The powerful story of a young girl, half-Jewish and raised Catholic in prewar Berlin, who descends into the underworld of Auschwitz while her mother remains behind.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyA bestseller in Sweden and Germany, this is a lacerating, beautifully translated memoir of the author's adolescence during the Holocaust. Edvardson, now an Israeli journalist, was born out of wedlock in Berlin; the child of a Jewish father, she was raised in the Catholic faith of her half-Jewish mother. As sanctions against those with Jewish blood increased, the 14-year-old girl bravely chose to sign a statement acknowledging her Jewish background, and, shortly thereafter, was transported to Theresienstadt and later to Auschwitz. There she worked for the infamous Nazi doctor Joseph Mengele, who wielded the power of life and death over arriving inmates. Edvardson's recollections unfold in haunting vignettes that alternate between her life in Berlin and her experiences in the camps. She conveys not only the horrors of Nazi Germany but also her feelings of being a family outcast. Interwoven with Edvardson's memories are the poetry and myths that sustained her throughout her ordeal. After the war she found asylum in Sweden, where she began her long struggle to come to terms with her past and free the emotions repressed during the war. (July)
Library JournalIn this short memoir, Jerusalem journalist Edvardson tells of her life in Berlin during World War II, in the death camps, and in Sweden after the war. She describes movingly the passions and fears of her youth, drawing carefully her relationship with her family, especially her mother, whom she saved from a camp while sacrificing herself. Edvardson also attempts to come to an understanding of the history she's lived through in Germany, Sweden, and Israel. She effectively presents the sense of a complete life, one wholly accepted and explained in all its aspects: "Everything is there, and everything is past, it was the way it was, and nothing can be changed or extinguished." A well-wrought work; recommended for Jewish studies collections.Gene Shaw, NYPL
School Library JournalYA--The year is 1943 and Cordelia is forced to make a life-changing decision. The Gestapo has discovered that her mother has been hiding Cordelia's partly Jewish heritage. The woman will be tried for treason or Cordelia can admit that she is Jewish. Her decision sends her to Auschwitz. As a child, Cordelia was raised as a Catholic and takes comfort in her faith during her time in the concentration camp. After liberation, her outlook on her Catholic faith and on life is never the same. Edvardson writes in a compelling and dramatic manner. Readers will find themselves not only rooting for Cordelia's survival in the concentration camp but also her survival as a human being. This story will not be soon forgotten.--Stacey M. Keeley, Sherwood Regional Library, Fairfax, VA
BooknewsEdvardson was born in Berlin in 1929, transported to a concentration camp at age 14, became a journalist in Sweden after liberation, and now lives in Jerusalem as a Middle East correspondent. Her account of childhood and adolescence is distanced into the third person and was originally published as a novel, nt barn s<:o>ker sig till elden/> in 1984. No scholarly paraphernalia. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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