young people remaining out of a town of 26,000, and the only living member of her extended family.
“Bubbie” Lichtenstien, beloved grandmother of the author of this novel, was born and raised in Wodzimeriz, Poland, where she lived with her “elegant and modern” mother, father, and two sisters. Her mother loved to dance, and taught her daughters dance steps in the kitchen. Her father, a literate and gentle man, owned a pharmacy and was passionate about gardening.
Bubbie also delighted in her father’s garden, finding joy in the beauty of the “three Cherry trees covered with pink blossom and the golden faces of sunflowers, tall and bright”.
As she grew, Bubbie and her sisters enjoyed the movie theatres, dance halls, and live theatre offered by their mainly Jewish town. Bubbie loved the music provided by their radio, a source of “immense pleasure” and longed to play the piano, although she knew the family could not afford one.
At 6 a.m. on the first of September 1942, Bubbie” Lichtenstein was twenty years old when the Germans began their first systematic “cleansing” of her home town of Wodzimierz Poland.
Bubbie would, miraculously, eventually survive three more “cleansing” attacks - the Germans carrying out each act of mass genocide with “soulless precision and intensity” until their “quota” of Jews to be exterminated was reached - until the eventual “liberation” of her town on July 20, 1944.
I had to take breaks in reading this, so overwhelming was it to hear and experience first-hand exactly how much evil can be enacted in a world gone mad. At the same time, it was impossible to turn away from the images spinning in my head.
“Nobody felt like a human-being any more.”
After “liberation”, Bubbie and the other survivors no longer had any feelings, dreams or desires. Wandering in a country which was no longer home, they went where-ever they were let in.
In one supremely touching scene, Bubbie returns to visit the family home, now in rubble, and finds her way to her beloved garden. Hanging on the fence, she sees what turns out to be her oldest sisters blue fuzzy slippers, dancing in the breeze. And in the distance - “our three little cherry trees stood blooming, as if proclaiming, in spite of it all - life goes on.”
Bubbie’s bravery in finding the words to tell her devastating story is summed up in her own words.
“I and the other survivors were meant to survive so we could remind the world of the atrocities committed and also tell the world that there once existed in Europe a rich Jewish life and culture, which due to one man’s madness was extinguished .”
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read this book. As difficult as it is to face these horrors (admittedly from the safety of my couch), how can we not arm ourselves with all the compassion we can bear, “using our voices”, now and every next time they are needed, in support of our core humanity.
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, Never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, Never the tormented.”. (Elie Wiesel)
A great big thank you to the author, (and her heroic grandmother), for a review copy of this soul-crushingly life-affirming book, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts presented are my own.
We know about how the trauma is absorbed by the children of survivors; I continue to be impressed with how the trauma is now evidenced by the 3rd generation - the grandchildren. This is a loving story of a granddaughter, who tells the story of her grandmother's survival. She is perpetuating the commitment to "Never Forget."
Another sad story of Holocaust, another story of survival, and I know that not all of them have been told yet. Here is a grand daughter retelling her Bubbie's story, whose name was Mania Lichtenstein. It is truly amazing that she survived and also was never sent to a concentration camp. In part it was due to her ability to observe, read people and situations, but also in part it was thanks to the good people who helped her hide. The book is a mixture of the story in author's words, research, and Mania's own words and poems. I wish there were more accounts that would help the reader to get to know Mania and her friends better.
I feel like the author could have done a bit more research on the Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish and Soviet situation before and during the war. Each nation had their own struggles, villains and heroes. I did not really like that all Ukrainians were portrayed as antisemitic. There were groups that surely did everything that Bubbie said. However, there were many Ukrainians in Wlodzimierz who were hiding Jews, and there are articles and pictures of their reunions out there, such as this one:
Not to mention that the vast majority of the Ukrainian people were a part of the Soviet army, and they were fighting the Nazis. Also in this book the Soviet army is called the Russians. In reality, "the Russians" (the Soviet army) included men and women from 15 different republics (nations) as can be seen here (only one of these guys is ethnically Russian in this picture):
Unfortunately, there were some Jewish people mixed in some very bad Soviet politics and cruel things before WWII, which did not help the Jewish image among the local population whether it was Polish, Ukrainian or Russian. It does not mean, of course, that all Jews were bad. It is the same about all people. There are stories even about some German soldiers stationed in Wlodzimiertz, who would warn Ukrainians and Jews about the coming pogroms. And some of them lost their lives for helping too.
Your new book has reached Malaysia, and a Zionist Chinese individual in an Oriental household. We are a local community of seven million people, non-Muslim, in an Islamic country of 23 million who rule us and are Muslims.
Of these seven million Chinese, the majority are fourth to ninth generation domiciled in Malaysia. This diaspora experience has made me fall in love with the Jewish race since childhood.
It is difficult finding ourselves in Malaysia. Islam is as a dark specter, and is very antisemitic, and the vitriolic scriptures of that faith are loudly proclaimed from minarets. We tremble as non-Muslims, because the antisemitism affects us more immediately than most understand. The Orientals here are often referred to as 'Jews of East Asia,' and our enterprise and diligence are the target of envy.
Never give up, Adena, in your service in any aspect under the loving gaze of Hashem. The Creator loves you most profoundly, and you have done Heaven a good, powerful and commendable service with your devotion in authorship, your legacy of progeny and Jewish heritage, and your defense of memory, remembrance and chronicling.
Never give up. Understand that antisemitism is a very real issue. In the past three years, I have in my professional life met other Caucasians who finally revealed how vehemently they despise Jewish culture, and I have of course met Arabs, Malays and other Muslims, who either scream at me, because I love the Yahudi (the local Muslim way of spelling Yehudi), or force me out of their lives when it became clear I won't deny the Holocaust.
There was an Arab family in recent months that I came across, in my community development work.
They admit they know the Holocaust happened, and they confess that the State of Israel is rightfully existent in West Asia and that it is a good and proper country. They admit these things, and agree that the restoration of Israel is sacred and just. Yet, after all these confirmations and pleasantries, this Arab family still concludes and declares, they hate Israel and want the Jewish State dismantled.
The situation possesses a hate that is very entrenched.
I am daily conscious of the fact I'm bioracially Chinese; the collective memory of our ethnic suffering in the Axis onslaught defines us deeply. Your latest book is very, very important in protecting the ultimate reason for Israel's purpose: to supply dignity, belonging and security for bnei Yisrael, which has long been hounded from country to country, friendless and homeless.
In this coronavirus season, know that you have even begun to induce teardrops and anguish in a soul fifteen thousand nautical miles away in southeastern Asia. I feel comforted you stand up for your history and record the lives snuffed out. That is very holy work. Barukc Hashem, the fact powerful women like you exist, who keep the accounts scribed and told.
Am Israel 'Chai.
Victor Jen, Chinese Republican, noncommunist, non-Muslim
[This review was first shared to Adena Astrowsky, and is affirmed for reproduction here. The contributor urges middle schools to consider adding Astrowsky's publication to classroom texts and reading reflections.]
Like many others, I read this eye-witness memoir of the Holocaust while living through the Coronavirus pandemic. The overlap helped me with perspective, as one disaster was human-borne, while the other is one of those episodic freaks of nature. The Holocaust was preventable, but no prevention occurred and six million lives were lost. Containment of the current pandemic has failed, resulting in thousands of global deaths as of this posting, with more inevitable.
One individual who lived through the epicenter of WWII’s holocaust under hellish circumstances was the author’s grandmother, Mania. The name is ironic, because she’s the only one in her family to survive the Anti-Semitism mania set off by Adolf Hitler.
Mania was one of a very small number of Jews from her town to escape a planned and executed extinction of her faith in Poland. Also living through the unsettled life that followed, Mania continued to live, never shook of the departed and the traumas of her life or understood why she was spared, calling it “fate.” Mania dealt with the burdens of her memory by writing about it in poetry and a diary – along with telling her oldest grandchild, the author, about her experiences. Doing this deprived her of sleep after every telling, but she wanted her story to be known to the wider world. If Mania had that kind of strength and resolve, we who did not live through that horror can learn from it. This book very effectively provides that education.
In our lives today many of us groan over the inconvenience of staying at home to prevent the spread of a pandemic. What we are facing pales in comparison to what Mania went through as WWII waged. Living Among the Dead not only provides a riveting eye-witness account of a one of the most atrocious events of human history, but a perspective changer for us to keep in mind as the pandemic rages. Read it.
With today being Holocaust Memorial Day I thought it the perfect time to share this heartbreaking memoir I was privileged to be sent. I always find it’s hard to write a ‘review’ of a Holocaust book, they’re all such incredible and harrowing stories that reviewing them doesn’t seem the right term to use. Instead I’m just sharing it with you in the hope that others will read it and learn more about this terrible episode in our world’s history.
Adena records her grandmother Mania ‘Bubie’ Lichtenstein’s story with precision and the result is a unique and very detailed documentation of what life was like in a Jewish ghetto. We’ve heard stories of the horrors of Auschwitz but far less is recorded about the other equally appalling aspects of the Holocaust across Eastern Europe, as even fewer Jews survived it. I didn’t come across the atrocities committed by the Einsatzgruppen, or Hitler’s paramilitary extermination squads, until I was training to become a History teacher and was lucky enough to work with the Holocaust Educational Trust at the IoE. So little is recorded of the murders of Jews in the towns where they’d always lived, of the mass killings that took place in villages far and wide, and of the burial pits in forests that they themselves had been forced to dig. So little is recorded of that because the whole process was so ‘efficient’ that entire communities were wiped out in the space of a night.
Mania was one of the lucky ones, if you can say that, who managed to escape that fate on not one but several occasions, and to evade the Nazi’s final solution for her. But her story didn’t end there and, like others who came through it, she had to try to adjust to life after the Holocaust, to find some semblance of normality again, and to build a life for herself, the sole survivor of her entire family. Again, we don’t talk so much about what life must’ve been like for survivors, who’d not only witnessed unspeakable horrors but had everything taken from them, who had no homes to go to and no lives to return to. Everything that once was theirs had been destroyed and so they had to start again, in a world that felt unsafe and with nowhere to turn. It’s difficult to imagine what that displacement must’ve been like but Mania’s story covers some of that ground, and her will to go on and build a new life for herself and her family is incredibly inspiring.
I feel very privileged to have been given a copy of this story and though it is certainly harrowing I am glad to have read it. It is an important book that needs to be shared in classrooms everywhere as it really does shed new light on a topic that isn’t discussed as much but that everyone should know about. Thank you Adena for recording your Grandmother’s story, may we never forget.
Powerful Story of the Resilience of the Human Spirit
What an incredible story, and my thanks to the author for sharing this deeply personal story of her grandmother's life. History is not just facts and dates. Real people live and suffer because of governmental, religious, or societal dictates. Before reading this book, I felt like I only had a general sense of Hitler’s genocide of the Jews outside of the concentration camps. I hadn't realized the extent of what happened in the Jewish ghettos throughout Eastern Europe, or that the pogroms were repeated within the same region. Her grandmother was, indeed, lucky to survive, or as Bubbie would put it, fate that allowed her to live. I found the story a compelling, page-turning read like few others. I adored that the author put in photographs of her grandmother. Especially in the photos with her great-grandchildren, she radiated strength and kindness despite the horrors she lived through. I could see it in her eyes. What resilience! It is amazing how she rebuilt her life into such a meaningful one. It is a tribute to the human spirit that she could continue to live her life fully even though she felt the effects of the Holocaust her entire life. As a “word” person myself, I love the idea that she wrote a journal and poems to help her continue to process her experience as it kept intruding into her life, even though back when she started, the power of that kind of work wasn't understood as it is now. But Bubbie knew. I am glad it gave her comfort and a voice so that she could be heard by future generations. If you have an interest in reading stories about real holocaust survivors (especially ones with some of their own words), this is a good one.
I received a free copy of this book, but that did not affect my review.
I've read a lot of historical fiction WWII books, but I've not read many survivor accounts and biographies about victims of this war. I always love reading about this time period and learning more things about it, it absolutely baffles me how such cruelty was done to so many people and so many still survived and found a way to live through it. This book portrays just that.
Reading this book was such a lovely experience. Adena goes over her grandmother's life, with her grandmother's poems and writings dispersed throughout, showing just what a miracle and hero her grandmother was.
This book had a lot of research, it was really factual and I really enjoyed learning some new things that I'd never heard about, especially the different pogroms that happened in the ghetto where Mania was growing up. When reading books about WWII, fiction or nonfiction, you often mostly get a vision of what it was like for Jews or other people in England, France, Germany, Spain, but hardly ever in Poland/Russia/Ukraine and I really appreciated how this touched on other atrocities that happened to Jews, but not in concentration camps. We often don't hear much about ghettos and the people who lived in them during the war, but they are just as important, and we need this information to "never forget" so we can stop this happening again.
My favourite parts of this book were the little poems and stories written by Mania, they were so heartfelt, beautiful, devastating and it really made the story so much more. I highly recommend.
“It is unbelievable how much one takes for granted: freedom, respect, water, food, and sleep…” -Mania Lichtenstein
Any book about the Holocaust can be a difficult read, especially if your ancestors were among those who are woven into its history.
This particular book is beautifully written and very compelling. Adena Bernstein Astrowsky’s grandmother, a Holocaust survivor, wrote about her trauma, staying alive despite the odds, and her extraordinary life. Astrowsky has compiled her grandmother’s writing, allowing the reader to consider the “bits and pieces of that life.” The author’s goal in writing this book is to keep her grandmother’s memory alive by telling a “story of hope and survival when all else was lost.” Additionally, Astrowsky hopes it will also “foster understanding and empathy.”
Part history lesson and tender memoir, this story will break hearts and force the reader to reflect on the resilience of Mania Lichtenstein, Astrowsky’s maternal grandmother. “Bubbie” was a woman of courage, strength, and grace. Her writing is poetic, thoughtful, powerful, and at times uncomfortable to read. But each passage is inspiring and thought-provoking. The photographs included only added to this book's ability to stir my soul.
May Bubbie’s memory be a blessing, and may we never forget.
I give this book 4.5 stars. I received a free ecopy from Voracious Readers Only. I have read many holocaust books. Yet, with everything going on in the US, very recently, it seems more relevant than ever. I am more scared that another holocaust could happen today.
I finished the book in about 26 hours. I rarely read that fast. The book is easy to read. It takes you inside her grandmother's childhood, horrors of the holocaust, surviving the holocaust, a period after the holocaust, and current time.
The book is filled with beautiful poetry about difficult times. Sometimes, it easier to describe what happened with a poem, than the written word. The book, also, has many pictures of the authors grandmother (and her family).
It is a good book to learn more how the holocaust happened. Even then, they never believed it would happen. I never realized that they had Hitler youth. Reading the book today, makes you (sadly) realize that it could happen again.
Thank you to the author for all your copious notes with your grandmother. It is a must read book for so many. I look forward to your next book.
Living Among the Dead: My Grandmother’s Holocaust Survival Story of Love and Strength is by Adena Bernstein Astrowsky. This memoir is based on the life of Adena’s grandmother, Mania Lichtenstein, a Holocaust survivor. Her granddaughter took her story, added interviews with her and others, as well as historical information from Yad Vashem and The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to create this marvelous memoir of her Grandmother’s. The story is one of pure hardship and hell for a young girl barely out of school. In one swoop, she suddenly is alone in the world, her parents, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends are gone. They had no way of rebelling and no way of knowing what was going on. After the war and in lher later years, she wrote poetry about her time and the poetry is simply amazing. The depth of it is amazing while on the surface some of it is simply fun. This is truly a book that needs to be on every 7th and 8th grade teacher’s bookcase and in every library.
Living among the Dead: My Grandmother's Holocaust Survival Story of Love and Strength Amsterdam Publishers (May 9, 2020)
I am reviewing a copy of Living among the Dead through Amsterdam Publishers and Netgalley:
Living Among the Dead is Adena Bernstein Astrowsky’s loving and careful reflection of passages from her grandmother’s private journal that Mania Lichtenstein kept as a way of coping with the memories of what she’d survived in World War II.
Living Among the Dead is the story of Mania, the sole Holocaust Survivor or her family. She adored her sisters and had to read whatever it was they were reading.
At a young age in life, Mania was left alone, in a room full of strangers, they would eventually liberate themselves. Out of the 26,000 people who lived in Włodzimierz, Wolynski, Mania estimated that only fifteen to twenty youth had survived.
Mania would later come to America and build a family, making sure that her Children and Grandchildren did not forget there history.
I give Living Among the Dead five out of five stars!
I received a copy of this for an honest review from voracious readers only.
Books about the holocaust would not normally be my book of choice, but I have read a few of them recently through book clubs and have come to appreciate them.
I loved the conversational way in which this book was written. It made a very difficult subject easy to read. It was very personal. You could tell throughout that it was well researched as well as relying on the grandmother's stories, which gave the stories more weight and reality.
Some of the stories told by Mania reminded me of another book that I have read about the holocaust (The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis). History such as this needs to be recorded whilst we still can as there are not many left that live to tell the tale.
I also liked the way that the family carried on with the Jewish traditions after emigrating, it could have been so easy to give up that way of life to fit in in the new country, but they stuck by their beliefs.
This memoir is something everyone should read. It's honest, sad and shocking. It gives a personal testament to the atrocities of The Holocaust during WW2. The contrast of ordinary family life and the genocide that ripped it apart is portrayed poignantly and effectively in this first-hand account.
The childhood and family memories are relatable, but what follows is unimaginable. The courage Mania Lichtenstein demonstrates as she survives, the horror that destroyed so many resonates and is a lesson to us all.
The importance of never standing by and letting something so terrible happen again is the message of this memoir. It makes its point eloquently but with transparent emotion.
Mania's writing is poignant and shows the reader the life sentence of grief she carried with her, despite her remarkable survival and the life she achieved.
I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.
This a very moving retelling memoir of the authors grandmother, Mania Lichtenstein "Bubbies" life in a time in history that still even today is unimaginable.
This was a well written and researched book that balanced well the personal story of her grandmother along with historical accurate facts. Her grandmother like many who survived life under the Nazi's, was a simple young woman who came through with such strength after much loss.
Reading books like this it is hard to even imagine putting yourselves in their shoes and having to live through and face what they did. In the end, as her grandmother did, go on to live wonderful lives full of future generations of family. Books and stories like this are a reminder of how much we take for granted.
Thank you so much to the author for sharing and allowing me to read this story about her grandmother. It truly was a pleasure!
This book is an amazingly written story of one Holocaust survivor’s life. It paints the picture so vividly that you can imagine the surroundings, feel the fear and panic. It’s an impressive account of what occurred in the ghettos. History classes vaguely speak of the ghettos and mostly focus on the concentration camps. This story shows that it didn’t matter if you lived in a concentration camp or a labor camp or a ghetto: if you were Jewish, your treatment was horrendous and death was imminent. All the research done to get her grandmother’s account must have been a real bonding experience. Reading this brought forth thoughts of wishing I had gotten more accounts of my grandparents lives before they passed away. 5/5 would recommend if you want a true account of what happened to these people, may they Rest In Peace.
Living Among the Dead is a riveting, heartfelt glimpse into a young girl’s path into and out of the Holocaust. A childhood once filled with joy and innocence was replaced with utter despair as she lost her entire family and had to learn to survive on her own. While her survival was nothing short of a miracle, the true significance of this story is the ultimate triumph of good over evil through a life well lived, and a legacy secured.
Living Among the Dead transforms the study of the Holocaust from a distant event to a personal journey. As a teacher, I believe this book will help students develop a richer, more intimate understanding of this period in history, and better equip them to do the important work of sharing the lessons of the Holocaust with future generations.
This was a wonderful memoir that showed so much about living after the holocaust. I really enjoyed reading this because it shows the grim side of things with the deaths of almost the entire family as well as the aftermath.
It was nice to see that the generations and that they want to learn about what happened and from more than just what you would learn from history books.
The only issue I had with this book is that there were times it seemed to double talk and going back over the same points. Other than that I found this book great and really shows a lot of what happened but doesn't show always the harshest of ways either.
Mania Lichtenstein was an amazing woman who survived three programs in Poland during WWII. The memoir is a combination of Mania's story being told through her own writings and the words of her granddaughter, Adena Astrowosky. Astrowosky beautifully conveys the woman Mania became after she married and left Europe behind. Nothing is more chilling than Mania describing what she endured to survive. Her poetry is insightful and her strength lives on in her words. This is a true story that must be read!
Living Among the Dead is a grand daughter's powerful tribute to her grandmother. It's a Holocaust story that resonates with the countless others, each just as precious and as unique as the next. I can't read enough of these. I still marvel at how strong their constitutions had to be, to not give in or give up. It's a good lesson for us all. I appreciated all the photographs that were Included because it helps being the narrative even more alive as the reader can put a face with a name. Thanks to NetGalley and Amsterdam Publishing for the book, but I also bought it.
Loved the heart touching story of Bubbie, who although wasn't in a concentration camp, still had to keep running away from the Nazi. What I especially loved about the book were the extracts from Bubbie's diary between the text, and personal family photos showing her happy.
Another tale that shows how deeply and across generations the Holocaust impacted humanity. Another tale of grit and courage in the face of injustice.
Living Among the Dead is the story of how Mania Lichtenstein survived the holocaust when all her family were killed, told by her granddaughter Adena. Like many others who survived Mania did not like to really talk about this part of her past as it brought back the nightmares she had tried to suppress. For Adena, it was a way to understand the woman who had always shown her love and to get to learn about the relatives she had never met. I am always drawn to books relating to the holocaust as this is a period in history that shows the absolute worst in human nature along with the best, the stories of those who survived and managed to make new lives, never truly forgetting what they had to endure but through strength and determination found a way to go on. It is through their stories and memories that we can truly learn how to do better and be better. There is so much we don’t know about what happened in the camps and the ghetto’s but thanks to Mania and many like her this is changing. You can sense the guilt that Mania had to live with, after one moment in time spared her life when the rest of her family were killed. Despite this she still felt lucky to be alive. As more and more around her met their horrific death, the only way she could come to terms with her survival was by believing that it was “fate” that kept her alive. With the story laced with Mania’s own poetry this book is truly personal and compelling. Adena also feels guilt about encouraging her grandmother to tell her story but it is a story that needs to be told so that we never forget. With a mixture of both Mania’s and Adena’s memories this is a must read for anyone.
A vivid reality check. This is a part of history that we cannot afford to ignore or forget. The author has done a fantastic job in writing this extremely personal book. I suggest everyone read this compelling story that had me hooked from the blurb.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Such an incredible account of her life. This book definitely gives insight on the Holocaust and just how bad it was. It was a terrible time in history and she struggles to survive. I recommend this book to everyone. It's a personal testament to the atrocities of World War 2 and the Holocaust.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.