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The diary of a young Sorbonne graduate who died at Bergen-Belsen, this important new addition to the literature on the Holocaust and the French Occupation is sure to be welcomed by general readers and scholars alike. Already a publishing sensation in France, it survived in obscurity as a family heirloom until relatively recently, when the original was first displayed at the Memorial of the Shoah in Paris. The diary recounts the experiences and private thoughts of the 21-year-old daughter of a prominent Jewish family as she and those she loved suffered the indignities of life under the Occupation prior to their arrest and ultimate deportation and death. A student of English literature with a decidedly intellectual bent, Berr sought respite in reading, writing, and music to escape the tragedy unraveling around her. While surprisingly devoid of straightforward political commentary, the diary reveals that the "sinister meaning of it all" was not immediately apparent to Berr and those around her, itself a significant commentary on the mood and insecurities of the time. Translated by Bellos (French & comparative literature, Princeton Univ.; Georges Perec: A Life in Words), the volume includes useful annotations as well as a postscript that places the plight of French Jewry within historical context. Highly recommended.
—Marie Marmo Mullaney