Customer Reviews for

All but My Life

Average Rating 4.5
( 82 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

The true story of a young girl who had lost all but her life.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the holocaust because it demonstrates how strength and love can be found in unlikely places and how hope can still exist when all else is lost. Gerda, a real holocaust survivor, writes in a way that is so pe...
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the holocaust because it demonstrates how strength and love can be found in unlikely places and how hope can still exist when all else is lost. Gerda, a real holocaust survivor, writes in a way that is so personal that you feel like you are in the story with her constantly battling for life and overcoming hopelessness. When each member of Gerda's family is shipped separately to different camps and until she is liberated Gerda is constantly telling herself lies and holding the picture of her homecoming in her heart for strength by believing that she has something left to live for after the war. This really is still something I think about and how after the war she never returned to the home of her childhood because deep down she knew that her family was dead and was never coming back home. Another part that made me put down the book and think about was when Gerda had put together a play to entertain her fellow prisoners and to amuse her jailers. Gerda was glad to make them all forget about their doomed futures and make them smile. This gave all the girls hope that someday everything might be normal and reminded them that the rhythm of the work camps is not the only thing that exists in the world. Gerda finds love and kindness from an unlikely American solider to a German officer who risks everything to bring the girls notes into the camp they work at. Gerda is an extremely strong woman to overcome the slaughter of her childhood home, her family, her friends, and the loss of all but her life.

posted by Cougar_H on December 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Great Book in context not so grest in editing

This was a well written memoir. I would recommend for anyone who is interested in this subject matter. HOWEVER, I am very disappointed with the editing. I was reading along & when I turned the page it wouldn ' t make sense. Sometimes a phrase would be missing but...
This was a well written memoir. I would recommend for anyone who is interested in this subject matter. HOWEVER, I am very disappointed with the editing. I was reading along & when I turned the page it wouldn ' t make sense. Sometimes a phrase would be missing but once it must have been several sentances. I have no idea why the SS picked her out to go into the woods. The next page they were marching again. For several other books this has happened and there have been other typos. But they were free. I paid for this one. I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH BARNES AND NOBLE

posted by Anonymous on July 19, 2013

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The true story of a young girl who had lost all but her life.

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the holocaust because it demonstrates how strength and love can be found in unlikely places and how hope can still exist when all else is lost. Gerda, a real holocaust survivor, writes in a way that is so personal that you feel like you are in the story with her constantly battling for life and overcoming hopelessness. When each member of Gerda's family is shipped separately to different camps and until she is liberated Gerda is constantly telling herself lies and holding the picture of her homecoming in her heart for strength by believing that she has something left to live for after the war. This really is still something I think about and how after the war she never returned to the home of her childhood because deep down she knew that her family was dead and was never coming back home. Another part that made me put down the book and think about was when Gerda had put together a play to entertain her fellow prisoners and to amuse her jailers. Gerda was glad to make them all forget about their doomed futures and make them smile. This gave all the girls hope that someday everything might be normal and reminded them that the rhythm of the work camps is not the only thing that exists in the world. Gerda finds love and kindness from an unlikely American solider to a German officer who risks everything to bring the girls notes into the camp they work at. Gerda is an extremely strong woman to overcome the slaughter of her childhood home, her family, her friends, and the loss of all but her life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2013

    Great Book in context not so grest in editing

    This was a well written memoir. I would recommend for anyone who is interested in this subject matter. HOWEVER, I am very disappointed with the editing. I was reading along & when I turned the page it wouldn ' t make sense. Sometimes a phrase would be missing but once it must have been several sentances. I have no idea why the SS picked her out to go into the woods. The next page they were marching again. For several other books this has happened and there have been other typos. But they were free. I paid for this one. I AM VERY UNHAPPY WITH BARNES AND NOBLE

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 19, 2013

    It was one of the best inspirational books i've read in a long t

    It was one of the best inspirational books i've read in a long time. I finished this book within 2 days because i couldn't put it down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2014

    I cried. This was way more than I expected. Her story is so hear

    I cried. This was way more than I expected. Her story is so heartfelt. I could identify with many of her feelings even though I was not there at that moment in time. Her resolve to go on is inspireing. Finding the love of her life at the end was beyond dreams. I am so happy for the author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2014

    Sad

    A very good book. But also very sad

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    It goes on the shelf with the book thief

    I loved this book and read it in a day. It definitely goes up on the shelf with the book thief and between shades of grey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2013

    Loved it!!!

    This book was so awesome. I really felt the emotion from Gerda!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Is so detailed about her feelings

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  • Posted April 8, 2013

    I highly recommend this book, I saw Gerda Weissmann Klein on a m

    I highly recommend this book, I saw Gerda Weissmann Klein on a morning talk show here in Phoenix and got very interested in her story, so glad I went out and bought the book, she is a woman to admire, I will never forget her story, she is truly admirable!

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  • Posted January 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Must-read Holocaust memoir

    Gerda is a bit different than many of the Polish Jews during the Holocaust, in that her little town was a bit fluid its German/Polish identification. As a border town, it used to be a part of Austria-Hungary, so many of its citizens spoke German as their first language (she actually admits that it was her first, and the language of her mother). So she had a fairly strong German connection, spoke the language, and was generally pretty immersed within the culture. In fact, in the beginning, when she describes the town's reaction to Hitler invading, and all the celebrations surrounding his arrival in Poland in 1939, she hints off-hand that the town was never that welcoming to Jews in general; her family and many other Jews had always had a sense of being "below" the rest of the population, and the coming of Hitler had simply allowed a physical manifestation of the already-present anti-Semitic mentality.

    Gerda originally penned her memoir in 1957, a little over ten years after her liberation, and then wrote an epilogue for the re-issue in 1997, a contrast which I found very illuminating. In her original memoir, her voice is very simple, very straight-forward, and somewhat immature and unpolished. She is a teenager interrupted, and her interpretations are through her own limited young perspective, without the ability to relate past her own self. Her original telling of her own reactions and thoughts are very genuine and raw, and it reflects much of her culture of quiet disbelief, yet an immense patience to simply wait for a time when things will eventually get better again, as they always have during times of historical persecution. She even mentions why she thinks the Jewish people went so quietly to their own deaths: They still had faith that humanity couldn't commit such atrocities.

    Her later voice, in the epilogue, is one that has seem many years since, and relates her own experiences differently. She mentions her parents, how she herself, having become a mother three times over, now knows the terror and the quiet courage that her own parents and many other must have felt, her disappointment that she couldn't relate at the time, and her immense appreciation for things and instances that most people would never be able to appreciate. It is a voice that has seen much more reflection than the voice in her original memoir, and the contrast is beautiful.

    The Holocaust and atrocities might have sprouted roots and gained initial momentum from the rife antisemitism and hatred in the Nazi regime, but it was only allowed to come to full fruition by the passivity and indifference from those surrounding. Individual memoirs like this, and people like Gerda who share their experiences and appreciations remind us that terrible things happen, but those that chose to do nothing are ultimately just as guilty as those that committed the crimes

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2012

    Worth it!

    Amazing!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2012

    Unforgettable

    Amazing story told by a brave girl. A must read for all ages. W
    This book will stay in your heart forever!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    Amazing

    Absolutley one of the best books i have ever read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2010

    A Story With Hope

    In Gerda Weissmann Klein's masterpiece All But My Life, elucidates the tragic story of a adolescent girl who is drawn into the Holocaust. Throughout the novel, the adolescence and her family are shipped to different concentration camps one at a time, to a point where all of the members have vanished from existence. She endures the journey of pain, through the dark, and difficult and trying times of the various slave-labor camps. Although through her own character, unexpected sacrifices of her dear friends, and many coincidences, the youth survives the horrid camps. All But My Life, clearly depicts the themes of how morality is truly an option, which shows that no matter if people have freedom or not, they will forever have the choice to act with morality and compassion. Also, in order to survive the dramatic events, Gerda shows that sustaining the power of hope in the course of harsh times can provide others with hope and joy. Reading this novel, I did like the flow of the story and the various themes in the book, which give people a clear understanding of them. Along with the flow of the story, I also liked the characters of the tale, which provide different backgrounds and added emotions. I suggest this novel to those who are very interested in the events and experiences of the Holocaust, or are just looking for something to pass the time with. I would also recommend the Schindler's List.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2010

    I think everyone should read this book

    It will be a book that stays with you. It should no matter what you are dealt in life that you can overcome it and move on. It is also a time in history that should not be forgotten and not repeated again. It is difficult to read and times but needed. I also saw the documentary that was done and highly recommend it. Please have this book recommended or on required reading lists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A uniquely touching personal account.

    When I was in elementary school the author came to give an inspirational talk by sharing with us some of the experiences that she had been through, to show us that no matter how bad things get, life is always worth living. At the time I was so young that I remember focusing more on the tale of her journey through the war and less on the aspects of her personal relationships with her family and love interests. I happened across this book from a friend whose family member purchased it as a result of our meeting with the author all those years ago. It was my fist time reading the book and I do have to admit that it is not as engrossing as I would have hoped, and there were a lot of chapters where I really had to force myself to stick with it. Overall, though, I do think that it is a wonderful story and definitely worth the time and effort it took me to finish it, and I can definitely see all the aspects of her struggle better now as an adult than I did before.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2010

    Hopeful read

    A wonderfully written, first-person account, by a truly inspiring woman. I have read many books on the holocaust. Few make you feel hopeful at the end, the way All but My Life made me feel. Mrs. Weissmann-Klein's writing style is so personal, I found myself inside her story. A courageous account that I highly recommend!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    One Survior Remembers

    Millions fought for their lives in the Holocaust of WWII, millions died, and some survived, Gerda Weissmann Klein, a survivor, gives to the world a moving and inspiring story that will forever be in the hearts of her englightened readers.
    Gerda Weissmann Klein recounts the darkest, most evil parts of humanity, while at the same time, never loses hope in humankind. Being born a Jew, the escape from the terrifying holocaust and Nazi camps was nearly inevitable for the Jews in Poland. Gerda grew up in Poland and WWII had struck Europe when she was fifteen. From the time her home was invaded, to the next six years of her life, Gerda would face numerous death camps and murderous death marches, yet she fights through it all with courage and hope. In the novel, Gerda recounts many stories and struggles she had faced during the times she was in the camps and on the death march. She was striped of her family and ultimately striped from life she had once known. This book is a fast reader! Page after page is filled with horrifying images of the barbaric cruelty of the Nazis, and the power in hope possessed by Gerda and her friend IIse. Gerda believes in her suffering -she believes that there is a greater purpose behind all the pain and struggles. She believes there is good in everything: in humankind. Throughout her memoir she recalls the intolerable evil of humanity and also the compassion that every human has the ability to possess, pointing out that all people have the choice to act humanely or act in cruelty. Gerda maintains the mood of fear of what is next with, also, an underlying optimism. This book is thought provoking and emotional; questioning human goodness and a comfort of hope. This book is a tough one to put down. The power in this book makes Gerda's story a moving memoir, reminding the readers of the terrors human kind can create. Despite the struggle and difficult, risky choices, Gerda survived her nightmare and lived to tell her remarkable story. Her telling this story is one of the many goods that have come out of her unimaginable experience. There are many books written by Holocaust survivors and about victims, and every story is different and touching in its own way, but Gerda's book is one of the forerunners for best holocaust stories because it has raw emotion and intricate themes. There is no doubt this book is a classic reminder of what hope and optimism can make one achieve.

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  • Posted February 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Nothing to call home

    Ripped away from everything she has ever known, Gerda struggled by being taken away from her family and home and forced to work in Jewish slave camps for years. She had to reach deep inside herself to muster her hope and courage and fought everyday to survive. Waiting for the liberation day, Weissmann talks about the unbelievable triumphs she overcame while being a hostage of the German army.

    The invasion of Poland will be one day some people will never forget. One person such as Gerda Weissmann. In the novel All But My Life by Gerda Weismann, a carefree child born in Poland grows into a teenager, separated from her family searching for answers as she transfers from work camp to work camp, growing up without a home and not a single familiar face.

    While reading the novel All But My Life, I noticed all of the different stories she had experienced and was now re-living but the book seemed to drone on in some parts, dragging out some parts that were very slow. I also wondered if those stories were the full stories, and if she truly remembered the experience. I didn't get a great sense of emotion out of the book as if she was a blank slate while writing it; I would have loved to hear about every emotion as if it was ripping out of the pages onto me and so I could picture the scene as realistically as she had experienced it the first time.

    Since the Holocaust is something that amazes me, I love to hear about different stories. This story was one that I had never heard before and it opened up my eyes to so many of the personal battles one faces while in the camps. I thought Weissmann did an awesome job at relaying the stories in order, in other words, it was very easy to follow along her journey. I loved her message of hope and to still fight until your last breath because you can decide your own fate.

    If you are a huge Holocaust enthusiast, then I really recommend All But My Life. It was a very captivating story that affected me deeply. It kept my attention, and since I'm not much of a reader, not many books tend to grab me the way this novel did.

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  • Posted November 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Phenomenal Holocaust Memoir.....

    ALL BUT MY LIFE recounts the story of Gerda Weissmann, a young woman forced into slave labor for the Nazis during the Holocaust. Stripped from her father, mother, and brother, Gerda must endure cruel working conditions, little to no food, and harsh weather as she fights for survival during Nazi Germany in the 1940s. Gerda promised her father that she wouldn't give up and with her mother's last words of "Be Strong", young Gerda keeps going, even when there is no hope left.

    The book is divided into three parts. In Part One, we learn of Gerda and her immediate family before the war and during the beginning of the war. They are a family of pure strength and love. I was struck by the intense closeness of her family and cried when they were ripped apart.

    In Part Two, we relive Gerda's experiences during her time in the Nazi labor camps, being shuttled from one camp to the next, some better than others. The friendships Gerda is able to make with other girls at camp are heartwarming, yet heart wrenching. How hard it must be to become close to someone who may not be there the next minute, hour, or day? The decisions Gerda makes throughout this period are, at times, unbelievable, yet she survived. I have no doubt that she was meant to live to tell her story and that of her family and friends. What if Gerda had made a different decision at a crucial crossroads?

    Finally, in Part Three, we are told of Gerda's life after she was liberated by Lt. Kurt Klein, who becomes her husband. What an incredible love story.

    This is a book of inspiration, faith, and hope. It will definitely make one think of problems in a new light. If the human spirit can endure what Gerda did, then we all can survive what is thrown at us, even when it seems like we cannot.

    I whole-heartedly recommend this book to everyone. It's phenomenal. I cannot praise it enough. Although it is not an easy book to read, the message it sends is one of hope and strength. We can all survive, we can all make it. Thank you for telling us your story, Mrs. Klein. It is not one I will ever forget. 5+ stars!

    Jennifer
    http://www.crazy-for-books.com

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