All but My Life

All but My Life

4.7 87
by Gerda Weissmann Klein, Grace Conlin
     
 

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All But My Life is the unforgettable story of Gerda Weissmann Klein's six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty. From her comfortable home in Bielitz (present-day Bielsko) in Poland to her miraculous survival and her liberation by American troops--including the man who was to become her husband--in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in 1945, Gerda takes the reader on

Overview

All But My Life is the unforgettable story of Gerda Weissmann Klein's six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty. From her comfortable home in Bielitz (present-day Bielsko) in Poland to her miraculous survival and her liberation by American troops--including the man who was to become her husband--in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in 1945, Gerda takes the reader on a terrifying journey.

Gerda's serene and idyllic childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German labor camps. Over the next few years Gerda experienced the slow, inexorable stripping away of "all but her life." By the end of the war she had lost her parents, brother, home, possessions, and community; even the dear friends she made in the labor camps, with whom she had shared so many hardships, were dead.

Despite her horrifying experiences, Klein conveys great strength of spirit and faith in humanity. In the darkness of the camps, Gerda and her young friends manage to create a community of friendship and love. Although stripped of the essence of life, they were able to survive the barbarity of their captors. Gerda's beautifully written story gives an invaluable message to everyone. It introduces them to last century's terrible history of devastation and prejudice, yet offers them hope that the effects of hatred can be overcome.

Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
The new expanded edition contains an epilogue to the now classic story of the author's amazing survival during three years of imprisonment by the Nazis. Rebuilding her life after liberation, she chronicles how her experiences have been ever present in her daily routines and have influenced her views of society and her aspirations for her children.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441767233
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
10/20/2010
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
8
Product dimensions:
6.80(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Gerda Weissmann Klein was born in Bielsko, Poland, in 1924, and now lives in Arizona with her husband, Kurt Klein, who as a U.S. Army lieutenant liberated Weissmann on May 7, 1945. The author of five books, she has received many awards and honorary degrees and has lectured throughout the country for the past forty-five years. Kurt and Gerda are the authors of The Hours After: Letters of Love and Longing in War's Aftermath, published by St. Martin's Press. One Survivor Remembers (a production of Home Box Office and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum), winner of an Emmy Award and the Academy Award for documentary short subject, was based on All But My Life.

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All but My Life 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 87 reviews.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
jenlizzy76 More than 1 year ago
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.
lilredrooster More than 1 year ago
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
rocketlivy 23 days ago
Absolutely outstanding.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrandyGirl More than 1 year ago
I recommend this book for anyone who likes reading about the Holocaust. I could not put this one down. I just find it amazing how some of these people survived and love reading their stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had the opportunity to listen to her speak while attending St Cloud State University. I will never forget that day. I highly recommend this book to others.
224perweek More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very good book. But also very sad
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so awesome. I really felt the emotion from Gerda!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is so detailed about her feelings
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Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
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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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story told by a brave girl. A must read for all ages. W This book will stay in your heart forever!