One Generation After [NOOK Book]

Overview

Twenty years after he and his family were deported from Sighet to Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel returned to his town in search of the watch—a bar mitzvah gift—he had buried in his backyard before they left.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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One Generation After

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Overview

Twenty years after he and his family were deported from Sighet to Auschwitz, Elie Wiesel returned to his town in search of the watch—a bar mitzvah gift—he had buried in his backyard before they left.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In One Generation After, Elie Wiesel wrote passionately about the retrieval of a relic, a child's watch, a Bar Mitzvah gift that he had buried in his Romanian backyard two decades before as his family prepared to leave for Nazi parts unknown. When first published in 1970, his moving account served its readers as another act of recovery and now, forty-one years later, its republication with a new introduction serves as a spiritual rescue that we can all welcome. Editor's recommendation.

From the Publisher
“Hassidic stories and rabbinic interpretations shine through the personal reminiscences and humble prayers addressed to God.”
Saturday Review

“In this book of anecdotes, autobiographical fragments, conversations with victims, introspective analyses, dialogues of faith, and essays, [Wiesel] searches among the testimony of the survivors and contemporary events for possible answers or lessons that Auschwitz might have offered the generation born since the war. Society, he states, has not changed, and nothing has been learned.”
Publishers Weekly

“In an incredibly moving collection of essays, tales, and autobiographical sketches, Wiesel describes the agonizing plight of the Holocaust survivor who must try to relate that which is beyond words, and to search for meaning in experiences that defy understanding. Many of the haunting themes, memorable characters, and striking episodes of Wiesel’s novels are intimately revealed in these pages.”
Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805242966
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/16/2011
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 197,677
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Elie Wiesel is the author of more than fifty books, including his unforgettable international best sellers Night and A Beggar in Jerusalem, winner of the Prix Médicis. He has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States Congressional Gold Medal, and the French Legion of Honor with the rank of Grand Cross. In 1986, he received the Nobel Peace Prize. He is Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and University Professor at Boston University.

Biography

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forget that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky." Since the publication of this passage in Night, Elie Wiesel has devoted his life to ensuring that the world never forgets the horrors of the Holocaust, and to fostering the hope that they never happen again.

Wiesel was 15 years old when the Nazis invaded his hometown of Sighet, Romania. He and his family were taken to Auschwitz, where his mother and the youngest of his three sisters died. He and his father were later transported to Buchenwald, where his father died shortly before Allied forces liberated the camp in 1945. After the war, Wiesel attended the Sorbonne in Paris and worked for a while as a journalist. He met the Nobel Prize-winning writer Francois Mauriac, who helped persuade Wiesel to break his private vow never to speak of his experiences in the death camps.

During a long recuperation from a car accident in New York City in 1956, Wiesel decided to make his home in the United States. His memoir Night, which appeared two years later (compressed from an earlier, longer work, And the World Remained Silent), was initially met with skepticism. "The Holocaust was not something people wanted to know about in those days," Wiesel later said in a Time magazine interview.

But eventually the book drew recognition and readers. "A slim volume of terrifying power" (The New York Times), Night remains one of the most widely read works on the Holocaust. It was followed by over 40 more books, including novels, essay collections and plays. Wiesel's writings often explore the paradoxes raised by his memories: he finds it impossible to speak about the Holocaust, yet impossible to remain silent; impossible to believe in God, yet impossible not to believe.

Wiesel has also worked to bring attention to the plight of oppressed people around the world. "When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant," he said in his acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. "Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must -- at that moment -- become the center of the universe."

Though lauded by many as a crusader for justice, Wiesel has also been criticized for his part in what some see as the commercialization of the Holocaust. In his 2000 memoir And the Sea Is Never Full, Wiesel shares some of his own qualms about fame and politics, but reiterates what he sees as his duty as a survivor and witness:

''The one among us who would survive would testify for all of us. He would speak and demand justice on our behalf; as our spokesman he would make certain that our memory would penetrate that of humanity. He would do nothing else.''

Good To Know

Use of the term "Holocaust" to describe the extermination of six million Jews and millions of other civilians by the Nazis is widely thought to have originated in Night.

Two of Wiesel's subsequent works , Dawn and The Accident, form a kind of trilogy with Night. "These stories live deeply in all that I have written and all that I am ever going to write," the author has said.

President Jimmy Carter appointed Wiesel to be chairman of the President's Commission on the Holocaust in 1978. In 1980, Wiesel became founding chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. He is also the founding president of the Paris-based Universal Academy of Cultures and cofounder of the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Since 1969, Marion Wiesel has translated her husband Elie's books from French into English. They live in New York City and have one son.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Eliezer Wiesel (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 30, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      Sighet, Romania
    1. Education:
      La Sorbonne

Read an Excerpt

Will the World Ever Learn?:
Introduction to the 2011 Edition


“One generation after” the cruelest of tragedies to befell the Jewish people, one often wonders: Has everything been said about its so-called legacy? Has its dark truth been properly revealed? Have the right words been used? Have these words truly reached the hearts and minds of enough people around the world so as to shield us from further religious or ethnic fanaticism, racial hatred, and state-organized violence? Have our memories changed our collective destiny?

These questions confronted me a few years ago when I was invited to address the General Assembly of the United Nations; they remain valid today. Here is what I said then:

The man who stands before you this morning feels deeply privileged. A teacher and writer, he speaks and writes as a witness to a crime committed in the heart of European Christendom and civilization by a brutal dictatorial regime—a crime of unprecedented cruelty in which all segments of government participated.

When speaking about that era of darkness, the witness encounters difficulties. His words become obstacles rather than vehicles; he writes not with words but against words. For there are no words to describe what the victims felt when death was the norm and life a miracle. Still, whether you know it or not, his memory is part of yours.

I speak as a son of an ancient people, the only people of antiquity to have survived antiquity, the Jewish people, which throughout much of its history, has endured exile and oppression yet has never given up hope of redemption.

As a young adolescent, he saw what no human being should have to see: the triumph of political fanaticism and ideological hatred of those who were different. He saw multitudes of human beings humiliated, isolated, tormented, tortured, and murdered. They were overwhelmingly Jews, but there were others. And those who committed these crimes were not vulgar underworld thugs, but men with high government, academic, industrial, and medical positions in Germany. In recent years, that nation has become a true democracy. But the question remains open: In those dark years, what motivated so many brilliant and committed public servants to invent such horrors? By its scope and magnitude, by its sheer weight of numbers, by the impact of so much humiliation and pain, in spite of being the most documented tragedy in the annals of history, Ausch-witz still defies language and understanding.

Let me evoke those times:

Babies used as target practice by SS men . . .​ Adolescents condemned never to grow old . . .​ Parents watching their children thrown into burning pits . . .​ Immense solitude engulfing an entire people . . .​ Infinite despair haunting our days and our dreams sixty years later . . .​

When did what we so poorly call the holocaust begin? In 1938, during Kristallnacht? In 1939, perhaps, when a German ship, the St. Louis, with more than a thousand German Jewish refugees aboard, was turned back from America’s shores? Or was it when the first massacres occurred in Babi Yar?

We still ask, What was Auschwitz: an end or a beginning, an apocalyptic consequence of centuries-old bigotry and hatred, or the final convulsion of demonic forces in human nature?

A creation parallel to God’s—a world with its own antinomian United Nations of people of different nationalities, traditions, cultures, socioeconomic spheres, philosophical disciplines, speaking many languages, clinging to a variety of faiths and memories. They were grown-ups or young, but inside that world there were no children and no grandparents; they had already perished.

As I have said many times: Not all victims were Jews, but all Jews were victims; for the first time in recorded history to be became a crime. Their birth became their death sentence. Correction: Jewish children were condemned to die even before they were born. What the enemy sought was to put an end to Jewish history; what he wanted was a new world, implacably, irrevocably devoid of Jews. Hence Auschwitz, Ponary, Treblinka, Bel¡zec, Chelmno, and Sobibór: dark factories of death erected for the Final Solution. Killers came there to kill and victims to die.

That was Auschwitz, an executioner’s ideal of a kingdom of absolute evil and malediction, with its princes and beggars, philosophers and theologians, politicians and artists; a place where to lose a piece of bread meant moving a step closer to death, and a smile from a friend, another day of promise.

At the time, the witness tried to understand; he still does not: How was such calculated evil, such bottomless and pointless cruelty possible? Had Creation gone mad? Had God covered his face? A religious person cannot conceive of Auschwitz either with or without God. But what about man? How could intelligent, educated, or simple law-abiding citizens fire machine guns at hundreds of children and their parents, and in the evening enjoy a cadence by Schiller, a partita by Bach?

Turning point or watershed, that catastrophe which has traumatized History has forever changed man’s perception of his or her responsibility toward fellow human beings. The sad, terrible fact is that it could have been prevented. Had the Western nations intervened when Hitler occupied Czechoslovakia and Austria; had America accepted more Jewish refugees from Europe; had Britain allowed more Jews to return to their ancestral land; had the Allies bombed the railways leading to Birkenau at the time when ten thousand Hungarian Jews—men, women, and infants—were assassinated day after day, our tragedy might have been avoided, its scope surely diminished.

This shameful indifference we must remember, just as we must remember to thank the few heroic individuals who, like Raoul Wallenberg, risked their lives to save Jews. We shall also always remember the armies that liberated Europe and the soldiers that liberated the death camps: the Americans in Buchenwald, the Russians in Auschwitz, and the British in Belsen. But for many victims they all came too late. That we must also remember.

When the American Third Army liberated Buchenwald, there was no joy in our hearts: only pain. We did not sing, we did not celebrate. We had just enough strength to recite the Kaddish.

And now, sixty years later, the entire world listens to the words of the witness. Like Jeremiah and Job, we could have cried and “cursed be the days dominated by injustice and violence.” We could have chosen vengeance. We did not. We could have chosen hate. We did not. Hatred is degrading, and vengeance demeaning. They are diseases. Their history is dominated by death.

The Jewish witness speaks of his people’s suffering as a warning. He sounds the alarm so as to prevent these things from being done to others. Had the world listened to our testimonies, the tragedies of Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur might have been avoided.

Oh yes, the witness knows that for the dead it is too late; for them, abandoned by God and betrayed by humanity, victory came much too late. But it is not too late for today’s children, ours and yours. It is for their sake alone that we bear witness. It is for their sake that we are duty-bound to denounce anti-Semitism, bigotry, racism, and religious or ethnic hatred. Those who today preach and practice the cult of death, using suicide terrorism, the scourge of this new century, must be condemned for crimes against humanity. Suffering confers no privileges; it is what one does with suffering that matters. Yes, the past is in the present, but the future is still in our hands.

Remember: Those who survived Auschwitz advocate hope, not despair; generosity, not rancor or bitterness; gratitude, not violence. We must be engaged; we must reject indifference as an option. Indifference always helps the aggressor, never his victims. And what is memory if not a noble and necessary response to and against indifference?

But . . .​ will the world ever learn?

* From remarks made by the author at the Twenty-seventh Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly, on January 24, 2005, in commemoration of the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camps.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Love it!

    Wiesel's novel about his return to his hometown a generation after the Shoah was amazing. The way he tells the story transports you to the little city that was once filled with Jews, now filled with Germans. He includes open letters to groups, but my favorite was the open letter to the Jewish children of today and the future, telling them to remember the past and make sure that it can never, ever happen again in the future. This is one of my favorite books by Elie Wiesel.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2011

    Great

    Like it no LOVE IT yes

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2011

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    Posted February 17, 2012

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