WE SURVIVED THE HOLOCAUST

Sixteen men and women describe their Holocaust experiences and tell how they survived. All were in their teens at the time and now live in the US. Interviewer Landau presents their accounts as simple narratives of events, skillfully arranged to bring out the similarities and contrasts and to enable readers to endure the accumulating horror: beginning with Germany itself, from which some Jews managed to escape before the war, she moves to Poland, site of the most vicious and inescapable persecution, then finally to Holland and the lucky few who were successfully hidden, and finally to the experience of a Transylvanian who was sent from one death camp to another, including Auschwitz, in the war's last days. The experiences are many: prewar persecution, forced labor, special treatment for special skills (including diamond cutters), encounters with betrayal and with Righteous Gentiles, visas denied and citizenship purchased in El Salvador (not at war with Germany), passing as Gentile to work in the underground. Though told without dramatizing, each story has enough material for a novel—each survivor had a unique combination of stamina, courage, persistence, and rare luck, and has apparently been able to set grief aside in order to go on to a productive life. Valuable source material, rich with telling detail. Excellent b&w portrait photos, past and present; glossary; list of 43 Holocaust organizations; books and articles for further reading; index. (Nonfiction. 13+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-531-15229-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1991

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES

For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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