A TIME TO SPEAK by Helen Lewis

A TIME TO SPEAK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A compelling historical memoir by a Czech Jew who survived Auschwitz. Before WW II Lewis studied at the Milca Mayerova dance school in Prague and performed with its professional company. She also taught dance and choreographed her own pieces. After the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia, Lewis and her husband were deported to the ``model camp'' of Theresienstadt; later they were transported to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where they lost track of each other. Lewis, who was a member of a transport of prisoners sent from Auschwitz to labor camps at Stutthof and Kochstadt, survived the war; her husband did not. In 1947 she remarried and settled in Belfast, where she became involved again in choreographing and teaching dance. Lewis writes about the mistreatment she endured in the camps in a straightforward, understated way. She describes small but extraordinary acts of bravery and resistance, such as the time starving prisoners at Kochstadt voted to fast on Yom Kippur despite Nazi threats to withhold their rations once the fast was over. She also describes acts of kindness from unlikely individuals that saved her life; one SS guard slipped her a bottle of medicine for dysentery, thus saving her from selection for death. Through it all, she refused to give up hope and continued to see beauty in the ugliest of surroundings. Lewis's intelligence shines throughout, made more luminous by her compassionate observations about the effects of war on human beings.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1994
ISBN: 0-7867-0068-8
Page count: 144pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1994




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