BURNED CHILD SEEKS THE FIRE by Cordelia Edvardson

BURNED CHILD SEEKS THE FIRE

A Memoir
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A woman who survived Auschwitz as an adolescent thrusts her harrowing story on a public soothed by Anne Frank's gentle and forgiving paradigm. Edvardson is in many ways the anti-Frank. The normal mother- daughter trials of adolescence described in the expurgated parts of Frank's diary are mild compared with the gulf that separated Edvardson from her mother: Confronted by the Gestapo, the 14-year-old was forced to sign away her own freedom to protect the older woman (both were half-Jewish), who sat by and said nothing. And as Edvardson's good, Catholic family lived out the prewar and war years in their home in Berlin, Edvardson was slowly and painfully torn from her childhood and forced to endure the fate of the German Jews, although she was more a stranger to her fellow victims than she was to her persecutors. (In the Swedish hospital where she was sent after the war, the Jewish refugees called her a ``German swine'' because of her German Catholic upbringing.) At age ten, Edvardson was expelled from her grade school and forced to attend a Jewish day school. She then had to wear the yellow Jewish star and was sent away from her home to live with a series of Jewish half-strangers. After a final stint in a Berlin Jewish hospital, Edvardson was deported, first to Theresiendstadt and finally to Auschwitz. She survived the war, and her anger grew through years of a seemingly functional, even successful, life in Sweden. She finally found some measure of peace when she converted to Judaism and moved to Israel, where she and her family live today. Even readers who think they have become inured to the pain of Holocaust memoirs will be sucked in and beaten down by the brutal honesty of Edvardson's words.

Pub Date: July 14th, 1997
ISBN: 0-8070-7094-7
Page count: 106pp
Publisher: Beacon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997