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1. Night
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2. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young
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3. The Orientalist : Solving the
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4. The Hiding Place
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5. Survival In Auschwitz
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6. Maus II : A Survivor's Tale: And
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7. All But My Life : A Memoir
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8. Maus a Survivors Tale: My Father
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9. The Complete Maus : A Survivor's
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10. Lost in Translation: A Life in
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11. The Night Trilogy : Night, Dawn,
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12. Leap into Darkness : Seven Years
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13. At the Mind's Limits: Contemplations
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14. Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account
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15. Until the Final Hour : Hitler's
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16. The Nazi Officer's Wife : How
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17. Shanghai Diary: A Young Girl's
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18. In Our Hearts We Were Giants:
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19. ZVI : The Miraculous Story of
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20. My Mother's Eyes: Holocaust Memories

1. Night
by Elie Wiesel, Stella Rodway, Francois Mauriac
list price: $5.99
our price: $5.39
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Asin: 0553272535
Catlog: Book (1982-04-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 1663
Average Customer Review: 4.37 out of 5 stars
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Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel's wrenching attempt to find meaning in the horror of the Holocaust is technically a novel, but it's based so closely on his own experiences in Birkenau, Auschwitz, and Buchenwald that it's generally--and not inaccurately--read as an autobiography. Like Wiesel himself, the protagonist of Night is a scholarly, pious teenager racked with guilt at having survived the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur? There are no easy answers in this harrowing book, which probes life's essential riddles with the lucid anguish only great literature achieves. It marks the crucial first step in Wiesel's lifelong project to bear witness for those who died. ... Read more

Reviews (744)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lifechanging experience
Night, by Elie Weisel, is a book different than any other I have read. Many opinions about history, and even life in some cases changed while reading Night. For a very long time I believed that Josef Stalin was the most evil man to live in the twentieth century. After reading Night I believe that Hitler and his relentless "fight" to exterminate Hebrews from the face of the planet is the most evil act of hate ever. Elie Weisel is a 12 year old boy living in the town of Sighet. Untouched by Nazis until about 1942, Elie begins his long tour of numerous concentration camps throughout Europe. This book is about the lengths a human will go through to survive. Night is about love, hope, determination, and the spirit of humanity to survive, forgive, and to inform us, the readers, that we must never forget the lives lost during the years of Nazi occupied Germany. We must never forget how 12 million people just like you and I were executed because of differences. Night is a book that should eventually be read by all high school students. I am still humbled by Night.

4-0 out of 5 stars Non-Stop Reading for the Mind and Soul
Reading Night by Elie Wiesel began as a simple two-day assignment for my freshman English class. At first glance, I expected this quick read to be simply one more trite account to the terrible atrocities committed during wwii Germany. But after getting only 15 pages into the storyline, I found myself immersed in the detail, precision, and striking ability with which Wiesel describes his own adolescent struggle. At the age of only 15, he was faced with the daunting task of realizing that not everyone is good deep down inside. As his family is herded from its town of Sighet into trains, and then unkonwingly into concentration camps, the universal good in man which young Eliezer had once believed was stripped from his soul. This emotional weekend read is capable of being devoured all in one sitting. However, while reading this book in our living rooms or at the beach, we must remember what our fellow men and women around the world have been through. As readers, we should take time to celebrate the courage and hope that men like Elie Wiesel have possessed. Without this strong passion for life our world would be so much different than it is today. The few hours we spend reading this book are special. But they are nothing compared to the days, months, and years that thousands of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and slavs spent in concentration camps. If you have ever felt low or alone, read Night, and you will see just how lucky you are to be able to breathe, to eat, to love, to feel, to even be alive.

4-0 out of 5 stars Horrifying Account of the Holocaust
Night is the story of Elie Wiesel's experience in the German concentration camp Auschwitz during World War II. He calls it a "nightmare-" this is an understatement. One can wake up from a nightmare. The horror Wiesel lived had no outlet.

A Jew from Transylvania, Wiesel grew up with a strong religious background. He found an unlikely teacher in a man named "Moshe the Beadle." Moshe taught his pupil that man could not understand God's answers to man's questions; man could only ask God the right questions. Would Elie's time in Auschwitz destroy his budding faith? The book explores faith in a searing way. A must read for all. Ages 16 and up.

4-0 out of 5 stars Searching for Themes in Night
Night is a story about a young boy's life during the Holocaust. He uses a different name in the story, Eliezer. He comes from a highly Orthodox Jewish family, and they observed the Jewish traditions. His father, Shlomo, a shopkeeper, was very involved with the Jewish community, which was confined to the Jewish section of town, called the shtetl.
In 1944, the Jews of Hungary were relatively unaffected by the catastrophe that was destroying the Jewish communities of Europe in spite of the infamous Nuremberg Laws of 1935-designed to dehumanize German Jews and subject them to violence and prejudice. The Holocaust itself did not reach Hungary until 1944. In Wiesel's native Sighet, the disaster was even worse: of the 15,000 Jews in prewar Sighet, only about fifty families survived the Holocaust. In May of 1944, when Wiesel was fifteen, his family and many inhabitants of the Sighet shtetl were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The largest and deadliest of the camps, Auschwitz was the site of more than 1,300,000 Jewish deaths. Wiesel's father, mother, and little sister all died in the Holocaust. Wiesel himself survived and immigrated to France. His story is a horror story that comes to life when students in high school read this novel. Even though many students have not witnessed or participated in such horror, they relate to the character because Wiesel is their age. They cannot believe someone went through the nightmare he did at their age.

This book focuses on many themes: conflict, silence, inhumanity to others, and father/son bonding. We see many, too many, conflicts this young man faces. Eliezer struggles with his faith throughout the story. He believes that God is everywhere, and he can't understand how God could let this happen, especially as Eliezer faces conflict everyday in the concentration camp. He also learns silence means. He says he says it is God's silence that he doesn't understand. He feels that God's silence demonstrates the absence of divine compassion. Another silence that drive confuses Eliezer is the silence of the victims. He cannot understand why they don't fight back, especially with the inhumanity that is forced upon them. It is because of this inhumanity that he loses faith, not only in God but also in men. He tells how at the beginning, the Germans were "distant but friendly." However, when they reach the camps, the soldiers are transformed from men to monsters. As part of this inhumanity and lack of faith is the instances when a son betrays his father. He sees this several times and can't comprehend how a son, in order to save his own life, betrays his father. Luckily for Eliezer's father, Eliezer's love and bond is stronger than self-preservation.
How can students relate to this story when they haven't experienced anything near what Wiesel did. Maybe they haven't experienced these acts, but they have experienced conflict, silence, inhumanity, and bonding, and if a teacher focuses on these themes, the students will relate.
Works Cited:

5-0 out of 5 stars Overpowering and Humbling....
l am a Christian and was absolutely stunned by this book. To read -and more importantly to re-read and reflect - about the trials and tribulations of a devoted Jewish family as they went from a loving, religious/spiritual home to a ghetto, then to the railroad yards, then to a Concentration to be transported to a nightmarish journey and world that must never be taken for granted, that must be understood deeply, and which must be respected with our hearts more than with our minds.

To criticize any victim of the Holocaust for doubting or questioning their G-d is to live in a fantasy world. Unless one has lived through the horror and degradations of the Holocaust, he should be quiet. As for me, whenever l see or think of the child-victims and their parents of those terrible days, l think of me and my own children in their place...and it keeps me very humble. ... Read more

2. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
list price: $5.50
our price: $4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553296981
Catlog: Book (1993-06-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 2494
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A beloved classic since its initial publication in 1947, this vivid, insightful journal is a fitting memorial to the gifted Jewish teenager who died at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Born in 1929, Anne Frank received a blank diary on her 13th birthday, just weeks before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Her marvelously detailed, engagingly personal entries chronicle 25 trying months of claustrophobic, quarrelsome intimacy with her parents, sister, a second family, and a middle-aged dentist who has little tolerance for Anne's vivacity. The diary's universal appeal stems from its riveting blend of the grubby particulars of life during wartime (scant, bad food; shabby, outgrown clothes that can't be replaced; constant fear of discovery) and candid discussion of emotions familiar to every adolescent (everyone criticizes me, no one sees my real nature, when will I be loved?). Yet Frank was no ordinary teen: the later entries reveal a sense of compassion and a spiritual depth remarkable in a girl barely 15. Her death epitomizes the madness of the Holocaust, but for the millions who meet Anne through her diary, it is also a very individual loss. --Wendy Smith ... Read more

Reviews (436)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Diary of Anne Frank was a wonderful book.
I read the book, "The Diary of Anne Frank." I thought that it was not only a wonderful book, but it was very real. It is the captivating story of a young girl, told to her diary about her life, growing up under sone of the strangest, and saddest conditions. It was written in Holland in the early 1940's, during the anti-semetic movements of the Nazi party. Is is told from the innocent eyes of a child, forced to go into hiding to escape Nazi persecution. She lives under close quarters, with seven other people. I felt, because the book was so real, that I actually knew the characters in the book. I found myself relating to ideas that Anne had and things that she said. I think that everyone should read this book because is is an insight into life, love, and hate. I believe that this is a great book and could be enjoyed by anyone.

4-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl
The book that I just finished reading is called Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl written by Anne Frank herself. It is one of the best book that I have ever read. It tells you about the life of a teenage girl who is trying to survive the awful times of the Holocaust while in hiding. Along with her, there are seven other people living in this hiding place. She learns how to cooporate with other people and how to live while all cooped up. The story takes place in Amsterdam and the hiding place is called the "Secret Annexe". There are two people who get them their food and take care of them. The end of this book is so heart-wrenching that it is unbelieveable. I would definately give this book nine stars out of ten. This book is so informative that is really makes you realize how fortunate we really are these days. It explains everything so well that you can't even believe that something this horrible could ever even happen. This book has definately made me think completely different in a good way and I hope that it will do the same for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars Franco's Fabulous Book Review
Anne Frank, a 13 year-old, strong-willed, and courageous girl, is living in the Secret Annex during WWII to escape the Nazi regime. Anne, along with her family and close friends, are hiding from the Nazis because they are of the Jewish faith. Anne falls in love with Peter, a 15 year-old boy who is living with her in the Secret Annex. They become very close as they spend time in the attic trying to escape Peter's annoying mother. The group living in the Secret Annex has to be extremely careful. If they make too much noise, they have a chance of being caught. If they are caught, they will most likely be sent to a concentration camp. Any loud noise or movement could cost the eight tenants of the Secret Annex to die.
"Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" is an amazing book. It lets you realize how lucky we are to live in the world we live in today. The struggles that Anne and the group go through to live a "normal" life are nothing like anyone in today's world would be forced to go through. It allows people interested in WWII to gain information as to what is was like to live during the war.
"Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" is a must read. It is ver informative, yet allows the reader to learn about WWII in an interesting way. So, if you like WWII and are interested in learning what it was like to live back then, this book is for you. It is also a good piece of historical fiction. Pick it up today!

Julie Francolino

4-0 out of 5 stars A diary that truly depicted War...
I earnestly almost cried after reading this book.I was 13,the same age as Anne's when she started writing her diary,whom she called "kitty".

For those who have no idea who Anne Frank is,she is a Jewish girl and the youngest of two girls.Her father was successful businessman...and the family led a happy and wonderful life after settling down in the bustling city of Amsterdam,that was until Adolf Hitler started the Nazis.The Nazis was an anti-Jew operation,where they would capture Jewish men and tortured them.The women and young and old were not let off either,many were sent to concentration camps,where living conditions there were so bad,many died of diseases rather than the slow torturings.

It was at this time that Mr Frank decided to go into hiding with his family.With some of his kind-hearted co-workers,they managed to perfect a secret hideout.Anne,her mother and sister Margot began moving into the hideout,which was located just behind the office.Joining them were the Van Dans (not sure if spelling is right)who had a son named Peter and a doctor.Life was very tough,for living behind the office with barely a bookshelf as a wall means not making loud noises.No one must know of their existense,so all everybody could do is to crept round their area softly,tip-toeing and even speaking in hush-whistle.

For almost 2 years,that's the life of Anne.A growing teenager,she could not go out to the streets to watch a movie,play with her friends or even talk to boys,for that means getting caught by the Nazis.It was also round this time that Anne had one true friend where she can confide everything to:kitty,her diary.

In her diary,she wrote of how talkative she was in class(she went to school before the hiding),how she hates her mother when the latter compared her to her sister Margot,how she detested Mrs Van Dam...and her deepest thoughts on growing up in a secret hideout.She also shared about her crush on Peter,who also liked her.

Anne,as we could see,was a normal girl,someone who detested writing,someone who likes a boy and someone who wants to grow up being an author.Well,you could say she is one now,with her diary published after the war, which was later translated to more than 50 languages and sold millions worldwide...but the young girl,unlike her diary,did not survived through the war,for she was captured from her hideout one fine day.Mrs Frank,Margot,the doctor,the Van Dams and Anne herself,all died.All except for Mr Frank himself,who survived...

By the way, a little unknown fact about her Anne:her real name is Annelies Marie Frank.

5-0 out of 5 stars Anne Frank:The Diary of a Young Girl
The epic Adventure of Anne Frank, born in Germany Anne Frank spent two years of her life in Astonishing Circumstances. Anne faces adventure when the Nazis where murdering Jews. Anne, Mummy, Daddy, Mrs. Van Daan, Mr. Van Daan, and Peter. All hid in a secret passage in an old warehouse in Amsterdam. Anne and her diary explains of the fear of being discovered by the Nazis. Yet within it, a tender love story slowly unfolds-from her shy avoidances with peter to incessant glances and first kiss! Thus her diary is not a lament but a song to life, no matter the circumstances, no matter what the threats.
Great book for all ages, and you can't beat the low price. ... Read more

3. The Orientalist : Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
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Asin: 1400062659
Catlog: Book (2005-02-15)
Publisher: Random House
Sales Rank: 3147
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars Gives life to those memories and images of yesteryear
I was captivated by the narrative of The Orientialist so thoroughly that I found myself reading whole sections aloud: to myself and to whomever came within the sound of my voice.Tom Reiss' writing style evoked many cross currents of sounds and images from my childhood.I was eight and a half when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

My parents bought and read Time, Life, Collier's, Saturday Evening Post, The Grit, subscribed to two newspapers, and played the radio throughout the day up till bedtime.I remember listening to the London radio reports of Edward R. Murrow with my parents.I saw at least one movie newsreel each week during WWII.And at age 11 I had an evening paper route; my delivers were also late because before starting my route I read the war correspondents' columns and read the news items and studied the maps concrning the Allies' progress against the Axis.

So, Tom Reiss' The Orientalist called forth a grand perspective of just how important the time of history that the life of Lev Nussimbaum covered really was.And Reiss' narrative illustrates how significant the life of a single person, no matter how obscure, mysterious, and "insignificant," can be for getting a profound insight into how history is about life and death, not just about names, dates and places.

The Orientialist should be read by those who don't know about "this past," and, especially it should be read by those who have forgotten "this past."

5-0 out of 5 stars The Orientalist
The author of this truly wonderful book has written a fascinating story about an enigmatic figure in history, but the intriguing substory interwoven into the narrative is that which chronicles the dogged research he did to discover his material.Along with this remarkable tale of following every scrap or paper, every character, every hint and rumor, he encountered amazing coincidences.Somebody said you never have really good luck unless you work very hard, and this is surely the case here.

The descriptions of Baku in the early 1900s and Berlin between the wars are vivid and moving, and provided me information I had never heard before.I have a special interest in Turkey and the Middle East, and the attitudes among Jews and Muslems of the 20s and 30s was enlightening.

One of the best books I have ever encountered.

5-0 out of 5 stars Loved the Orientalist
I knew very little about the fascinating pre and post World War I erathat is so very well illuminated in this book, and about how the major Empires of Europe all collapsed in a few years.The life of the mysterious lead character, Essad Bey (with numerous aliases!) held me spellbound - in an earlier Hollwyood era, he would have been portrayed on the screen by Peter Lorre, as in a Bogart movie.All in all, this book is a fabulous recreation of some really weird times in history -- (almost as weird as today!) Literally could not put the book down and await Tom Reiss' next book eagerly.

Bill Sheldon, Glenview IL

5-0 out of 5 stars past and prologue
'The Orientalist' is as clear a portrait as one can find about how we got, in a series of horribly transfixing steps, from WW I to WW II. People under 60 do not realize how close we are still to that time and how easy it would be to repeat it. I am 63 and have a friend (Christian) whose family escaped their farm in Latvia just ahead of the Russians, leaving the farm wagon and the old horse with a bit of hay on the wharf. Our Bible class teacher's grandfather, a rabbi, was one of the last 800 people to get out of Lithuania before the borders were closed.

One does not feel that the spirit of Europe perhaps is less different today than it was then, despite the intervening 60 years. Factions of Communists, Nazis, Socialists, and Fascists still battle it out in many countries. The Rom, the Jews, and other ethnicities are still disliked and persecuted, and, if you read Malcolm Muggeridge's books and the new 'The Cube and the Cathedral,' Christians are not too popular either. It may be that Europe retains more of its barbarian heritage, its paganism, than anyone would like to admit.

Lev Nussimbaum, with a fascinating history from a region that looked hopefully multiethnic in 1900, is worth knowing, as well as his bittersweet novel 'Ali and Nino.'

5-0 out of 5 stars Bringing the tapestry of history to life
What a great "can't put it down"ead.

Mr. Reiss describes the rich tapestry of social and political life in Europe and the Middle East which produced conditions which brought Hitler to pass.All this is woven through a tale of the life of a man as complex and complicated as the times in which he lived. ... Read more

4. The Hiding Place
list price: $6.99
our price: $6.29
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Asin: 0553256696
Catlog: Book (1984-11-01)
Publisher: Bantam
Sales Rank: 3678
Average Customer Review: 4.58 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Hiding Place proves that the light of God's love can penetrate even the darkest recesses of despair, places like the Nazi extermination camp at Ravensbruck. After protecting Dutch Jews in a secret room in their home, Corrie ten Boom, her sister and father were discovered, arrested, and imprisoned. Only Corrie survived, but her faith in God remained strong-so strong that, after the war, she could forgive a former camp guard in a face-to-face meeting. More than just a spellbinding adventure, The Hiding Place is a life-changing story. ... Read more

Reviews (130)

5-0 out of 5 stars A story of forgiveness
Corrie Ten Boom said it best in the beginning of the book when she points out that every person, place, and thing you encounter in your life is God preparing you for the plans He has for you. I believe God meant for millions be to touched by Corrie's life story. The over all message in this book is forgiveness, and how it is possible, under impossible circumstances. Not only does the Lord desire us to forgive, but He made it possible to do so by providing the love to do it. Corrie and her family lived sacrificial lives, but more importantly they were obedient to God, whom they knew loved them very much. Time and time again, Corrie's life was saved by her obedience and tenacious way of looking to the Lord for guidance and help. These people KNEW and lived God's love and it infected others around them. This story was just as much about Betsie, Corrie's sister, as it was Corrie. Betsie was a resilient woman who loved the Lord so much that she even thanked Him for fleas! Corrie's entire family had a respectful fear of the Lord that is lacking in today's world. This story helps us to realize how very comfortable we are in this material world of ours. Previous to reading this book, I read "Survival in Auschwitz" by Primo Levi, who was an Italian Jewish survivor of Auschwitz (hence the name). It was nice to read both books in order to get a view from both the Christian and Jewish perspective. This great evil during WWII was not just against one race, it was the enemy of the human race. While some humans were inprisoned and/or killed, others were alive yet dead inside as they gave into hate and bitterness. Corrie and her family saw this great evil and clinged to the hope that if these people were capable of so much hate, then they were equally capable of so much love. They compassionately prayed for the ones they suffered along with, as well as for the ones causing the suffering. "The Hiding Place" is a wonderful book in which we can learn to forgive those that have hurt us, and love others the way God loves us. Get it! Read it! Tell a friend!

5-0 out of 5 stars A woman of faith
I admire people who really take a stand for what they believe in, no matter what the cost, and Corrie Ten Boom is one of those amazing people. The story of her family, pre-concentration camp, is inspiring, because they really are willing to give up everything so that God's children are not harmed. This is truly one of the best books I've ever read...I copied a lot of phrases out of the book and into my personal journal so they could touch me later like they touched me then. There's a lot of love in this woman, mixed with comapssion, honesty, and happiness that made me reconsider my own standards in the midst of the peacetime life I live, and makes me ask the question: Would I truly risk my life for another's? Everyone should read this.

5-0 out of 5 stars A beautiful,moving,emotive book.
I have read a number of autobiographys,and expect to read more still.
I think i shall be hard-pressed to find another one as beautiful as Corrie's.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE best book you'll read this summer
First written in 1971, The Hiding Place has, through both critical acclaim and word of mouth of the masses, achieved both certifiable classic status and a revered place in the hearts of its readers. And, I might add, for good reason. Although written in 1st person novel form from the perspective of the selflessly valiant Cornelia ten Boom, it is, of course, the true story of one family's almost unfathomable degree of limitless giving and unwavering altruism that saved many of lives during the nihilistic hate-filled Nazi regime in Holland, where the Gestapo as well as Dutch collaborators were pervasively ubiquitous and inexorably replete with hate and ineluctably devoid of both reason and love.

While reading, I felt a veritable melange of emotions running the gamut from sadness, anger, despair, and hope. Thanks to the wonderful writing, you feel like you're reading a novel -- although one that is all too harrowing and real. As Betsie quotes the Bible and says, "Give thanks in all circumstances," she subsequently says "Thanks for the fleas" -- a moment that demonstrated that God DOES work in mysterious ways. Without giving away anything that happens, I strongly exhort you to read The Hiding Place -- a book that stays with you long after you have turned the last page.

"No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still."
- Betsie ten Boom

5-0 out of 5 stars A veritable laugh riot
I was walking my dog and reading The Hiding Place and I thought why I am being sad. I should be glad and happy because the story is happy if you think about it you know. So I started laughing at the awesome stuff that Corrie does and says when she's helping the Jews. In summation, it's better to laugh than to cry. At least, that is, to Joseph O'Brien. ... Read more

5. Survival In Auschwitz
by Primo Levi
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684826801
Catlog: Book (1995-09-01)
Publisher: Touchstone
Sales Rank: 10087
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Survival in Auschwitz is a mostly straightforward narrative, beginning with Primo Levi's deportation from Turin, Italy, to the concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland in 1943. Levi, then a 25-year-old chemist, spent 10 months in the camp. Even Levi's most graphic descriptions of the horrors he witnessed and endured there are marked by a restraint and wit that not only gives readers access to his experience, but confronts them with it in stark ethical and emotional terms: "[A]t dawn the barbed wire was full of children's washing hung out in the wind to dry. Nor did they forget the diapers, the toys, the cushions and the hundred other small things which mothers remember and which children always need. Would you not do the same? If you and your child were going to be killed tomorrow, would you not give him something to eat today?" --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (43)

5-0 out of 5 stars Passionate & instructive insight into the Holocaust
In a more perfect life, this book should be science fiction. Primo Levi deposits us in a world where the typical convivality that makes human society bearable has been eliminated and replaced by a horrible premise: humans may only live if they can do work useful to the state. "Survival in Auschwitz" plays the theme out. Those who are unable to work are immediately killed, using the most efficient means possible. Those who survive must find ways to maintain the illusion of usefulness with the least possible exertion. Instead of brotherhood, there is commerce, a black market where a stolen bar of soap is traded for a loaf of bread; the soap allows the owner to maintain a more healthy appearance while the bread feeds its owner for another day. We see property in its most base form. A spoon, a bowl, a few trinkets cleverly used, that is all a person can hold at a time. It's instructive to read this book as an insight into homelessness. What kind of place is this where we create humiliated zombies, shuffling behind their carts containing all their worldly possessions? How long can we let the State fight against the innate emotion that tells us that no-one should go hungry while we eat and no-one should be homeless while we have shelter?

What always amazes me about the Holocaust is the sheer improbability of the story of each of its survivors. This is the horror. For every shining genius of the stature of Primo Levi, there are thousands of other amazing people, gassed and murdered in the showers filled with Zyklon-B.

3-0 out of 5 stars Surviving a Real Nightmare
"We had learnt of our destination with relief. Auschwitz: a name without significance for us at the time, but it at least implied some place on this earth"

Primo Levi's memoir, Survival in Auschwitz, is a moving account of one young man's struggle for survival in the notorious Polish concentration camp. Levi employs a unique narrative structure, emphasizing the power of words both thematically and stylistically. Levi is only twenty-five when he enters the camp, and his storytelling does much to reveal the devastating impact that concentration camps had on the psyche and on the spirit. Levi confronts the harsh reality of what life in Auschwitz means, and how different it is from any form of civilization. In clear contrast to the camp's dehumanizing effects on its victims, Levi uses language to stir the hearts of his readers. In a kind of dictionary of suffering, he gives the reader the terms of his old existence: Buna, where young men labor in a factory that will never produce synthetic rubber; Ka-Be, the infirmary where Levi is granted a few weeks' rest to recover from a foot injury, and Selekcja, the Polish word for "selection," that seals the fate of those marked for the crematorium. Many readers wishing to learn more about the Holocaust or concentration camps will find Levi's work powerful and enriching. Perhaps more importantly, these readers will continue to ask Levi's questions in today's society.

3-0 out of 5 stars Primo: Still a Man
I'm not a fan of Holocaust narrative, mostly because I've read and been forced to read in school many of this type of novel. Primo's memoir, however, sticks in my mind unlike any other. What makes Survival in Auschwitz, aka If This Is A Man, unique is the complete objectivity he writes with. He records only fact, expressing no emotion whatsoever. The effect is unsentimental and wholly horrific. His role is a recorder of events for posterity, and asks the reader to judge for his/herself the morality of what took place in the camp, not only the actions of the Nazi guards but also the prisoners themselves. He lets the reader decide whether he retained his humanity in the face of complete dehuminization. If all you know of the Holocaust is contained in Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl, it might benefit you to pick this one up.

5-0 out of 5 stars A gut-wrenching tale
Reading Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi was one of the most dificult experiences of my life. With each turn of the page came a new horror, I found it dififult to read more then a chapter at a time, and yet with horrific fascination I was also unable to put down the book. His stories of human nature rock the reader in a way that is unfathomable to someone who has never read a novel of this type. His original title "If this were a man" is far more descriptive then Survival in Auschwitz, and the reader will be shocked by the tales he tells.

4-0 out of 5 stars survival in auschwitz
Primo is an italian jew from italy. in 1943 the fasciest militia raided her town and home. the german militia took everybody in that town and put them on a train. they didnt know it yet but thay had just become prisoners of germany, prisoners of adolf hitler. everything they knew and loved gone in and instant. they never knew if they would ever see their homes again or even their best friends again. primo lived in auschwitz for over a year and a half, fighting for her life day after day. during the day, her and the other prisoners in the camp got 3 meals a day, but it isnt the kind of meals you adn i think of. day after day all they had to eat was a piece of bread and a bowl of soup. thats not very filling, not very filling at all. also during the day they would have to work or they would be killed on teh spot. life was rough for that year and a half. probably the worste time was during winter. each prisoner was issued one thin shirt and pants and wooden shoes. might i remind you wood isnt a really warm material until you light it on fire witch they couldnt do because they were infact there only pair of shoes. i liked this book because it is a true story, a personal story of a young womans life. living through such a horrible time, living in auschwitz the worste concentration camp there was. i liked how it told everthing that happened and not just the bad. i thought it was funny how some of the prisoners tried to hurt them-selves to get into the ka-be, work free for forty days. i dont like how it is a book. i would rather watch it instead of reading I HATE TO READ. i dont like how it happened the whole holacaust thing. there could have been a better way to tell your hatred. you dont have to captize a entire nationality just to prove there hatred. i would recommed this book to people who liek to read. if you dont liek to read then dont buy books or read them. this book is good for people who liek to learn about the holacaust or personal stories about what actually happened while in auscwtiz. ... Read more

6. Maus II : A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began (Maus)
list price: $14.00
our price: $9.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679729771
Catlog: Book (1992-09-01)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 9302
Average Customer Review: 4.31 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

MAUS was the first half of the tale of survival of the author's parents, charting their desperate progress from prewar Poland Auschwitz.Here is the continuation, in which the father survives the camp and is at last reunited with his wife. ... Read more

Reviews (26)

4-0 out of 5 stars touching and honest
Art (Artie) Spiegelman is a cartoonist and the son of holocaust survivors Vladek and Anna Spiegelman. Art decided to tell his parents' story in graphic novel (comic book) form. The first book, Maus, covers the meeting and marriage of Vladek and Anna and follows their story up until they enter Auschwitz during WWII.

This book follows their story from when they enter the camp until they are finally freed by the Russians. This part of the story is also related in pieces as Art visits his father. Vladek was surprisingly resourceful as a camp prisoner and was continuously able to find positions where he was needed, helping keep him alive. Anna, on the other hand, wasn't always so lucky but she managed to stay alive. For both of them, much of what kept them alive was the hope of seeing the other person, which Vladek was amazingly able to arrange despite the men and women living in separate camps.

Eventually the war ends and they return, separately, to their hometown in Poland, though they have no knowledge of whether or not the other is alive. Thus, when Vladek, who arrives last, finally makes it home, it makes for a touching reunion.

My Comments:
This second book is definitely more touching than the first, though this is probably in large part due to the suffering the Spiegelman's experienced. This book also does a good job of bringing the story closure, though it took quite a while for this book to be published after the first one was.

Once again, the author is critical of himself by illustrating a rocky relationship with his father rather than everything being rosy. This self-criticism leads to my final point. I think the allure of these two books is that the author doesn't try to dress things up in a pretty package. He does his best to present things as they actually were (at least, as they were seen by his father). The result is that you see things like children having their heads bashed in by Nazi's slamming them against walls and a son who only grudgingly helps his father but at the same time uses him for his story (that sounds a bit harsh as I'm sure the son was inspired to tell the story just to share it, but he also made money off of it, so he did use him in a sense).

As I did with the first, I would recommend this book. Keep in mind that the book makes no pretense to be an objective treatise on the holocaust - this is a survivor's tale and it is at the subjective, individual level of one person who made it through. It is compelling and hopefully a warning for future generations about the potential maliciousness humans are capable of forcing on other humans.

5-0 out of 5 stars A "must-read" for WWII history buffs.

If you have ANY interest in WWII history or specifically the Holocaust, I implore you to pick up these two titles (Maus I and II). They are easy-to-read, informative, and HISTORICALLY accurate.

The author's/artist's method of detailing his own struggles with his family's past and present combined with his father's narrative of survival during the Nazi regime is quite effective. The reader is drawn into the story on two fronts - as Vladek (the father) the reluctant but resourceful witness to the Holocaust, and as Art (the son), who is searching for answers to questions on many different levels.

To those who are looking for Military History, I agree with the previous reviewer. This is not about the military. Then again, I don't think it was supposed to be.

In addition, people who have trouble with abstract anthropomorphisms should steer clear. If, having read Animal Farm, you found yourself fuming that the blue collar worker was being represented by a horse, you should also probably skip these.

Otherwise, read them.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
The brilliant continuation of the MAUS story, I think I enjoyed the second part even more than the first. It's in this book that Spiegelman really brings out the connection between what happened then in Europe and what is happening now in America.

This is a more interesting part of the story from a character standpoint. The relationship between Art and his father Vladek is painted in its most frustrating and endearing tones in this volume. An amazing piece of historical fiction, and even better feat of interpersonal storytelling.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cuts Through the Numbness
There is only one problem with Holocaust movies and books such as Schindler's List, The Pianist, and Night: there are a lot of them. They tell these grim, heartbreaking stories which we ought never forget, lest we repeat them, but I fear that the overload of Holocaust images sometimes does the opposite. There is so much that they almost take on a marked unreality. We can almost become numb to them.

Then, there comes Maus, with the same type of horrors, the same type of events, but it manages to break through that numbness. The visual images are somewhat problematic, but I think it almost serves to make them more compelling, helping the bare emotion come screaming off the page. The modern relationship with Vladek and Art adds to the immediacy and modern relavence of the story also.

Maus is a powerful read and one which is essential for anyone studying the Holocaust.

3-0 out of 5 stars A continuation of a riveting story...
I strongly recommend reading the first Maus before starting this book. In this book, the author's relationship with his father is explored further, and we get to see how his father survived the Holocaust. The horrors this one man went through make it seem unbelievable that he is alive to tell his story. The theme of Art's struggle of accepting his religion is also explored as a sub-theme. The illustrations are also much more detailed than a first thought, so make sure you take a good look at them. ... Read more

7. All But My Life : A Memoir
by Gerda Weissmann Klein
list price: $13.00
our price: $9.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0809015803
Catlog: Book (1995-03-31)
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Sales Rank: 18575
Average Customer Review: 4.95 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

All But My Life is the unforgettable story of Gerda Weissmann Klein's six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty. From her comfortable home in Bielitz (present-day Bielsko) in Poland to her miraculous survival and her liberation by American troops--including the man who was to become her husband--in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in 1945, Gerda takes the reader on a terrifying journey.

Gerda's serene and idyllic childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German labor camps. Over the next few years Gerda experienced the slow, inexorable stripping away of "all but her life."By the end of the war she had lost her parents, brother, home, possessions, and community; even the dear friends she made in the labor camps, with whom she had shared so many hardships, were dead.

Despite her horrifying experiences, Klein conveys great strength of spirit and faith in humanity. In the darkness of the camps, Gerda and her young friends manage to create a community of friendship and love. Although stripped of the essence of life, they were able to survive the barbarity of their captors. Gerda's beautifully written story gives an invaluable message to everyone. It introduces them to last century's terrible history of devastation and prejudice, yet offers them hope that the effects of hatred can be overcome.
... Read more

Reviews (66)

4-0 out of 5 stars Moving account of Holocaust experience
In *All but My Life*, Gerda Weissmann Klein tells us the story of a young girl forced into the events of the Nazi Holocaust. The story of a family torn apart never to see one another again. The story of Nazi work camps and death camps and seemingly endless inhumanity. Sadly, this story was her own.

Klein provided a heartwrenching account of the events leading from her teens to her adult years. We met her family, lived vicariously through her relationships with friends and neighbors and hoped and prayed the Nazis never capturedd the Weissmanns. But the inevitable occurred.

Over the years that Gerda was a prisoner of the Nazis, we learned of the unspeakable acts the Germans performed. And we cried with Gerda through her experiences. And we finally felt the joy of freedom and the love relationship that ensued.

*All but My Life* should go up on our shelves next to *Schindler's List* and *The Diary of Anne Frank*. It's an absolute must read and a classic. Thank you, Gerda, for showing all of us what must not ever happen again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saved by her boots--and her soul
On the hot June day that Gerda Weissmann left her home for the last time, her father insisted that she wear her hiking boots. Gerda resisted, but an unspoken plea in her father's eye convinced her to strap them on. During a death march from January through April of 1945, those boots saved Gerda Weissmann's life. Many other women died of cold and starvation, but most fell for simple lack of footwear. Her camp sister, with whom she survived the worst horrors in several concentration and slave labor camps, died of exhaustion at a water pump minutes after American liberators freed the women from the march.

Ms. Klein's tale about her boots, screened at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, led me to her book. I wanted to know every detail--although, over the years, I have been privileged to hear many personal accounts from Holocaust survivors I know. Too many still cannot not speak about what they lived through. Millions never had the chance at all. By itself, the silence of the majority makes Ms. Klein's testimony priceless, like every other personal Holocaust chronicle. So does her reminder not to take anything for granted. So does her gem of a soul. Alyssa A. Lappen

5-0 out of 5 stars Should be high school required reading
As a Protestant with German ancestors I wish every high school would require this book. Poetically written with emotional sensitivity this far surpasses 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Catcher in the Rye' that my daughter and so many high schoolers are STILL required to read. This is true, it is historical, it is politcal, it is human, we can learn from it on EVERY level. Not only that we come to love Gerda, the author, in the reading of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars A reader's favorite book
This book held my attention from page one, until the very end. I actually have read this book( or at least large parts of it) ten or more times. I was so riveted by Gerda's story that I went to my local library to find out MORE about Gerda. She has written a few other books, interesting too, but this is her best. ALL BUT MY LIFE so impressed me that I felt the need to visit the US Holocaust Museum in Washington,DC. I have chosen this book for my book club selection next month, although I really read it the first time about 5 years ago. I was initially concerned that it was not "mainstream" enough for my book buddies, but...we will see. I have read voraciously for my entire reading life, which would be about 40 years or so, and I think this book IS my absolute favorite.

5-0 out of 5 stars impressive... truly.
This book was assigned by my English teacher. The first page, i thought of reading it as a chore. After that, i couldnt put it down. i read the whole thing in two days. It was remarkable!! This showed what the Holocaust was really about. The Holocaust wasn't just about the millions of Jews that were killed- it was about real people being killed, real people losing all hope to live, among Gerda. When liberation day came around, it didn't mean much. The very few survivors still had a life to rebuild. Gerda told her own remarkable story of what happened to her. Gerda goes from camp to camp, hardship to hardship, but learning valuable lessons about life in gerneral on the way. This book deserves way more than 5 stars- everyone should read it. ... Read more

8. Maus a Survivors Tale: My Father Bleeds History
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394747232
Catlog: Book (1986-08-12)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 13217
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Some historical events simply beggar any attempt at description--the Holocaust is one of these. Therefore, as it recedes and the people able to bear witness die, it becomes more and more essential that novel, vigorous methods are used to describe the indescribable. Examined in these terms, Art Spiegelman's Maus is a tremendous achievement, from a historical perspective as well as an artistic one.

Spiegelman, a stalwart of the underground comics scene of the 1960s and '70s, interviewed his father, Vladek, a Holocaust survivor living outside New York City, about his experiences. The artist then deftly translated that story into a graphic novel. By portraying a true story of the Holocaust in comic form--the Jews are mice, the Germans cats, the Poles pigs, the French frogs, and the Americans dogs--Spiegelman compels the reader to imagine the action, to fill in the blanks that are so often shied away from. Reading Maus, you are forced to examine the Holocaust anew.

This is neither easy nor pleasant. However, Vladek Spiegelman and his wife Anna are resourceful heroes, and enough acts of kindness and decency appear in the tale to spur the reader onward (we also know that the protagonists survive, else reading would be too painful). This first volume introduces Vladek as a happy young man on the make in pre-war Poland. With outside events growing ever more ominous, we watch his marriage to Anna, his enlistment in the Polish army after the outbreak of hostilities, his and Anna's life in the ghetto, and then their flight into hiding as the Final Solution is put into effect. The ending is stark and terrible, but the worst is yet to come--in the second volume of this Pulitzer Prize-winning set. --Michael Gerber ... Read more

Reviews (106)

4-0 out of 5 stars an interesting way to write about the holocaust
I just read "Maus" for my history class and thought this was a great way to write about the holocaust. While keeping all of the seriousness, Spiegelman chose a way write which would interest readers of every age. By making it into a comic book, it will definitely attract many teenagers and college students and teach them lots of interesting facts about world war II. I thought Spiegelman did a great job cutting back and forth between his father's holocaust stories to the relationship between his father and him, it continued to remind me this was all a true story. Overall, this was a very depressing story and also a very informative one. All the stories about Spiegelman's father continuously running from the Nazi's made me realize what I have in life. After I was done, I was still blown away that Vladek survived the holocaust, there were so many times where he could have been killed, starved to death or just times when he could have given up and decided that was it. The part where Vladek described the Nazi's killing crying children by grabbing them by the feet and smashing them into a wall was just horrible, I will never be able to imagine what any Jew went through in the 40's. To sum it up, I would definitely reccomend this book to people of all ages, a very unique book with lots of style. I'm really looking forward to reading the sequel, I'm sure it's just as good.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very good, very touching, very worthwhile.
I will admit I had to read this for a class I was taking about modern Jewish history. But I also chose to take said class and was very curious about the subject matter. Maus was the third and last biographical work that we read in class (Solomon Maimon's and Pauline Wengeroff's autobiographies being the others) and it was easily the most unique.

When I told friends that I was reading a comic book about the Holocaust I received many strange looks. But there was always one response that made people understand: The author's father survived the Holocaust and he wanted to tell his father's story in the medium he knew best. Art Spiegelman puts unsurpassed passion into this work that ties his father and mother's struggles in wartime Poland as well as his own struggles with his geriatric father thirty years later.

Told with a serious tone overlaid with characters where Jews are mice, Poles are pigs, Germans are cats, and the other nationalities are equally represented in animal form, Maus proved to be an extremely unique and endlessly fascinating and tragic biography. I have never been one for reading comic books, but Art Spiegelman's effort can do nothing less than elevate the respect anyone could have for the art form.

2-0 out of 5 stars Subject matter overshadows a very mediocre work
If one can truly see past all the cultural signifiers and content obeisance attached to Maus and simply judge the work on craft alone, one will find a fairly pedestrian work, well told, yet instantly forgettable.

Spiegelman has crafted a shrewd piece of media here, he has mined the true-life experiences of his grandfather to fashion a non-fiction biographic tale of internment in a concentration camp, replacing the Germans with cats and the Jews with mice. Such a choice is guaranteed critic-proof simply because of the subject matter. Publicly, one is not allowed to dislike Maus or find it flawed in any fundamental way; it fosters a mild form of cultural fascism against the dissenter. Recently discussing Maus with someone who thought it profound, I found myself dodging bullets of anti-Semitism and callousness towards the human spirit. But we must understand that Maus the graphic novel has virtually disappeared, its place taken by Maus the "Holocaust for a new Generation" and Maus the "culturally significant signpost of human dignity."

Granted the story is compelling. If Maus had been told as a straight prose work of non-fiction it would have most certainly been published and given average to good marks, quickly joining the legion of Holocaust literature. But should we elevate Maus to the ranks of the graphic novel pantheon just because Spiegelman is Jewish and he used his authentic Jewish roots to tell a story of the Holocaust in pictures? I counter arguments that posit Spiegelman's work as introducing the Holocaust to a new generation (sort of like re-inventing Shakespeare for the geek set?) with the idea that the generation itself should begin to question its own intellectual vigor when we must teach our children about the holocaust using a comic strip. In that case, forget the Bible, why not teach it through a graphic 'Chronicles of Jesus' format, allowing our children to get the story while abandoning the thorny arguments and contradictions that make reading any work of art a challenge to the mind?

I repeat, do we give Maus credibility for simply choosing subject matter? If we do, then we must re-think the way we judge literary works. We must then judge every piece of holocaust literature to be superlative, and regardless of its actual merit, place it on a hallowed shelf above all other literature. We must then judge every piece of art or media the same. In this new critical paradigm, if a graffiti artist painted a series of stick figures across a barren factory wall but above them sprayed the name "Auschwitz," we should take care not remove them. However, if that same artist simply painted a wall full of stick figures, they should be removed post-haste and a steep fine levied against the artist.

I am tired of works being given credibility for subject matter and not for craft. Maus is not a bad book, and may well foster early discussions with children or adolescents about the holocaust. But judged by artistic merit and craft alone it hardly belongs on the same shelf as Watchmen, From Hell, or Miller's Batman writings. In those works, the writers crafted dense literary works that truly transcended the genre and used the form in novel and interesting ways. They did not rely on content alone to sell mediocre work.

3-0 out of 5 stars Less than I expected
I'm Jewish and easily depressed, so I expected to be very moved by this tale. But I wasn't. I was freaked out-Art portrays Jewish life well and I was honestly scared for the characters-but not moved. I did not cry. Then again, I'd probably give it four stars if it weren't for my high expectations. I'm definitely definitely going to buy the next installment though.

I disagree with people who say Polish people are portrayed negatively in this book, aside from the fact that he portrays them as pigs. Most of the Poles in this book were nice-they hide in the house of a Polish lady, there housekeeper is Polish. Of course, at one point you have Polish people being anti-semitic but what do you expect? No Poles actually hurt the Spiegelman's, though they do occaisonally put them in jeopardy by yelling that there is a Jew in the yard. I think the animals are meant to portray stereotypes. Vladek has disdain for the Poles, and Art shows that by making them pigs. That doesn't mean that the Poles are bad, that's just how Vladek is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful comic book!
This book is one that caught me in its clutches instantly! For those who are interested in the Holocaust and are sick of stories of Anne Frank(no offense), this is perfect! Summary: The author of this book, Art Speigelman, goes to visit his father, Vladek, and learn of his story of living in Hitler's Europe. Art also tries to understand his father's changes that have happened due to his experiences. Art's stepmother, Mala, complains that Vladek is too uptight and doesn't care about her. Vladek complains that all Mala cares about is his money. Art's struggles show how even the children of the survivors have to survive. Review: This book took me away. For a story of the Holocaust, this hits a home run. Never before have I read a book like this. A tale like this deserves to be read by everyone. ... Read more

9. The Complete Maus : A Survivor's Tale
list price: $35.00
our price: $23.10
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0679406417
Catlog: Book (1996-11-19)
Publisher: Pantheon
Sales Rank: 26413
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Volumes I & II in paperback of this 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrated narrative of Holocaust survival. ... Read more

Reviews (107)

5-0 out of 5 stars More subtle than can be understood in a single reading
These books are an easy and fast read, but by no means are they simple. In two slim comic books, Art Spiegelman chronicles his parents' movement from comfortable homes in Poland to the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau, and from there to a surreally banal afterlife in upstate New York. We watch the destruction of the Holocaust continue in Spiegelman's father's transformation from a bright, good-looking youth to a miserly neurotic, his mother's deterioration from a sensitive, sweet girl into a suicide, and in the author's own unhappy interactions with his parents.

I have read some of the most negative reviews of these books, and I respectfully disagree. Some negative reviews ("Spiegelman is a jerk") castigate Spiegelman for his shamefully self-interested milking of his father's life and the Holocaust. Other negative reviews find fault with the unoriginality of the story, or discover historical inaccuracies, self-contradictions, or simplifications in the tale. Finally, a set of reviews are upset with Spiegelman's coding of people of different nationalities as animals(especially the Poles, who were also victimized by the Nazis but are depicted as pigs in the comics.)

The first criticism is both deserved and unfair. Deserved, because Spiegelman profits by the pain and death of millions, including his own family. Unfair, because Spiegelman himself consciously provides the basis for our criticism that he mocked and neglected his elderly father at the same time that he fed his own success upon his father's tales. The two volumes echo with his regret and unexpiable guilt at his treatment of his parents, and at his own success and survival. To attack Spiegelman for these things is like scolding a man in the midst of his self-immolation.

The second type of criticism finds _Maus_ to be sophomoric, inaccurate, or repetitive of other Holocaust survivor's experiences. The defense here is that Maus is the story of a single family, seen through the eyes of a single man (Vladek Spiegelman), and filtered again through his son. It is almost certain that the elderly Vladek forgot, exaggerated, or hid details, just as it is certain that his son summarized and misunderstood. However, the quasi-fictionalized format of the comic book throws this subjectivity into relief. The destroyed diaries of Spiegelman's mother are a reminder of the millions of life stories left untold, including stories perhaps too horrible and shameful for the survivors to reveal. _Maus_ does not claim to be an objective, authoritative history of the Holocaust, and in fact tries to emphasize its own limitations.

While other works may better convey the Jewish experience in the Holocaust, the innovative format of _Maus_ justifies its existence, as it allows the story to reach a greater audience.

Finally, many have objected to the negative stereotyping of the many peoples appearing in the book, especially the Poles. Spiegelman draws the Jews as innocent mice, but the Germans as bloodthirsty cats, and the Poles as selfish pigs. More amusingly (because they appear infrequently in the story) the French are drawn as frogs, the Swedes as reindeer, and the British as cold fish. The Americans are dogs, mainly friendly bow-wow dogs but also sometimes cold-eyed predators capable of pouncing on a mouse or rat. I believe that the wrongness of stereotypes was a major reason why Spiegelman used them. The Nazis are recorded as having called the Jews "vermin" and the Poles "pigs". Whether they had the qualities of these animals or not, they were treated as such... and such they were forced to become despite themselves. The Jews had to hide, hoard, and deceive; the Poles were compelled to act out of self-interest just to survive.

In other words, I think that Spiegelman's stereotypes were a deliberate choice. The WHOLE POINT of _Maus_ is how the dehumanization of the Holocaust twisted people beyond their capacities... how the camps tried to make people as ugly and despicable as their worst racial stereotypes, by making them all alike in their fear. Sometimes they succeeded.

Neither Poles nor Germans are depicted as only selfish, cowardly, and cruel in _Maus_. In fact, there are many Polish in Spiegelman's books who are shown as fellow-sufferers, or kind despite the risks to their own lives, just as there were Jews who betrayed their own. Look closely at the drawings-- I open Maus II to a random page, and see both pigs and mice in the prison suits, both as capos and victims. Who is the kind priest who renews Vladek's hope on page 28? A Pole! Even the Germans are seen to suffer from the war, caught by powers beyond their control. Meanwhile, Vladek himself is shown to be an inflexible racist (II, p. 98).

I argue, therefore, that the above criticisms of _Maus_ show a hasty reading of the books and poor comprehension of how an artist(even of non-fiction) chooses to convey a theme.

As a non-European, I have no personal investment in Jewish, German, or Polish points of view. However, as a second-generation American and child of war survivors [a civil war, so we are both victims and oppressors], I have a chord that resonates with the story of the Spiegelmans. I just re-read "Maus II" this afternoon and found to my amazement that it was still able to draw tears. In fact, when I first read the Maus books ten years ago I don't recall them affecting me so deeply... but I was younger then and had only an intellectual understanding of many things, such as love, fear, guilt, death, and weakness.

I wholeheartedly recommend these books to those who are willing to read them more than once. If you are not moved by them now, perhaps later you will be. Meanwhile, let's do our best to stop such suffering around the world.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Modern Allegory
A veteran of the underground comic scene in the 1970s and a more recently a cover artist for the New Yorker, in the late 80s, Art Spiegelman undertook a project of interviewing his father Vladek, a Polish Jew who survived the holocaust in Auschwitz. He turned the narrative into an allegorical, graphical representation of the ordeal, in which Europe is a menagerie of humans behaving at our raw, animalistic worst, and perhaps best as well. Umberto Eco claimed that "Maus is a book that cannot be put down, truly, even to sleep." This was certainly true for me when I read it. Perhaps the only 'comic book' (as inappropriate as that term may be here) to win a Pulitzer Prize, Maus is gripping and compelling. Some have criticized it for relating simply a story which was no more remarkable than millions of others. Can anything different be said, however, of Night, or The Diary of Anne Frank? Does that make it any less important that the story be told? And yet, in Spiegelman's cat and mouse play, where moral virtues, failings, and decrepitude are writ large, Maus is also exceptional because of the strength of its allegory, which is almost Spenserian in its strength.

1-0 out of 5 stars Yet Another Sanctimonious Telling of the Holocaust
This is yet another sanctimonious telling of the Holocaust. Maus is the blatant type of trivialization being taught to our children that leaves most unaware of the other victims of the holocaust. For American school children the Holocaust has become synomous with Jewish history. Maus simply reinforces most historical literature which focuses on the six million Jewish victims to the exclusion of the nine million Gentile victims. This book goes so far as to portray one of the Nazis other targets, the Poles, as fattened pigs going about their business unmolested by the Germans! There were three million non-Jewish Poles who perished in this tragedy, many trying to save their Jewish neighbors. Shame!

"The genocidal policies of the Nazis resulted in the deaths of about as many Polish Gentiles as Polish Jews, thus making them co-victims in a Forgotten Holocaust. This Holocaust has been largely ignored because historians who have written on the subject of the Holocaust have chosen to interpret the tragedy in exclusivistic terms--namely, as the most tragic period in the history of the Jewish Diaspora. To them, the Holocaust was unique to the Jews, and they therefore have had little or nothing to say about the nine million Gentiles, including three million Poles, who also perished in the greatest tragedy the world has ever known. Little wonder that many people who experienced these events share the feeling of Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, who anxious when the meaning of the word Holocaust undergoes gradual modifications, so that the word begins to belong to the history of the Jews exclusively, as if among the victims there were not also millions of Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and prisoners of other nationalities." Richard C. Lukas, preface to The Forgotten Holocaust: The Poles under German Occupation 1939-1944

1-0 out of 5 stars Anti-Polish Propaganda
While this a moving account of one families experience during the holocaust, the depiction of Poles as pigs in Spiegelman's "Maus" an unfair and highly insulting caricature. Poles suffered horribly under Nazi occupation. No nations suffered worse. Six million Poles were murdered. Roughly half were Jewish and half Gentile. In fact exterminating Poles was also part of the Nazi master-plan. They were victims and to portray them as pigs is a grave injustice. While I read the reviews pointing out pigs have positive traits or are neutral animals, it is disingenuous to present the selection of the pig as representative of the Pole as anything but a slur. Germans are shown as cats. This is no wonder since cats chase mice. Apart from that, cats are quite nice animals. This, however, does not pertain to pigs. I suggest when reading this book you research the positive events in the 1000 history of Polish Jews. For starters, visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Over 11,000 'Righteous Gentiles' are honored; almost 5,000 are Polish. These are non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

5-0 out of 5 stars A landmark comics work
"Maus," Art Spiegelman's moving tale of the Holocaust and how it impacts a family a generation later, is hailed as a comics classic for a reason. It is a landmark work that transcends the term "comics."

Through the seemingly absurd decision to use animals in place of people - Jews are mice, for instance, while Nazis are cats - Spiegelman manages to avoid coming across as heavy-handed, exploitative and melodramatic. The reader never feels that they are reading an educational tome with badly drawn people better suited for school than compelling entertainment. Instead, through the use of universal cartoon imagery, the emotional tug of the story is successfully conveyed.

Two threads are woven throughout. The first deals with the Holocaust directly, from the years before Jews were taken to the camps and then to release. The second thread deals with Spiegelman's relationship with his father many years later, and that relationship's ups and downs as the author tries to get the oral history he needs to tell the tale of "Maus." All of the pain, confusion, death, turmoil and horror of the Holocaust comes home, as does the autobiographical tale interwoven throughout of the author's relationship with his father - who is also the central figure of Holocaust survival.

Modern editions of this book ("Maus" was originally published in serial form) are generally produced very well. The two-book slipcase offered here is sturdy and attractive to look at. The pages are printed on thick, glossy stock. The black and white artwork really shines, every stroke visible and vibrant. Mine has been read multiple times and still looks great.

"Maus" is compelling reading that requires no great love of comics to enjoy. History lovers, those interested in the Holocaust, and people who like stories about family struggles will enjoy this. Readers will quickly forget they are reading a comic, instead becoming wrapped up in the story Spiegelman has to tell. A highly recommended buy. ... Read more

10. Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language
by Eva Hoffman
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
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Asin: 0140127739
Catlog: Book (1990-02-01)
Publisher: Penguin Books
Sales Rank: 29705
Average Customer Review: 4.46 out of 5 stars
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The condition of exile is an exaggeration of the process of change and loss that many people experience as they grow and mature, leaving behind the innocence of childhood. Eva Hoffman spent her early years in Cracow, among family friends who, like her parents, had escaped the Holocaust and were skeptical of the newly imposed Communist state. Hoffman's parents managed to immigrate to Canada in the 1950s, where Eva was old enough to feel like a stranger--bland food, a quieter life, and schoolmates who hardly knew where Poland was. Still, there were neighbors who knew something of Old World ways, and a piano teacher who was classically Middle European in his neurotic enthusiasm for music. Her true exile came in college in Texas, where she found herself among people who were frightened by and hostile to her foreignness. Later, at Harvard, Hoffman found herself initially alienated by her burgeoning intellectualism; her parents found it difficult to comprehend. Her sense of perpetual otherness was extended by encounters with childhood friends who had escaped Cracow to grow up in Israel, rather than Canada or the United States, and were preoccupied with soldiers, not scholars. Lost in Translation is a moving memoir that takes the specific experience of the exile and humanizes it to such a degree that it becomes relevant to the lives of a wider group of readers. ... Read more

Reviews (13)

4-0 out of 5 stars Escape from Poland did not always equal paradise
In 1959, when she was 13yo, Eva Hoffman fled Poland with her family to British Columbia to escape the rigors of the communist regime. It did not prove to be the tremendous relief she expected, and the book begins with a section titled Paradise, in which the author reminisces about her life back in the Old Country.
The immigrant experience, a new language, new culture, new food - everything was traumatic for her. It became so bad that she felt her brain stopped working for a time.
The most fascinating parts of this book are those that take the reader back into Poland for a behind the scenes glimpse of the 'good life' lived by the middle class. Altho the whole family, plus a live-in maid, lived in just 3 rooms, they lived well, attending the theater and opera regularly. All this, of course, ended when Poland's gov't began persecuting Jews in the late 50s.
Fortunately for her and for us, Hoffman recovered from her period of despair and depression and went on to become editor of the New York Times Book Review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving and emotional
This book is a must. It explores the difficulties of learning to express oneself in a new language. Although I have never experienced this myself, it does make you consider the link between language and experience and how sometimes there are no words available to say what you really feel. Hoffman draws you in to her narrative with ease, despite the difficulties she expresses. It is a moving insight into her life as an immigrant and her fellings of alienation.

5-0 out of 5 stars Greater as literature than as life
It is impossible to not recognize in the sensibility of the writer of this work a great power of perception and intelligence. The story of the transition from world to world, from the Poland of her childhood to the Canada of the latter part of her youth, and young adulthood is too told as the story of a family ' lost in translation'. On the purely human individual level there is an exceptional story told here by an exceptional story - teller. There are too a number of remarkably moving scenes , I think especially of her re-meeting the love of her Polish childhood, and the kind of understanding they have for each other though they now live cultures away.
I nonetheless found a certain absence in the work, an absence in the making as end of the story real human connection beyond that given in childhood and early years. Every writer as Henry James has his ' donnee' the subject and material which he is given, and is not to be criticized for having. Eva Hoffman's is this lostness in translation, this perpetual not- at- homeness, but it nonetheless makes of her story at least to my mind , one which however successful on the purely literary level presents a life lacking in the higher significance of giving to and being with others.

2-0 out of 5 stars Unsympathetic
I didn't care for this book all that much. First, her adolescent experience as an immigrant to Canada seems heavily covered over by later-acquired learning in the philosphy of structuralism, semiotics, etc, all very fashionable nowdays. The book has more the feel of a post-mortem analysis than a personal memoir, and in trying to be both it fails on both levels.

Second, I didn't find her a sympathetic character, because she herself seemed to have so little sympathy for others: Canadians were boring, dull, undemonstrative; North-American teenage life superficial; the local Jewish community obsessed with status and the notion of 'better' or 'worse' people. etc. I got the feeling of her portraying herself as a true and sensitive (European!) heart among the barbarians and the uncomprehending. Sorry, doesn't wash.

4-0 out of 5 stars Insight into 2nd Language Acquisition
Eva Hoffman's autobiography provides valuable insight into the process of second-language acquisition. Over the span of her life, she indirectly reveals numerous factors that led to her acquisition of English. These influencing factors are both internal and external, both successful and unsuccessful. Particular internal factors that I feel were most influential in her success were her motivation and high level of intelligence. Externally, the most significant factor was that she had the opportunity to acquire the language in its natural environment rather than solely in the classroom. It is these elements, along with various others, that ultimately lead Eva to a native-like fluency.

Personal attributes such as intelligence and motivation may not be the most significant factor in the acquisition of another language; but with some individuals it may contribute to how quickly a language is acquired and possibly the depth of acquisition (especially with the lexicon). In Eva's case, extensive reading in her adolescent years undoubtedly contributed to her heightened intellectual capacity in later years. Her early studies also seem reflect a passion for knowledge and experience that she feeds with the books from her bi-monthly visits to the library, "...I sniff the aged smell; I read a few words; some of them have illustrations at which I look greedily; then I have to choose from the riches of Araby." (27) The combination of intelligence with a strong passion for learning clearly plays a role in Eva's success at acquiring English.

It is this strong will to learn that she brings with her to the New World and which is instrumental in the absorption of new vocabulary. She continues the practice of frequenting the library where she tells us, "Every day I learn new words, new expressions. I pick them up from school exercises, from conversations, from the books I take out of Vancouver's well-lit library." (106) It seems pretty clear that lexical acquisition is contingent upon the amount of time one puts into the process. Motivation is likely the most significant factor that contributes to the amount of time one spends trying to learn new words. For Eva, her passion for obtaining new words played a vital role in acquiring her impressive vocabulary.

Various factors appear to contribute to her motivation; but particularly it is her search for self-identity as well as pressure from her peers that seem to motivate her most. Part of her problem with self-identity may be related to her age and part may be related to the circumstances of her new environment. She states, "Because I'm not heard, I feel I'm not seen. My words often seem to baffle others." (147) Understandably, isolation from her peers is frustrating enough for her to strive to be 'seen' which she initiates through writing, "I learn English through writing, and, in turn, writing gives me a written self." (121)

The pressure involved in 'fitting in' is difficult enough for native teenagers; being a foreigner would only increase that difficulty. She struggles to get rid of her accent because her peers accuse her of faking it in order to appear more interesting. When she tries to tell a joke to her friends, her lack of success reminds her that she is still an outsider. Even her close friends remind her of this, "'Oh God,' Penny says, 'Sometimes I think you're hopeless.'" (148)

In regard to external influences, it is the environment in which language acquisition takes place that is likely the most influential factor in successfully acquiring the target language. The shift from classroom study in Poland to total immersion in Vancouver provides a basis for Eva to thoroughly explore English. I've met people in various cities throughout Poland who have studied English for years, some for nearly a decade. The common denominator these people all share is that they hardly speak any English (what they do speak is broken and difficult to understand.) I can empathize with this situation. I studied Polish for 3 years before moving to Krakow and I feel I learned more in five months of study there than I did in the previous three years.

Every day social activity is difficult when you are forced to rely upon an inadequate form of communication. It is easy to sympathize with the frustration she feels in daily conversation, "Much of the time, it takes an enormous effort on my part to follow her fast chatter and to keep saying yes and no in the right places, to attempt to respond." (113) Difficulties in vocal participation can restrict social interaction and consequentially lead to isolation and loneliness. Eva seems to conquer this dilemma through persistence and the passing of time.

In addition to social isolation, linguistic prejudices also seem to play a role in developing and sustaining her persistence in achieving fluency. Some of these perceived prejudices are probably nothing more than baggage from her homeland, "The class-linked notion that I transfer wholesale from Poland is that belonging to a 'better' class of people is absolutely dependent on speaking a 'better' language." (123) Speech still acts as a class signifier today, but probably not to the same degree as one would find in Poland.

Along with the social difficulties that accompany immigration, Eva has to deal with some of the cultural presuppositions that effect pragmatic success in learning a new language. She points to the example of saying, "thank you", implying something to be thanked for, which in Poland would come across as rude. Likewise, in addition to mere grammatical competence, Eva must learn how to apply the language that she is learning. She draws a helpful analogy by equating language acquisition to music. Simply learning the keys and sounds of an instrument is not enough to produce a song; likewise, learning the syntax and lexicon is not enough to produce a sufficient knowledge of language. One must acquire a pragmatic competence that includes absorption of new presuppositions. This is most likely to occur from living in the environment. ... Read more

11. The Night Trilogy : Night, Dawn, The Accident
by Elie Wiesel
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
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Asin: 0374521409
Catlog: Book (1987-09-01)
Publisher: Hill and Wang
Sales Rank: 11638
Average Customer Review: 4.39 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (23)

5-0 out of 5 stars Metaphors of Horror
Wiesel commands the heart and soul of his readers in The Night Trilogy. There are a certain number of books that reach a person at the most elemental level and show them light and also unforgettable darkness. The Night Trilogy does this without pretense, without effort and without excuse.

Many people have read Wiesel's account of Auschwitz and Buchenwald through his short novel, Night. If anyone is going to read Holocaust literature they should not limit themselves to a concise focus on the camps, but also what happens to the survivors after the events.

When you combine Night, Dawn, and The Accident together, you as the reader can assemble a true and purer understanding of what Holocaust survivors went through and more importantly what they continue to go through.

The collection is a must read for anyone who considers themselves socially aware. The Night Trilogy is a work that you will go back to time and again. Readers will lend this out to friends not simply to be nice, but because they will feel a yearning for all those in their lives to know what happened and is still happening to Holocaust survivors.

Read this collection until your heart bleeds and pass it on to a friend so that compassion and understanding will bloom.

4-0 out of 5 stars Symbolic suffering
Elie Wiesel gives you a wide range view of the Holocaust and the continuing lives of the survivors. The story Night was the best of the three stories in the book. Night was the best because Wiesel wrote the story with more passion and emotion. The horrific incidents described in the book were so real that reader could connect with the author's pain. "I've got more faith in Hitler than in anyone else. He's the only one who's kept his promises, all his promises, to the Jewish people." These words were spoken by Wiesel because he feels that God abandoned him. Incidents such as the Holocaust lead Wiesel to speak these words and loose his faith in religion. Any book that can capture this emotion should be indulged.

Both Dawn and the Accident showed a great deal of symbolic meaning. They both made refrences to Night a number of times. This showed that even though the Holocaust ended, Wiesel still continued to suffer. An example of symbolism in the book is Wiesel's transformation from the death in Night and the rebirth in Dawn. If there is to be a book required to read in school The Night Trilogy should be it.

2-0 out of 5 stars The Accident
The Accident
I recently read the first person narrative biography, The Accident, by Eli Wiesel. This novel is very real which leads it to be depressing. I am not real sure I liked the book. It was interesting, but it was never very happy. The main character, Eliezer, comes from a concentration camp to New York and tries to start his life over. He is soon afterwards hit by a taxicab and severely hospitalized in a body cast. He then reflects on his life up to that point as he lies in the hospital all day talking with his doctor about death, pain, and love. His doctor meanwhile tries to figure out if the accident really was an accident.

People interested in relationships or a person's psyche may be interested in this novel. The reader is invited into every thought that Eliezer has. It is very personal, and Eliezer is very depressed from a tormented past from concentration camps and the catastrophe that happens to his people. He contemplates all aspects of living after being so near death. I am not really sure anyone will enjoy this book. This book is more of an eye opener. This is a good book for people who enjoy realism and pessimistic symbolism.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Outstanding Trilogy
This is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its' parts. Although all three books are very good to excellent, the way they fit together creates an excellent story from beginning to end. We start with "Night" which creates the understanding of the Holocaust through the perceptive eyes and ears of the youthful story teller. We then move to the book "Dawn" in which we find the main character as a young man who is involved in a moral dilemna. How he resolves the dilemna makes him realize that there is evil in all of us. His attempt to rationalize his actions are not sufficient to redeem himself in his own mind. We finish up with "The Accident" where we find the main character as a middle-aged man whose anger at the world makes him incapable of love. Certainly all that has preceded in his life helps us to understand his feelings but his anger is uncompromising and a dead end in and of itself. The problem resolves itself in a solution that brings an impressive closure to essentially all three books.

As a matter of clarification, each novel is a seperate story in itself. There is no "common Character" to all the novels. However, we get a sense that this all happens to one person. This is how well these stories fit together. Essentially, these works would appear to be autobiographical which adds to their meaning. Although Wiesel writes extensively about the Holocaust, there is certainly a special common thread to these stories. Read all three and make sure you read them in their proper order. Despite their brevity, it is as good an overall explantion, evaluation and summation of the Holocaust as you will find.

4-0 out of 5 stars How I the rate The Accident
The Accident is a book that really makes you think about your life and how well you have lived it. When he gets put in the hosipital by this accident, he starts to think how well he lived his life. I liked how it went back and forth between when he was in the hospital and back to things that happened before the accident. This book has a really good moral, well this is the moral i got out of it. You should put the bad things of the past out of your mind and only keep the good, and live life to the fullest because you never know when it is going to end. there are little saying and conversations in the book that i like very much. there is a part in the book where the guys friend paints a portrait of him while he is in the hospital and the day he gets out he doesnt end up takeing the portrait home, insted he friend that painted it does something with. but over all this is a good book, well if you like books that make you think about yourself. ... Read more

12. Leap into Darkness : Seven Years on the Run in Wartime Europe
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385497059
Catlog: Book (1999-09-14)
Publisher: Anchor
Sales Rank: 213644
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Leap into Darkness is the gripping, action-packed account of a young boy's series of audacious escapes from the Nazis' Final Solution. Leo Bretholz survived the Holocaust by escaping from the Nazis (and others) not once, but seven times during his almost seven-year ordeal crisscrossing war-torn Europe.

He leaped from trains, outran police, and hid in attics, cellars, anywhere that offered a few more seconds of safety. First he swam the River Sauer at the German-Belgian border. Later he climbed the Alps on feet so battered they froze to his socks--only to be turned back at the Swiss border. He crawled out from under the barbed wire of a French holding camp, and hid in a village in the Pyrenees while gendarmes searched it. And in the dark hours of one November morning, he escaped from a train bound for Auschwitz.

Leap into Darkness is the sweeping memoir of one Jewish boy's survival, and of the family and the world he left behind.
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Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Austria was very involved in the Holocaust
The part that most struck me was when he wrote "Before the war would end, little Austria would supply nearly half of the staff of all Nazi concentration camps and death camps." and the story he tells of being a boy in Vienna in March 1938"when Hitler entered the city and found a quarter of a million people rapturously cheering him". He says his cousin Sonja still lives in Vienna "where the citizens now call themselves victims....hoping to keep their secret from the rest of the world".Hitler was an Austrian and so was the head of the Gestapo Kaltenbrunner and many many other Nazi's.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing story of several escapes by Leo
I've read several books about the holocaust,whether their authors were survivors of the death camps, survivors on the run, or even non-Jews who helped others survive by hiding them.This book was an incredible story. His escapes were brave and amazing. I'm always looking for more stories such as this, it is amazing to me, there are so many stories, I want to know them all.If you have any other recommendations, e-mail me at book, must read.

5-0 out of 5 stars This book was incredible
I just finished this book, I coulnt beleive the outcome of it.It was so shocking to hear all of this. I couldn't put it down. Im very interested in the Holocaust, even though im not a surviver, but it is so interesting on how people were back in WWII, it amazes me that people had to go through all of this..I would diffently reccommend this. Thanks to Leo and Michael, to share such a tragic story and a big and unhumian peice of your life, a peice of history..Best Wishes

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely unbelievable
Leap into Darkness was about a young boy fleeing Europe before, during , and after WWII.Leo Bretholz is an amazing and courages individual.I had the opportunity to speak to Leo when he visted my sociology college class "Holocuast and Global Rasism"He is a true miracle and his story tells it all.
-Jessica 22

4-0 out of 5 stars Leo's adventures in running away from the Nazis.
As the other reviewers have already stated, this is an action packed adventure of a young man fleeing the Nazis.Leo fled from his native Vienna, to Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, France,and Switzerland.In this book, he describes the Austrians as welcome participants in the Holocaust and not as the victims.Austrians treat themselves as the first victims of Hitler's aggression rather than the willing helpers of Hitler.As he fled, other nations tried to avoid Hitler's refugees.No one welcomed the outcasts from the Hitler regime.
One comment about the nature of this book.Most of the victims did not know what was going to happen when they embarked on the train journey to the camps.Leo states it in the narrative.I don't think even he knew, other than the future was bleak.It lessens the story narrative as he pictures the death that awaits these people.This should have been told at the end.
This is a great book to read.It shows the suffering of the Jews and those who opposed Hitler. ... Read more

13. At the Mind's Limits: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and its Realities
by Jean Amery
list price: $14.95
our price: $14.95
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Asin: 0253211735
Catlog: Book (1998-05-01)
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Sales Rank: 342954
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Because Auschwitz was among the most brutal of the concentration camps, ruled by capricious, pure force and not by any discernable political or social structure, the intellectual there "was alone with his intellect ... and there was no social reality that could support and confirm it." In other words, there was no place for the intellect to act, outside of the confines of a person's own skull. Jean Amery's At The Mind's Limits is a focused meditation on the position of the intellectual placed in "a borderline situation, where he has to confirm the reality and effectiveness of his intellect, or to declare its impotence: in Auschwitz." In the camp, Amery writes, "The intellect very abruptly lost its basic quality: its transcendence." Considering this loss, Amery describes his own experience of torture, his reactions of resentment, anger, and bitterness, his loss of any vital sense of metaphysical questions, and his search for some way to maintain moral character and Jewish identity in the absence of such consciousness. --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars haunting human analysis...
This man, who lived caught between paralyzing fear and paralyzing anger, refuses to countenance the immoral world he found so horribly crude, ignorant and inadequate. I know of no more unrelenting self-criticism or self-asceticism than portrayed here in this work.

Every "outsider" will recognize immediately that the author talks to him/her. No matter by what standard one is taken as an outsider, here is a priceless analysis of your experience, writ humbly, clearly and painfully.

Every "moralist" will recognize immediately the accusations the authors aims in your direction with too-precise accuracy that will not allow you to wriggle free of the dread implications.

Every "religionist" will recognize the futility of responding in comforting platitude to the undeniable evidence of evil writ hugely in this thin volume.

I know of few intellectuals who will receive the meaning of this work with welcome. To almost all others, it will be set aside with well-explained rationalizations...

But for the reader who knows what "outside" means, what "cataclysm" means, and what "torment" of any stripe whatsoever means, then here you will find a comrade. Here you will find words of encouragement to struggle on...your lot is not as bad as it could be, after all...for here we find our comrade who has endured to the very limits of the mind. And survives, with bright intellect intact and sharp. Uncomfortably so.

A note on the "Auswitz" in the title--Don't allow this word to dissuade you from the universal human experience that is the focus of this work. Any and every human being can take an enhanced image of life and world from this resource.

5-0 out of 5 stars Potent...Like a bitter drink you have to come back to...
I really can't say much about this book, except that it is the most worn in my library of over 1,000 volumes compiled from a lifetime of literature. This translation is amazing as well. This book is an intellectual's journey through, and life after, hell.

5-0 out of 5 stars That Which is Incumbent Upon Every Human Being
To the world at large, none of the death camps is better known than is Auschwitz. There is now in existence a very large volume of literature regarding the atrocities committed in that infamous place, much of it written by its survivors. This literature is often reflective as well as descriptive as it recounts, not only the day-to-day horror of life and death but the destructive effects of relentless and senseless violence on human understanding. In this respect, the books of both Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi must stand as premier examples of intellectual and spiritual revelation as well as personal witness.

Jean Amery's At the Mind's Limit: Contemplations by a Survivor on Auschwitz and Its Realities must join the works of Wiesel and Levi as indispensable reading for anyone seeking to grasp the deepest range of emotions and implications the name Auschwitz should evoke. In this book Amery stresses the negative and shows on virtually every page how futile it would be to scrutinize the experience of a Holocaust survivor for anything even remotely redemptive. Auschwitz was destruction without deliverance, a place of inexplicable and implacable hostility against the very definition of humanity. As a consequence, a mind that searches Auschwitz, or any of the other camps, for reasonable and rational explanations will only be confronted with its own impotence. As Amery puts it, "In the camp the intellect in its totality declared itself to be incompetent...Beauty: that was an illusion. Knowledge: that turned out to be a game with ideas." The intellect, Amery tells us, was robbed of its transcendence, rendering the intellectual the most vulnerable of victims.

The five autobiographical essays that make up this remarkable book are models of intellectual sobriety, lucidity and moral earnestness. Amery's experiences at Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz and other camps, detailed in the first essay, brought him to the realization that all of his previously-held aesthetic concepts and analytic capabilities were rendered useless. "The aesthetic view of death had revealed itself to the intellectual as part of an aesthetic mode of life; where the latter had been all but forgotten, the former was nothing but an elegant trifle. In the camp no Tristan music accompanied death, only the roaring of the SS and the Kapos." Spiritually disarmed and intellectually disoriented, "the intellectual faced death defenselessly."

The book's second essay, which is unusually vivid, concerns the genesis and nature of sadistic physical torture. Torture was an essential component of Nazism and not a peripheral aspect. It was the determinant that defined and coalesced the basically depraved and destructive character of Nazism, an ideology "that expressly established...the role of the a principle." Nihilistic principles have always existed, but German National Socialism distilled and purified them. They tortured, not to gain advantages, but because they were torturers.

The remaining three essays deal with a variety of topics, all related to and all centering on the ordeals Amery endured during the Holocaust as well as its aftermath. The book's concluding essay, "On the Necessity and Impossibility of Being a Jew," is a culminating statement that defines in wretchedly painful terms a dilemma that is far more than Amery's alone.

As Amery both felt and lived with the Holocaust, his awareness demanded that he contend with all manifestations of postwar anti-Semitism, something he did with increasing frequency during the final years of his life. Although his own Judaism was, to him, highly problematic, he was uncompromising in his opposition to those who attacked the ideological concept of the State of Israel. "The impossibility of being a Jew," he said, "becomes the necessity to be one, and that means: a vehemently protesting Jew."

Amery, however, worried that in any newfound prosperity the events of the Third Reich would be forgotten or simply submerged in accounts of the general historical epoch. And, indeed, even the young survivors of the camps have now reached their seventh decade of life. What will preserve the memory of the camps once the last survivor is gone? For, "Remembering," said Amery. "That is the cue."

The entire world was, and is, affected by the atrocities of the Holocaust. It therefore becomes incumbent upon every human being alive, and not just every Jew, as well as those human beings yet to be born, to bear the imprint of the Holocaust upon his heart. In this way, mankind will never cease to do what is so very essential. Remember. ... Read more

14. Oskar Schindler: The Untold Account of His Life, Wartime Activities, and the True Story Behind The List
by David M. Crowe
list price: $30.00
our price: $20.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081333375X
Catlog: Book (2004-11-01)
Publisher: Westview Press
Sales Rank: 12659
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Book Description

Spy, businessman, bon vivant, Nazi Party member, Righteous Gentile. This was Oskar Schindler, the controversial man who saved eleven hundred Jews during the Holocaust but struggled afterwards to rebuild his life and gain international recognition for his wartime deeds. David Crowe examines every phase of Schindler's life in this landmark biography, presenting a savior of mythic proportions who was also an opportunist and spy who helped Nazi Germany conquer Poland.

Schindler is best known for saving over a thousand Jews by putting them on the famed "Schindler's List" and then transferring them to his factory in today's Czech Republic. In reality, Schindler played only a minor role in the creation of the list through no fault of his own. Plagued by local efforts to stop the movement of Jewish workers from his factory in Krak--w to his new one in BrŸnnlitz, and his arrest by the SS who were investigating corruption charges against the infamous Amon Gšth, Schindler had little say or control over his famous "List." The tale of how the "List" was really prepared is one of the most intriguing parts of the Schindler story that Crowe tells here for the first time.

Forced into exile after the war, success continually eluded Schindler and he died in very poor health in 1974. He remained a controversial figure, even in death, particularly after Emilie Schindler, his wife of forty-six years, began to criticize her husband after the appearance of Steven Spielberg's film in 1993.

In Oskar Schindler, Crowe steps beyond the mythology that has grown up around the story of Oskar Schindler and looks at the life and work of this man whom one prominent Schindler Jew described as "an extraordinary man in extraordinary times." ... Read more

15. Until the Final Hour : Hitler's Last Secretary
by Traudl Junge
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559707283
Catlog: Book (2004-04-02)
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Sales Rank: 26457
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Intensely disturbing, well written memoir
Junge's story of her relationship with Hitler is intense, disturbing and thought provoking. The translation and editing are excellent and the reader almost can feel the claustrophobia of life in the bunker, and the clock ticking down to their ultimate defeat.

Most fascinating and enfuriating is the very human side of the Fuhrer detailed by the author. He is often depicted as pedenatic...a frail, old gentleman, polite and artistic, rather than the mad annihilator we know him to truly have been. This contributes, of course, to the always impossible to understand appeal of his message to the masses.

Historians and buffs alike will be compelled to read this very interesting, detailed account of one woman's experiences of life inside the Third Reich.

5-0 out of 5 stars WW II Account Of A Would-Be Ballerina Who Worked For Hitler
First of all I would like to correct a statement made elsewhere that this book was previously published in 1989 under the title Voices From The Bunker. That volume, reviewed elsewhere under its title, was co-written by Pierre Galante, author of The Berlin Wall, Operation Valkyrie, The General, and Malraux, as well as being a writer for Paris Match, and Eugene Silianoff, a one-time Bulgarian diplomat who was working in Switzerland during WW II and who has also contributed to Paris Match.

In their volume they do refer often to Traudl Humps who, at age 22, still dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, right up to the day in 1942 when she got a job as one of Adolf Hitler's private secretaries.

But this book is HER account of those days, culled from her journal which she began writing in 1947 following exhaustive questioning by the Western Allies and the Soviets, and was co-written with Melissa Muller who provides the background. The name Junge was the result of her brief marriage to one of Hitler's valets, Hans Junge of the Liebstandarte SS, who was killed in action in the year following their wedding.

To the time of her own death at age 81 on February 10, 2002, shortly after the book's launch under its original title of To The Last Hour, she claimed that her appreciation of the momentous and horrendous events going on around her never really struck home until the years immediately following the war. When she started jotting down her thoughts in 1947 she did so from the perspective of one who had no choice but to acknowledge her naivety and who now realized she would have to live the rest of her life with the guilt of actually having been fond of "the greatest criminal ever to have lived."

When she worked for Hitler she'd found him to be a "pleasant older man and a good employer" - was naturally fascinated by this charismatic character - but recalls her duties as being mostly the taking of shorthand and then the typing of non-controversial material, and at times helping to make tea.

There are many who scoff at her oft-stated ignorance of the holocaust and other monumental war crimes during her days as a secretary but, whether or not you choose to believe her claims, her book detailing that part of her life offers a fascinating insight into the day to day functions, and the slow but steady mental and physical deterioration, of one of history's most evil men. It certainly will be the last first-hand account by a member of his inner circle.

In addition to touching upon the powerful people around him, and relating daily routine, she describes in chilling detail the events of April 28, 1945. With Russian artillery shells pounding the outer portion of the bunker in Berlin, ironically being defended by the Charlemagne SS Division made up primarily of Frenchmen, Hitler called her in to dictate his last will and testament. He told her to "make three copies and then come in ... I wrote as fast as I could ... my fingers worked mechanically and I was surprised that I hardly made any typing mistakes."

This is typical of the information imparted in her book and, as such, it's a great companion to Voices In The Bunker. But it's not the same book.

5-0 out of 5 stars New Information--Even for those who think they've read all
What I like best about this book is that it gives new insight into the Nazi's that isn't found in other books. The author has nothing to hide (like Speer may have) and it is an incredible experience to read first hand what it was like being with Hitler socially and in the final days before his suicide.

In most books about Hitler seems to be almost an inhuman supernatural monster. In this book he is shown more as an egomaniac surrounded by people who are ineffective at advising him. His coolness and evil are even more chilling when his portrait is fully drawn and he is not simple an evil caricature as in many biographies.

The author shares how she was drawn in by Hitler and later felt betrayed.

So many books about the Nazi rehash the same facts without a personal perspective. The author had lunch and dinner with Hitler almost every day for a year!

This is a must read for anyone interested in this period of history.

4-0 out of 5 stars If you're new to Hitler, this is good
For people who haven't read much about Hitler, this will be an interesting book. Traudl Junge was one of his secretaries from 1942 until his death three years later. She never knew him as well as Schroeder, Wolf or Gerda Christian, his other secretaries, and this is because she arrived so late on the scene. Hitler had deteriorated physically and mentally by 1942, so she was never privy to the full range of his charisma; she saw him in the period of his marked decline.

For those who think Hitler behaved as "movie Hitlers" act, then you'll be shocked to see that in private, he was a charming, fatherly fellow, at least to his inner circle. Hitler's dark, maniacal side was reserved for Himmler, Bormann and others. Junge grew attached to Hitler and enjoyed his company, even the interminable nightly monologues.

This entire book was previously published in 1989 and was called "Voices from the Bunker." Junge died in 2003 and this has been rushed out because of her recent demise. If you're well-versed in Hitler, there is nothing new here, Junge was interviewed exhaustively for years before her death. I was able to meet her, in Munich, twenty years ago, and she was a reserved, rather withdrawn woman, oppressed with guilt because she had served a mass murderer. I think anyone with an interest in Hitler will enjoy the book, but don't expect any new or revealing material.

4-0 out of 5 stars Hannah Arendt Was Right
Evil is banal. It also is anethesthetizing. It also has a morbid illumination (Ger. "grelles Licht") about it. The late Traudl Junge's account of her secretarial service to Adolf Hitler confirms the observations.
In her quite interesting memoir, helped along by editor Melissa Müller, we see the images of a young woman whose dream for life is so like our own that we get caught up in its hum-drum nature. But -- what, then, do many secretaries do that is not a matter of daily routine and technical correctness? Any person who took dictation and then prepared a memo knows what is needed: a perfect piece of work. Junge seems to tell us that her efforts met the mark. Banal life.
She was caught up in Hitler's informal inner circle, like it or not, and saw images of the man not many others did -- from a safe distance. She was numbed by his common nature -- a man, she states, who cared about walks in the alps, his dog (which he, a dictator seemed very good at ordering around), and his consummately bland personal lifestyle. One opines he and Eva Braun never had sex because, per Junge, he felt he would not make much of a father. How numbing.
Her report is mysteriously apart from reality. However, it may be a very correct appraisal of Adolf Hitler, from stem to stern: the monster lived in a world other than ours, at least in his head.
Traudl Junge seems to have been about as close to Hitler's personal mind as anyone except Eva Braun (who must have longed for a broader anatomical scene, but generally was unrequited) if one believes what one has read. Morbid illumination....
This is a story well worth reading and I recommend it to serious historians. Had the editor's handling of its technical aspects produced a smoother narrative, I would have gone Five-Star. ... Read more

16. The Nazi Officer's Wife : How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust
by Edith H. Beer
list price: $14.00
our price: $10.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 068817776X
Catlog: Book (2000-11-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 50358
Average Customer Review: 4.53 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Edith Hahn was an outspoken young woman in Vienna when the Gestapo forced her into a ghetto and then into a labor camp. When she returned home months later, she knew she would become a hunted woman and went underground. With the help of a Christian friend, she emerged in Munich as Grete Denner. There she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi Party member who fell in love with her. Despite Edith's protests and even her eventual confession that she was Jewish, he married her and kept her identity a secret.

In wrenching detail, Edith recalls a life of constant, almost paralyzing fear. She tells of German officials who casually questioned the lineage of her parents; of how, when giving birth to her daughter, she refused all painkillers, afraid that in an altered state of mind she might reveal something of her past; and of how, after her husband was captured by the Soviet army, she was bombed out of her house and had to hide while drunken Russian soldiers raped women on the street.

Yet despite the risk it posed to her life, Edith created a remarkable record of survival. She saved every document and set of papers issued to her, as well as photographs she managed to take inside labor camps. Now part of the permanent collection at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., these hundreds of documents, several of which are included in this volume, form the fabric of a gripping new chapter in the history of the Holocaust -- complex, troubling, and ultimately triumphant.

... Read more

Reviews (43)

This is an interesting work of non-fiction that, at times, reads as if it were a novel. Based upon the recollection of a secular Austrian Jew, a young woman named Edith Hahn, the book tells the reader her intriguing story. During the Holocaust, she married a member of the Nazi party whom she had told she was Jewish. He married her and kept her secret. In the waning days of the war, her husband was drafted into the German army and ended up a prisoner of war for a time. Upon his return, he found a crumbling German infra-structure, the Nazis out of favor, and his Jewish wife asserting herself as she really was, a well-educated, independent woman.

This is essentially a book about Ms. Hahn's life just before, during, and just after World War II. It tells the reader about her life in Austria before the Nazis took over. She was a well-educated woman studying to be a lawyer, when the Gestapo put an end to her professional aspirations. She was sent to work at a labor camp and while doing so, her mother was deported to a concentration camp, before they could be re-united. Seeing that the writing was on the wall for the Jews of Austria, she went underground with the help of a Christian friend and fled to Germany. It was while she lived an underground life in Germany under an assumed name, that she met Werner Vetter, a Nazi party member who fell in love with her. Notwithstanding her confession that she was Jewish, he married her and never betrayed her.

She tells a tale of sublimation of self in order to survive the rigors of the policies of Nazi Germany that were imposed upon Austria, her country and a land where anti-Semitism was rife. She tells a tale of sublimation of self in order to survive her marriage to a person whose views were so opposite her own. Her fears of discovery were so acute that during childbirth, she refused to take any pain medication or anesthesia for fear of betraying her own self while under sedation. Her only child, a daughter, Angelika, is believed to be the only child born of a Jewish mother in a Reich hospital in 1944. Though Edith loved her husband, she never felt free to be herself until the war was over. Hers is a story of immobilizing fear and survival.

This is an intriguing perspective on the Holocaust from the voice of one who who was in a singular position during the latter half of the war, as she was a Jew in Germany.

5-0 out of 5 stars Edith Hahn Beer: War Hero
Throughout time, different cultures and groups of people have had varied ideas on what makes a hero. In Edith Hahn Beer's autobiography, The Nazi Officer's Wife, she tells what it was like to be the wife of a Nazi officer-and a Jewish woman with false identity papers at the same time. Some people have criticized Hahn for the manner in which she survived the Holocaust, by being married to the enemy while other Jews were dying in the Nazi concentration camps. Her inspiring autobiography, definitely worth reading, makes the reader admire in stead of criticize her. It tells the story of a young, afraid, hunted Jew living in Nazi Austria who overcomes adversity to become strong willed and brave, helpful to others, and hard working. These qualities are those of heroes, and are reasons why Edith Hahn Beer should be considered a hero or heroine.
One heroic quality that Edith demonstrates is that of her bravery and strong will. She remained cool when Nazi officers questioned her parent's lineage during her marriage ceremony. This is important because when she filed for her marriage to Werner Vetter, her papers had her registered as Grete Denner, a Christian. If the government had found out about this, the lives of both Edith and Christl Denner (the original owner of the papers) would be in jeopardy. Another brave thing that Edith does is listen to the BBC, and other foreign radio stations. This is a brave thing to do, because "Anybody who [listens to foreign radio stations] will go to Dachau or Buchenwald or Orianenburg or God only knows where." Finally, one major thing Edith does to demonstrate her amazing self control and bravery is to give birth to her daughter without any anesthetic. After working as Reich nurse, she had discovered that people giving birth had said all kinds of things that could get them in trouble with the government. "I began to remember all the patients I had seen who had come out of surgery or had been sedated during childbirth, and who said things that could incriminate them and their loved ones." After she is done, she goes on to say that in all of World War II, giving birth to her daughter was the only part in the war where she wanted to die. Going through this much pain to protect the people you love is quite heroic.
Throughout the course of the book, Edith proves herself to be very concerned about other people. She helps others even when it is potentially dangerous to her own self. In the beginning of the book, she becomes a nanny and tutor to a young woman named Christl Denner. As time goes by, Denner becomes like a little sister to Edith. Edith's mother goes on to say "When [Mr. Denner's] girls needed a substitute mother, someone to listen to them with a caring heart, you were there." The fact that Edith befriends Denner as a youth is crucial. Years later, Denner saves Edith's life. Christian Christl let Edith use her original identity papers, and reapplied for a set for herself. With these Christian papers, Edith could then function as an Aryan woman in Nazi Austria. Edith even helps complete strangers. A Nazi officer knocks on her door and says "... We have reason to believe there is a deserter hiding out in the vacant apartment.... Right above you. He would have been here last night. Did you hear any noise?" Even though she had heard footsteps, shuffling, and a creaking bed among other noises, she lied and said "No, Nothing." This act saved a complete stranger. If the government had found out that she lied about this, her whole cover as an Aryan housewife could have been blown. Finally, post war, Edith works shortly as a judge. People come to her requesting emigration papers, with custody battles, and with cases involving impoverished Russian children. She takes all these cases saying "Finally it was my turn to save someone's life." At the end of World War II, non-Aryan judges with proper credentials were in high demand. These people that Edith Hahn was among helped to restore order to the chaos that post-war Europe had become.
Finally, one last heroic quality found to be true to Edith Hahn Beer is that of her hard work and determination. Throughout the course of the war, she is forced to work in at least 2 places: an asparagus plantation in Osterburg, and a factory in Aschersleben. At the asparagus plantation, her fingers "ached as though they were broken" and her back "would not straighten," yet she was still considered one of the plantation's best working. Her hard work was important here, because it showed her inner drive. Even though this was something she wasn't exactly thrilled to be doing, she was still doing her best at it. Life was similar at the factory in Aschersleben. There, she helped cut boxes. Her planning and pacing resulted in having her quota raised twice. A good friend, Mina, went on to say "You are clearly one of 'Bestehorn's best'!" Hard work was important here for the same reasons that it was in Osterburg. As long as Edith was working for the government, she and her family were safe and in the Reich. Edith lastly proves her inner drive and hard work by crepe making. With the end of the war, Bradenburg (the city in which she lived) fell to the Russians. She evacuated with her young, measles stricken daughter, to a nearby city. There, she lived briefly with a farming family and soldiers, all going hungry. She told everyone to go to nearby farmers and bring back milk, eggs, jam, bread, and flour for Crepes. "All day long, as the men streamed into the little house, I made hundreds of delicate Viennese crepes for the Wehrmacht [German for armed forces] and the woman and her daughter served them." This gesture not only represented her willingness to help others, but her hard work helped to feed these starving German soldiers. Since this occurred post-war, this also represents her making amends with the German armed forces, once considered enemies. At the end of the war, she saw that many of them were just tired, beaten down, hungry men and this gesture of her hard work shows that.
There are many different kinds of heroes. There are political heroes, battle heroes, heroes who are innovators. Edith Hahn was none of the above. What made Edith Hahn Beer a hero was not one single deed, or necessarily one big achievement. Her persona, willingness to help others, bravery in hard times and her hard work left footprints in the hearts of those around her, and continues to touch those who read her autobiography. That is what makes Edith Hahn Beer a hero.

5-0 out of 5 stars Remarkable! Historcal! Informative!
How amazing, and refreshing to read about someone who had this unmistakable courage to lived among her enemies. We can only imagine how very scary her life must have been and yet she lived to tell us her story. I'm so proud of Edith, and I'm proud to have read about her story of survival!
I have to disagree with:
DULL Self-absorbed Tale, October 10, 2003
Reviewer: Sharyn Gantt from Accokeek, MD USA
Seems more fiction than fact to me; at most this reads like an embellished version of something resembling the truth.

Seems to me we shouldn't be so quick to pass judgement on a life we never lived, true I too was not there but who am I to not trust this woman's experience. People like the above re-viewer have no place in my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing True Story!
This book is an amazing, true story about a courageous lady! I couldn't put the book down once I started reading!

1-0 out of 5 stars DULL Self-absorbed Tale
Seems more fiction than fact to me; at most this reads like an embellished version of something resembling the truth. ... Read more

17. Shanghai Diary: A Young Girl's Journey from Hitler's Hate to War-Torn China
by Ursula Bacon
list price: $24.95
our price: $16.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1595820000
Catlog: Book (2004-10-10)
Publisher: M Press
Sales Rank: 20527
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Against the backdrop of looming world war and Hitler's "Final Solution," 11-year-old Ursula Bacon and her family made the terrifying 8,000-mile voyage to Shanghai with its promise of freedom. Instead they found overcrowded ghettos filled with desperately poor Chinese and Japanese. Amid the city's abysmal conditions and its prostitutes, drug dealers, and rats, Ursula discovered a city of exotic, eccentric, and exciting humanity. Years later, when the fate of friends and family left behind in Germany became known and documented, the hard life endured by those in the Shanghai ghetto seemed to pale in comparison. As a result, the "Shanghai Jews" have been all but lost in history. Ursula's eight-year struggle is a story to be shared and remembered. As she watches her best friend die from fever, befriends a Buddhist monk, learns the lessons of street life, and aids an American airman, her remarkable memoir will resonate with readers long after the last page is read. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars quick and powerful
This book is a quick read as there is no one highlight, no one climax...the book is chalk full of horrid surprise, history, and wisdom filled insight. This is being made into a movie currently. Vivid, powerful, a must read.

1-0 out of 5 stars Truth vs. Fiction
More than unbelievable! Is this story actually true? In this book, it seems as though the fine line between truth and fiction is nonexistent.

Riddled with inconsistencies and inaccuracies. Does confusion reign? The most inaccurate accounting of World War II I've ever read. Was this story ever verified? The stories themselves were quite interesting and entertaining, yet I can't help but question the historical accuracy of this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspiration, History, and a Study in Contrasts
Wow! I was in tears by the second page. I ordered takeout and left dishes in the sink just so I could keep reading this compelling glimpse into a lesser known aspect of World War II. I'm not a history buff, but Ursula Bacon's story drew a sketch of the war at such a personal level that I couldn't stop reading.

The book covers the eight year period during which an aristocratic Jewish family fled Nazi occupied Germany to Japanese occupied Shanghai, only to be trapped in a detention center when Japan joined the German Axis.

Lest you think the subject might be depressing, let me assure you that it is quite the opposite. The courage, enthusiasm, and even humor that this family mustered to deal with their adversity is inspirational. I especially enjoyed how the author shared the spiritual insights she gained during this period. She blended her Jewish background with Catholic schooling, enhanced by teachings from a Buddhist monk and her own intuition. The result is that she could feel compassion for those who would victimize her. That's a lesson most of us can't achieve in a whole lifetime of petty annoyances. Yet, this young girl managed to love the enemy that treated her as a "sub-human" and "lowest form of life," to use her own terms.

I think this book would appeal to a wide variety of people at any age. Some of the images portrayed will stay with me forever- the bombings, the squalor, the beauty. The author's style vacillates between conversational and lyrical. The way she dealt successfully with the contrast between her former life of unimaginable opulence and then her ordeal with abject adversity was stunning. I already find myself taking guidance from her Buddhist teacher Yuan Lin who always reminded her, "Remember, it's all the same."

5-0 out of 5 stars Shanghai Diary, the little-known story of the Shanghai Jews
When I started Shanghai Diary, I found that I simply couldn't put it down. I hadn't known the story of the Shanghai Jews in the Hongkew ghetto, and I was riveted by the well-written story of Ursula Bacon's 8 years as a young girl in Shanghai, where it was nothing to see a dead baby girl thrown on a heap of trash and where day-to-day existence was harsh and often degrading. Despite all of this, Ursula's family managed to maintain their dignity and prevail. To me it was a story of great courage. When she left Shanghai at the end of the war, far from being devastated by the experience, Ursula took away the lesson that she had seen first hand what hate can do, and she would never hate anyone as long as she lived. The book was so moving that I had to sit quietly and reflect for quite some time after I read the final page. ... Read more

18. In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe--A Dwarf Family's Survival of the Holocaust
by Yehuda Koren, Eilat Negev
list price: $25.00
our price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786713658
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: Carroll & Graf Publishers
Sales Rank: 126082
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

In this remarkable, never-before-told account of the Ovitz family, seven of whose ten members were dwarves, readers bear witness to the terrible irony of the Ovitz’s fate: being burdened with dwarfism helped them to endure the Holocaust. Through research and interviews with the youngest Ovitz daughter, Perla, the troupe’s last surviving member, and other relatives, the authors weave the tale of a beloved and successful family of performers who were famous entertainers in Central Europe until the Nazis deported them to Auschwitz in May 1944. Descending into the hell of the concentration camp from the transport train, the Ovitz family—known widely as the Lilliput Troupe— was separated from other Jewish victims. When Josef Mengele was notified of their arrival, they were assigned better quarters and provided more nutritious food than other inmates. Authors Koren and Negev chronicle Mengele’s experiments upon this family and the creepy fondness he developed for them. Finally liberated by Russian troops, the family eventually found their way to a new home in Israel where they became wealthy and successful performers. In Our Hearts We Were Giants is a powerful testament to the human spirit, and a triumphant tale that no reader will forget. Photographs are included. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars a poignant and uplifting story of survival
As an avid reader of many Holocaust stories, I was very moved by the remarkable, true story written by Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev, Israeli authors who interviewed the last surviving dwarf of the Lilliput Troupe. This Orthodox family which consisted of ten children, seven of whom were dwarfs, all survived the horrors of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp and the experiments by Joseph Mengele. Unlike other stories of Holocaust survivors which describe horrific conditions of death, starvation, and torture, this story is unique in that the reader can identify with the emotions and vicissitudes of the dwarfs and sympathize with their situation. It is a poignant and uplifting story of survival and compassion for the little people of the world who have made an important contribution to world history, unique in the Orthodox world. ... Read more

19. ZVI : The Miraculous Story of Triumph Over the Holocaust
by Elwood McQuaid
list price: $12.95
our price: $11.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0915540665
Catlog: Book (2000-10-20)
Publisher: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry
Sales Rank: 416054
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

For more than half a century ZVI has endured as the best-selling book produced by The Friends of Israel.Millions of people have been touched by this story of a World War II waif in Warsaw, Poland.As a 10-year-old Jewish boy, Zvi was separated from his parents and forced to face the trials of survival in Adolph Hitler's crazed world.How he triumphed against all odds and found his way to Israel and faith in the Messiah is one of the greatest stories of our time.Now ZVI and the sequel, ZVI AND THE NEXT GENERATION, are combined in a new book, ZVI: THE MIRACULOUS STORY OF TRIUMPH OVER THE HOLOCAUST.The whole story—together at last and updated with new information that will thrill your heart.This is a book you will find difficult to lay down.(5 1/2 x 8 1/2) ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Triumph over Tragedy
My review is about the first edition of this book which ended with Zvi and his wife Esther having a beautiful daughter named Ruth. I loved this story. I was stunned at how it started, with little Henryk being taken to an orphanage by his mother, never to see her or the rest of his family again. I was moved to tears while I read this book which described how Henryk survived during the war. What he thought was his wits, he later realized was the LORD delivering him from certain death. The God we serve is a very powerful God and this book is a testimony to His greatness. Henryk lost everything except his life, but he met Jesus and the LORD restored him. A very wonderful story.

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW! An unforgettable, touching testimony...
This book touched me in ways I had not expected. Zvi survived the atrocities of the holocaust and lived to tell the world what really happened. His life was nearly destroyed by Hitler's evil regime, but God had another plan in mind for the life of little Zvi. This book is a golden triumph!

5-0 out of 5 stars Zvi is the most amazing Messianic Jew of our time!
A book that will touch your heart and stay with you for the rest of your life. Don't miss this one! ... Read more

20. My Mother's Eyes: Holocaust Memories of a Young Girl
by Anna Ornstein, Stewart Goldman
list price: $20.00
our price: $13.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1578601452
Catlog: Book (2004-04-01)
Publisher: Emmis Books
Sales Rank: 331532
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Book Description

Auschwitz survivor Anna Ornstein recalls the tragedies of the Holocaust—and the small moments of grace that gave her the strength to endure—in MY MOTHER’S EYES, a triumphant testament to the human spirit.

After immigrating to the US as a young woman, Anna seldom spoke of the horrors she had experienced during the war. In time, as her family blossomed and grandchildren filled her home for the holidays, her daughter asked her to share some of her painful Holocaust memories as part of a Seder gathering. Over the course of the next 25 years, Anna added to this annual Passover tradition with another deeply personal recollection each year.The result, MY MOTHER’S EYES, is the moving account of how one woman survived—against all odds—with the fullness of her love, dreams and ambitions intact.

Award-winning artist Stewart Goldman paired his powerful images with Anna’s moving words to create a limited-edition gallery work, From Slavery to Deliverance. Available now for the first time as a book, MY MOTHER’S EYES bears witness to the faith, courage and tenacity of the human spirit. ... Read more

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