SAVING THE FRAGMENTS: From Auschwitz to New York by Isabella with Irving A. Leitner Leitner

SAVING THE FRAGMENTS: From Auschwitz to New York

Email this review


A personal journey of an innocent in the form of stream-of-consciousness thoughts that encompass the period of time between liberation from Auschwitz to the author's arrival in New York. Leitner's earlier Fragments of Isabella affirmed the indomitability of the human spirit even when passing through hell. Now, she attempts to celebrate that same spirit as she and her two surviving sisters follow their Russian liberators out of Germany. Trying to preserve their virginity amidst the soldiers' constant quest for satisfaction, the sisters pass thousands of ex-camp victims, ever alert for clues to the safety of their other two siblings (a search which ends in America where they learn of one's death, the other's survival). Howard Fast offers an introduction to Leitner's testament to survival, in which he states that her very existence is ""an affirmation of life, a song of hope.' This is what her fragmentary book boils down to in the end. It seems churlish to complain about any work that has as its inspiration the courage of the Holocaust survivors. But there is something ultimately unsatisfying about Leitner's method. Like an affectionate cat curled up cozily on its owner's lap before a winter afternoon's fire, it's all very nice and pleasant. But neither the cat nor the owner get anywhere that afternoon. So it is with Saving the Fragments. It is too subjective a recollection to have any more than passing interest and, basically, it falls flat at the end. As such, it adds disappointment to apathy. Leitner went through hell and lived to tell about it, and nobody doubts the nobility and goodness of her instincts. But it takes more than good instincts to make a vital book.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 1985
Publisher: New American Library