My Bridges of Hope: Searching for Life and Love after Auschwitz by Livia Bitton-Jackson | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
My Bridges of Hope: Searching for Life and Love after Auschwitz

My Bridges of Hope: Searching for Life and Love after Auschwitz

4.6 9
by Livia Bitton-Jackson, Livia Bitton-Jackson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

After liberation from Auschwitz, fourteen-year-old Elli, her brother, and their mother attempt to rebuild their lives in Czechoslovakia. But it doesn't take long for Elli to realize that even though the war is over, anti-Semitism is not, so she and her family decide to escape to America along with thousands of other Jews. Little do they know what agonies and

Overview

After liberation from Auschwitz, fourteen-year-old Elli, her brother, and their mother attempt to rebuild their lives in Czechoslovakia. But it doesn't take long for Elli to realize that even though the war is over, anti-Semitism is not, so she and her family decide to escape to America along with thousands of other Jews. Little do they know what agonies and adventures await them still.
Elli's memoir of her experiences after Auschwitz will captivate readers as they follow her through heartache, frustration, adventure, excitement, love, and ultimately, triumph.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Bitton-Jackson continues the memoir begun so searchingly in I Have Lived a Thousand Years. Now 14 and a survivor of Auschwitz, she returns with her mother and older brother to their once-Hungarian town in what has become Czechoslovakia. There they learn of her father's death; they find their house plundered, friendly-seeming neighbors reluctant to return their possessions and the local school, once a haven to Elli (as she is called here) completely re-staffed by the Communists. Readers will be awed at the bewildering maze of decisions facing Elli and her family. Should she apply for a visa to the U.S. or travel illegally to Palestine, as she, a member of an underground organization, is helping other Jews to do? When Elli and her brother get American visas, the family decides that her brother will go alone and try to expedite a visa for their mother. But years pass before they are reunited, and as the Americans close their embassy in Czechoslovakia, Elli dreams up and executes a breathtakingly daring escape for herself and her mother. It seems never to have occurred to Elli not to be brave; only once or twice does she express her agony at what she has witnessed in Auschwitz, and she resolutely works to make life better for those around her as well as her family. Bitton-Jackson's prose is not as fresh as in her previous book, and in some ways she is less personal, observing more and revealing herself less directly. But her story is utterly involving, and adds an important chapter to the ongoing attempt to understand the Holocaust and its consequences. Ages 12-up. (Mar.)
Publishers Weekly
The author continues her memoir, begun in I Have Lived a Thousand Years, at age 14 as a survivor of Auschwitz. PW called her story "utterly involving. The volume adds an important chapter to the ongoing attempt to understand the Holocaust and its consequences." Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
At fourteen, Livia, called Elli, and her mother and brother returned to their home in country that she no longer knows. She chose to go back to school, but there, even the language was no longer hers. Their house had been stripped even of its windows, and most of their neighbors denied keeping the furniture or clothing that had been entrusted to them for "safekeeping." The little family slowly became accustomed to life under a Communist government as DPs, Displaced People. But Elli discovered within herself a tremendous thirst for knowledge and a gift for languages. While witing to emigrate, she helps Jewish orphans and manages to escape from behind the Iron Curtain. Her mother had assumed that when the family finally reached America they would open a dress shop, but Elli had other plans. This is a wonderful story for anyone, not just for young people. The highly recommended sequel to I Have Lived a Thousand Years.
ALAN Review
My Bridges of Hope: Searching for Life and Love after Auschwitz is just as the title implies--a moving account a heroic family's attempt to rebuild a life after suffering at the hands of the Nazis. The story focuses on one young girl, Elli, who through her diligence and bravery leads her and her mother to find a new home in the United States. The struggle is not easy. First, Elli and her mother must survive difficult living conditions in the Slovakian mountains, all the while trying to secure a spot on the United States Emigration List. Eventually, Elli and her mother are able to emigrate--but not without Elli's enduring the hardship of adolescence--winning and losing at love; coming to terms with her identity; arguing with parents and authority alike; both suffer the agony of a brutal life force from the outside, a force that is intent on destroying human dignity. This book, a sequel to Livia Bitton-Jackon's I Have Lived A Thousand Years, is an excellent sourcebook for learning about the realities of life after World War II. Genre: History. 1999, Simon and Schuster, Ages 12 up, $17.00. Reviewer: Mary Annelle Baker
VOYA - Victoria Yablonsky
Bitton-Jackson has written a worthy sequel to her Holocaust memoir I Have Lived a Thousand Years (Simon & Schuster, 1997/VOYA June 1997). Beginning the story in 1945 after her liberation from the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, Bitton-Jackson, then known as Elli Friedmann, relates the story of her family's years of struggle and attempts to emigrate to America. Elli and her mother and brother were among only thirty-six out of their town's more than five hundred Jewish citizens to return after the war. At age fourteen, Elli faced experiences and responsibilities beyond her years before finally reaching America in 1951. Her persistence in attaining her goals is exhibited through her efforts to return some stability to her family's life while seeking freedom from the memories of WWII and the post-war Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia. She pursues her education, becomes a teacher, works as a guide for the underground network helping Jews escape from Eastern Europe to Palestine, and also grows as a young woman awakening to feelings of first love. She eventually engineers her mother's and her own escape from behind the Iron Curtain, using her language skills to ease their journey through Displaced Persons Camps and achieve a reunion with her brother in New York. Bitton-Jackson's descriptive writing details the horrors of post-World War II Europe, while also effectively portraying an inner conflict over her yearning to go to Israel and her wish to keep her family together in hopes of a better future in America. Her sensitive nature extends this sequel beyond her Holocaust memoir to a coming-of-age story, albeit one of extraordinary events in extraordinary times, that should appeal to many teen readers. Glossary. Chronology. Appendix. VOYA Codes: 5Q 4P J S (Hard to imagine it being better written, Broad general YA appeal, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-This touching memoir, the sequel to I Have Lived a Thousand Years (S & S, 1997), covers the years between the end of the war in 1945 through the author's emigration from Europe to the United States in 1951. These years were filled with many things for Elli, as she was then known. Chief among them was her desire to learn as much as she could about her Jewish heritage and her commitment to it. Part of this dedication was the work she did for the Briha, an organization that helped transport refugees to Israel. She also became a teacher and found a new identity as a learned young woman. Elli felt very strongly about joining the pioneers in Israel but her mother was not up to the physical challenge of moving to the developing nation. Instead, they escaped from Czechoslovakia into Austria and eventually Germany to await departure to join Elli's brother in America. The young woman's story recounts a time in her life that was filled with both anxiety and hope, tears and joy. More than the simple account of a Holocaust survivor and the often terrible postwar years in Europe, this book is also the tale of a young woman discovering who she is and how she wants to spend the remainder of her life-something to which every young adult can relate. A fine conclusion to Bitton-Jackson's autobiography of her youth.-Carol Fazioli, The Brearley School, New York City, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a sequel to the well-received I Have Lived a Thousand Years (1997, not reviewed), Bitton-Jackson writes of her life as Elli Friedmann in 1945, when she, her brother, and mother were liberated from Auschwitz and sent back to their former home in Czechoslovakia. Finding only a shell of the place they had known, they struggled to rebuild some semblance of life and waited for the return of Elli's father. When they realized he was gone for good, their only hope through all their efforts was the prospect of obtaining papers that would allow them to emigrate to America. Through the long years that they waited, Elli found work teaching, and helping other Jews escape to Palestine, a dangerous and illegal undertaking. When they finally arrived in New York City, relatives welcomed them; an epilogue collapses most of the author's adult life into a few paragraphs so readers will know the directions her life took. Interesting and inspiring, this story makes painfully clear how the fight to survive extended well beyond the war years; the discomforts and obstacles the author faced and articulates in such riveting detail will make readers squirm at the security and ease of their own lives. (Memoir. 12-14) .

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780689848988
Publisher:
Simon Pulse
Publication date:
03/28/2002
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
297,186
Product dimensions:
6.98(w) x 10.92(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >