AUSCHWITZ AND AFTER by Charlotte Delbo

AUSCHWITZ AND AFTER

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Translated into English for the first time in its entirety, a painful and moving trilogy by a member of the French resistance and survivor of Auschwitz. Delbo (19131985) was arrested in 1942 with her husband, Georges Dudach, who was executed almost immediately. Delbo was interned first in a French prison, then in Auschwitz, Birkenau, and RavensbrÅck. The trilogy's first two volumes, ``None of Us Will Return'' and ``Useless Knowledge,'' describe the author's time in prison and the concentration camps. In brief vignettes that flow in and out of poetry, Delbo tells of her terrible hunger and even more terrible thirst, the full days standing in the snow, the beatings, the endless parade of skeletal corpses. But at the same time the author acknowledges the futility of her task- -to explain the inexplicable. Why does she struggle against this paradox? The answer can be found in the text itself: Since ``none of us was meant to return,'' Delbo writes, by returning she has triumphed over her oppressors. Delbo brings a humanity to these familiar scenes of inhumanity through her vivid rendering of her comrades, and she eschews the philosophical musings of other Holocaust literature for an intimate account of daily life in the camps. The third book, ``The Measure of Our Days,'' is filled with stories of survivors after the war: the woman who could never get warm, no matter how many sweaters she wore; the man who came home to find his parents killed in a bombing and himself accused, wrongly, of betraying his resistance group; Delbo herself, who has recurring nightmares about escaping from the concentration camp and returning voluntarily--perhaps an allusion to her constant return to the camps in her writing. A profound testimonial.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-300-06208-7
Page count: 360pp
Publisher: Yale Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995




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