A unique Holocaust memoir.

TALKING UNTIL NIGHTFALL

REMEMBERING JEWISH SALONICA, 1941-44

Three generations of a Jewish family centered in Salonica reveal their perspectives on the World War II German occupation, which decimated the religious enclave.

The primary elements of this unusually constructed text, “the first account of the Shoah available in Greek,” appeared in book form in 1948 in Athens, with the title translated into English as And Yet Not All Died. The author was Isaac Matarasso (1892-1958), a doctor who survived the German death camps through a variety of maneuvers, some of which he initiated, others of which can only be described as serendipity or blessed coincidences. As did so many others, Matarasso experienced horrific physical and psychological violence. According to his daughter-in-law, Pauline Matarasso (b. 1929)—the translator of the present volume, which includes contributions from other members of the family as well as additional “more personal pieces” that Isaac wrote—he suffered in ways he almost certainly never fully revealed. Isaac divides his detailed, searing account into three chronological phases: the “partial toleration” of the Germans, aided by turncoat Greeks; the absolute oppression, marked by forced labor and deprivation; and the deportation to the concentration camps: “The Jews were herded like cattle into a concentration camp, where the full range of Nazi brutalities was brought to bear, ending with the deportation of about 46,000 Jews out of the city’s population of 50,000, crammed into cattle trucks.” Isaac's son Robert (1927-1982) experienced some of the nightmare as a teenager, and his memories are included here in the form of passages from an uncompleted memoir he worked on decades after the invasion. Robert covers many of the same events as his father, but unlike Isaac, he wrote in a more intimate first-person voice. Some readers may be distracted by the fragmented nature of the narrative, but the resurrection and enhancement of the 1948 manuscript is a triumph.

A unique Holocaust memoir.

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4729-7588-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Bloomsbury Continuum

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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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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