AND THERE WAS LIGHT by Jacques Lusseyran


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Surely here is one of the most extraordinary of the participants in the French Resistance. Jacques Lusseyran was totally blinded in an accident at the age of seven. Owing to his parents' sympathetic awareness of his need to be accepted in a world of sighted people, he learned to live a normal life. He was a brilliant student and had a wide circle of friends when, during the first Nazi spring in Paris, he experienced intense revulsion at the cruelties inflicted upon Jews and other ""undesirables"", and transformed his friends into lieutenants in a resistance movement. He was seventeen years old. At the beginning, they circulated a secret newspaper, but in time the organization grew and then affiliated itself with other underground groups dedicated to aiding fugitives, downed Allied airmen, etc., escape. Lusseyran's handicap became a blessing for he was accustomed to relying on his memory rather than written records, and his special status as a blind person had given him an invaluable sixth sense about people. Still, in July of 1943, he and a dozen close co-workers were betrayed and sent to Buchenwald. He alone survived. More striking even than the author's conquest of his handicap, endurance in the face of suffering, restraint in recounting iniquity, is the strong spirit of optimism and joy in life that pervades this story of real and metaphorical darkness.

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 1963
Publisher: Little, Brown