I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust

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Overview

A graphic narrative describes what happens to a 13-year-old Jewish girl when the Nazis invade Hungary in 1944. Includes a brief chronology of the Holocaust.

The author describes her experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

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I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust

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Overview

A graphic narrative describes what happens to a 13-year-old Jewish girl when the Nazis invade Hungary in 1944. Includes a brief chronology of the Holocaust.

The author describes her experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Born in a small farming town in Hungary, Bitton-Jackson was 13 when Nazis forced her and her family into a Jewish ghetto and then sent them to Auschwitz. After a yearful of innumerable harrowing experiences, she was liberated. While the facts alone command attention, Bitton-Jackson's supple and measured writing would compel the reader even if applied to a less momentous subject. She brings an artist's recall to childhood experiences, conveying them so as to stir fresh empathy in the target audience, even those well-versed in Holocaust literature. She relates, for example, how the yellow star made her feel marked and humiliated, reluctant to attend her school's graduation; how existence in the ghetto, paradoxically, made her happy to be Jewish for the first time in her life; how an aunt terrified the family by destroying their most valuable belongings before deportation, so that the Germans could not profit by them. Her descriptions of Auschwitz and labor camps are brutal, frank and terrifying, all the more so because she keeps her observations personal and immediate, avoiding the sweeping rhetoric that has, understandably, become a staple of much Holocaust testimony. Of particular interest is her relationship with her mother, who survived with her (in part because of the author's determination and bravery after an accident left her mother temporarily paralyzed). An exceptional story, exceptionally well told. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW's starred review called this memoir, of a 13-year-old Hungarian Jewish girl's incarceration in Auschwitz, "an exceptional story, exceptionally well told." Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Written in the first person, young readers will experience the joys, terrors, hope and desperation of the author's personal recollections of living in Hungary in 1943, her survival in the concentration camps, and her eventual immigration to the United States. The book includes a family chronology of events, significant dates and eventsrelating to the Holocaust, and a glossary.
VOYA - Victoria Yablonsky
Elli Friedmann's recollections of the horror of the Holocaust begin in her native Hungary in 1944 when she and her family are taken from their home and sent on a journey that would eventually lead to Auschwitz. Her memoir covers 1944 to 1945, her thirteenth and fourteenth years, and relates in excruciating detail the living nightmare she endured in cattle cars on endless train rides and in several Nazi concentration camps. Her stories of humiliation, degradation, and despair vividly express her feelings about her loss of freedom and self. But the wonder of her story is her ability to overcome her nightmare through her spirit and determination never to give up. She survives her ordeal while helping her mother and brother, and they all return to their home at the end of the war and eventually emigrate to America. This is a young adult version of the author's earlier adult book, Elli: Coming of Age in the Holocaust (Times Books, 1980). It follows the first book closely, but it omits or simplifies some events and slightly changes language in some places. This would be a valuable purchase for junior high or YA collections, but is unnecessary for high schools that own Elli. Glossary. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 5Q 3P J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Will appeal with pushing, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
KLIATT
This is a remarkable book. Three years before Elli's story begins in 1943, Hungary occupied Czechoslovakia, and her father's business was confiscated. Now the Germans have occupied Hungary and Czechoslovakia, her school is closed, and Elli's dreams of going to school in Budapest, like her older brother Bubi, vanish. Every few nights German soldiers come in and take someone else away. When her father is told to join all the other men aged 18-45 for "deportation," Elli is devastated. Surely that's the worst thing that could happen; with her father gone how will she and her mother survive? We soon find out that her father's deportation is not the worst thing that could happen. Elli, her mother, and her brother are soon transported themselves, first to a ghetto, then to Auschwitz. Bitton-Jackson has detailed her feelings of love for her family, her need for her mother's approval of her actions, her desire for her mother's acknowledgement of her looks and brains, and her mother's response: "Mrs. Adler takes Bonnie in her arms and calls her meine Schonheit, my beauty, in German. Mommy only greets me with a hello and a smile, no hug and no words of endearment" Her mother answers, "Do you want me to call you meine Schonheit? Bonnie's mother makes a fool of herself." A sensible answer, but teenaged girls have never been known for responding to sense. The story is told in short, beautifully written chapters, which is probably a good idea, allowing the reader to stop and catch his/her breath before resuming. By the time Elli and her mother are liberated, Elli is 14, but she looks 60, and feels as if she has indeed "lived a thousand years." Recommended for mature teens, and anyone interested inchronicles of the Holocaust. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1997, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, 234p, 18cm, 96-19971, $4.99. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Judith H. Silverman; Chevy Chase, MD, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpIn 1944, Elli Friedmann, a 13-year-old Hungarian Jew, is deported with her family to Auschwitz. Her blonde braids and tall stature save her from instant death in the crematorium. During the following year, Elli and her mother survive terrible suffering and injustice through sheer courage, perseverance, and ingenuity. The teen matures from a naive child concerned with boys and bicycles to a toughened, traumatizedyet still hopefulyoung woman. This is a chilling account of concentration camps and humankind's capacity for inhumanity. The horrors are not prettified or watered down and are appropriately nightmarish. Unfortunately, the book has two flaws. First, Bitton-Jackson tells her story in the present tense, or tries to; but the voice is inconsistent, and the results are awkward and, at times, confusing. Second, not all the segments are complete. For instance, early in Auschwitz, Elli sees blood running down the legs of a menstruating woman and wonders how she'll feel when her period arrives; but nothing else is mentioned on the subject. The author's adult book, Elli: Coming of Age in the Holocaust (Times, 1980; o.p.)from which this book is adaptedprovides the answers to this and other questions. Despite these drawbacks, I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a gripping story that teaches important lessons. It will be a valuable addition to any Holocaust collection.Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689823954
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • Publication date: 3/1/1999
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 51,263
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Livia Bitton-Jackson, born Elli L. Friedmann in Czechoslovakia, was thirteen when she, her mother, and her brother were taken to Auschwitz. They were liberated in 1945 and came to the United States on a refugee boat in 1951. She received a PhD in Hebrew culture and Jewish history from New York University. Dr. Bitton-Jackson has been a professor of history at City University of New York for thirty-seven years. Her previous books include Elli: Coming of Age in the Holocaust, which received the Christopher Award, the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award, and the Jewish Heritage Award. Dr. Bitton-Jackson lives in Israel with her husband, children, and grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 198 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(159)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 198 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2008

    I Love It!

    I am 12 years old. I may be young, but I am not too young to think this is the best book I've ever read. I'm not going to write one of those sappy reviews that says how much this book changed my life, but I will say that it is an amazing book! I had to read it for my 6th grade class and once I started reading, I just couldn't stop! I took the book everywhere with me because it pulls you in. The book talks about a young girl trying to keep up with her family. She has to deal with the death of relatives and possibly death for herself. She is too young to work, so the only thing left to do is o hide. I hope you read this book because it truley is great!

    20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 15, 2010

    I have lived a thousand years

    Wow this book was amazing i couldn't leave the book alone longer for a minute. I recomend this book to people 12 years or older because there is some parts in this book that is not apporite for younger readers. I loved this soooo much but it was very sad. It it manily about a 13 year old girl growing up in the holocaust and it is about what had happened.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2011

    I LOVED THIS BOOK!!!!

    i read this book last year and i fell in love with it. I feel everyon shiuld try to read this book, for it is so amazing. I really felt like i was right there with ellike. I felt like i had know her foever. Such a great book! Even for younger kids becaus i was 10 when i read the book

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Amazing

    This is an amazing book. I haven't read such a moving story in a looong time. It was incredible how Elli managed to keep herself and her mom alive. I couldn't put the book down and finished it in 2 days. I love the authors writing style. If you like reading Holocaust survivor stories, I totally recommend this one.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Have Lived a Thousand Years

    I crawl into a small fixed seat at the back of a wagon. I hear us pulling away horse, luggage, and food. My house and memories are behind me. I feel a knife stabbing my stomach over and over when I think of all the good times my family had. My birthplace is disappearing rapidly, I will never see it again.
    This is what Elli Freidman thought when she left her house with her mother on a supply wagon. Her heart was yanked out of her. I think the moral the author is trying to get across is that you need to live your life to the fullest. The day before Elli was mad and angry that the Jews were separated with a yellow star. She was worried her crush would see her differently. Then when all of that was behind here and she is rolling away she realizes she wasted precious time and memories. Elli is striped of her identity. Her identity taken leads to the loss of her clothes, hope, and faith. Loss of clothes, hope, and faith leads to nothing. Elli was one of these nothings in camp and you read about that nothings journey through the holocaust.
    I think Elli was a self conscious girl, her mother never thought she was good enough. Imagine yourself being tall gangly meaning tall and thin and having long slender limbs and having a handsome older brother at your side, How would you feel. Throughout the book she becomes strong to handle the Germans. Her mother is a week older women. From the beginning she is week, frail, and isn't trying to live. Elli has to push her along so many times it gets old. I wish her mother was stronger. Her brother Bubi is the same he is very weak in the end and is not very nice. Her father isn't really a part of the book but seems to be a strong down to earth man.
    Should you read this book? I highly recommend this book it is one of a kind that stood out to me. The book takes you on a journey indescribable. Happiness , grief, joy. You'll love the book as it puzzles you with anecdotes and many different stories. Have fun reading I Have Lived A Thousand Years.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Have Lived a Thousand Years

    This book is a great book if you like a fiction novel that will touch your heart. It takes place in Europe and the protagonist is Elli, a 14 year old Jewish girl. Who lives with her family and loves to go to school. Her father owns a small pawn shop and that is there only income. When her brother Bubi comes home, unexpected, and tells everyone that Budapest was invaided by the Germans, his father says it was a false alarm. The next day Bubi goes back to Budapest and later that day the rest of the family hears on the radio that it was not a false alarm. To find what happens next, get reading! P.C.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2008

    I cried....

    I could not put this book down. It has helped me understand what these people went through. I have also had the priviledge to being a student of Livia Bitton Jackson. She is an amazing woman who never lost her sense of life, humor, and kindness in spite of what she endured. She is an inspiration, and lesson that nothing is impossible. She truly is remarkable.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2014

    Awesome book!!

    I LOVE THIS BOOK! I read it 5 times. It gives you a really good look at the Halocaust because it is a true story about the author. I learned so much just from this one book than any other book i've read about the halocaust!! Also at the end it gives you a timeline of the events in the book and definitions of any words in the book you may not know. If you like Anne Frank then you should read this book for sure! Probabley best halocaust book ive ever read!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    WOW

    WOW! I am in the process of reading this book and wow is all i can say!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    Scary, sad

    It scary and sad how horrible thejews were treated they are really no different than people like you andme.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2012

    Great book

    I read this book for english and i thought it was gunna be boring but i was totally wrong!!!!!!!! Best bookever!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2012

    Amazing Book!

    I have one word for this book, AMAZING. I just could not put it down. My Language Arts teacher had to literally ask me to put it down andpay attention to the lesson! It is a truly touching story and now im reading the second book. A must read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    The book I Have Lived a Thousand Years is about a thirteen year

    The book I Have Lived a Thousand Years is about a thirteen year old Jewish girl trying to survive with her mother and brother during the Holocaust. Something I like about this book is that it really gets you involved into the book; the book makes you  feel as though you were in the terrifying time of the holocaust. Another thing is the way the author tells the story giving an image of what they witness and makes you read more at the end of every chapter. I recommend reading  this outstanding book I Have Lived a Thousand Years.

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

    Posted May 21, 2014

    I Have Lived a Thousand Years, a memoir by Livia Bitton-Jackson

    I Have Lived a Thousand Years, a memoir by Livia Bitton-Jackson, is a very touching story about growing up in the Holocaust. The book goes over the years Ellike spent moving from one concentration camp to the next. This autobiography is very glum, but there are parts where Ellike expresses happiness. While it is an amazing book, parts of it are very graphic and I would not recommend it to anyone under the age of thirteen. Despite this, the book is very interesting and is definitely worth reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    I Have Lived A Thousand Years is about a great family, and it sh

    I Have Lived A Thousand Years is about a great family, and it shows us how to always stay strong.
    Ellike had beautiful long brown hair, that curled on top of her shoulders.
     She had her father’s face and her mother's smile.
    In the beginning of her story, the Germans took over and Ellike, her mother, father, and two brothers were forced to wear a bright yellow star:
     the star of the Jews.
     In a few weeks her life and hundreds of others were changed forever.
     Ellike Friedmann was taken away to a concentration camp, ripped apart from her family and friends, wondering if she will ever see them again.
     After her curls were chopped off, and her clothes were torn, she quickly understood what was happening.
    She was being transported with thousands of others, to the Nazies.
    Somehow, Elli and her mother were reunited, and with her faith in God, managed to survive the excruciating pain traveling their way.
     In the end, Elli, her mother, and her brother were released. Elli grows up with haunting nightmares and images of her past, and dead--like her father-- were also her wounds
    . Although hurt and torn, she carries on with her life, and returned to Germany 50 years later.
    This book starts off slow, but is also very descriptive, so I would not recommend anyone under 12 to read this; other than that, great story. 4/5 stars.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    The memoir I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson

    The memoir I Have Lived a Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson is about a young girl growing up in the Holocaust.  I liked the book because it was evenly filled with the right amount of suspense and it did a good job building up to it.  I also liked how the tone and the mood fit well together.  It had a sadness and desperateness in it, but she always had some small light of hope that both added to the sadness and lightened it up so as not to make it so gruesome but still awful. However, there were some parts throughout the book that were either difficult to understand or what was going on was a little unclear.  Out of five stars, I would give this autobiography four.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Reading it in english

    Omg. Is this a good book cuz im having a hard time getting through it. I found it kind of weird to read the part about them striping their clothes of or getting shot. Kind of discriptive... and weird. Every one in my class hates this book..... im sort of thinking that i do to. I dunno. Wish me good luck finishing it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Goes on the shelf with the boy in stripped pajamas

    Loved. Goes up on my book list

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    Dont know

    Never reead it. is it good?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    I Have Lived a Thousand Years

    This book was really good I couldn't put it down I finished it in 5 hours!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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