15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Humbling and truly heartbreaking,
This review is from: An Interrupted Life: the Diaries and Letters of Etty Hillesum 1941-43 (Paperback)
Etty was 28 when she volunteered ... imagine it, volunteered ... to accompany thousands of Jews who had been arrested in Amsterdam into the Westerbork transit camp, their last stop before Auschwitz. For a while, she was able to travel back and forth to Amsterdam, as a privileged worker for the Jewish Council, but she refused the offers of friends to take her into hiding. Her final letters describe in heartbreaking detail this community for whom time was running out ... every Tuesday a freight train was dispatched packed with men, women, babies, children, the old, the sick, 1000 people a week. She describes the wild lupins surrounding the camp; the madness of camp concerts as famous cabaret stars literally sang for their lives in front of the commandant; the desperation of a frightened young boy who ran to hide when his call-up came and inadvertently brought retribution on many others. Mostly what sings out is the humanity and dignity that can survive against all odds.
Even if you struggle with Etty's diary, which focuses on her spiritual growth and her intense relationship with an older man, a rather dodgy-sounding psychoanalyst/guru type ... do persevere to read the letters at the end. They are truly humbling.