on 6 July 2000
I first read this book at school when studying the holocaust for O-level. Now, some twelve years on, I have come back to Amazon to buy a new copy as mine has finally disintegrated from repeated readings. This book is almost too painful to read in places and conveys a real sense of place, mood, emotion and the like. I think if this book was compulsory reading for teenagers they might stop and think before complaining of their lot in life. We can all learn from Elli's courage.
on 23 May 2013
It is difficult to write literary critiques of Holocaust survival stories because of the emotive subject matter. But this one genuinely is special and stands out.
Elli was thirteen when she, her parents and brother are sent to Aushwitz from her village on the River Danube. She is soon separated from her father and brother. Will she ever see either again? Elli, and her mother, are spared selection for the gas chamber because of Elli's good looks. Instead, Elli and her mother must survive the unimaginable horror of the camp.
Yes, Elli's memoir is harrowing and difficult to read in places. But this is not just a book about man's inhumanity to man. This is a story about love and courage in adversity. Elli's story is that of a mother and daughter's relationship under extreme duress.
It is well-written too with some sparkling prose. Elli was a budding writer before the war and even keeps up the spirits of her fellow transportees with her poetry.