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This book is a wake-up call!! listen to it!!
on 6 April 2004
A seeringly moving and highly evocative book, the author, Helga Schneider, poignantly and movingly tells of her conflicting and ambivalent emotions towards her now elderly mother, a former member of the Waffen-SS, in a final confrontation of the non-story between daughter and mother.
One cannot fail to be disgusted, alarmed and moved to tears as the author takes you on her painful autobiographical journey in the exploration of her relationship with her mother.
Indeed, having abandoned Helga as a young child, her mother joined the SS in what she believed to be carryng out her duty and undivided loyalty to the Fuhrer and obligingly evokes 'the best years of her life'. Her mother became a guard at Birkenau concentration camp, for which she had undergone specialist training in 'unsentimentality' and 'dehumanization' and for which, henceforth, only the hardiest toughest members of the Reich were sent to. And it is this dehumanised, cold and unfeeling evocation of her mother that the author portrays to the reader.
It is truely shocking, as reader learns that since 1941, the author has only met her mother twice, for which the emotional repercussions of this are severely felt by the author as she takes the reader through the vivid account of her second meeting with her mother. With much unsuppressed anger, she questions her mother about what happened in the camps and is thrown by her mother's show of emotional indifference as she candidly selects personal memories from her harsh and cruel role in the work towards the 'Final Solution'. '...like it or not, I have never regretted being a member of the Waffen-SS, is that clear?' is how her mother aptly and coldly sums up her own true emotions about her role as a Party member of Hitler's Reich, in this violent episode of history.
This is surely a work of disturbing and gruesome truth(es) that will go down in history as a wake-up call to the menace of evil that potentially lingers within us, an essential testimony to the terrifying events of the 20th century...