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Tell Me Another Morning: An Autobiographical Novel

Overview

This autobiographical novel depicts a teenage girl’s experience in the Nazi concentration camps. As in The Diary of Anne Frank, Tania’s youthful concerns are interwoven among accounts of extremity: her brother’s murder, her mother’s choice to stay with her father and die in the gas chamber rather than be transported to another camp, the saving friendships Tania develops, her relationships with young men and the guards. Throughout the novel we see claustrophobic uncertainty, grief, terror, exhaustion, and Tania’s ...

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Overview

This autobiographical novel depicts a teenage girl’s experience in the Nazi concentration camps. As in The Diary of Anne Frank, Tania’s youthful concerns are interwoven among accounts of extremity: her brother’s murder, her mother’s choice to stay with her father and die in the gas chamber rather than be transported to another camp, the saving friendships Tania develops, her relationships with young men and the guards. Throughout the novel we see claustrophobic uncertainty, grief, terror, exhaustion, and Tania’s sustaining hope. Her return to Prague after the war is unforgettable and devastating, as she observes people wearing “normal” clothes, eating ice cream, and traveling on buses between work and home. There is no judgment, only the reality of two worlds existing simultaneously. With spare prose, Zdena Berger’s first-hand observations convey the deprivation and brutality in which Tania comes of age, and the friendships and hope that help her to survive.

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Editorial Reviews

KLIATT - Nola Theiss
This "autobiographical novel" is based on the author's experience as a young girl in Prague during WW II. She and her family are taken from their home and sent to a labor camp. Her older brother is sent to another camp and killed. "Tania" tells of her experiences in the camp. She befriends an older girl, Ilse, who works in the kitchen and is able to get her extra food. After they move to another camp, Ilse's survival skills help them. When they are forced to go through another selection line, Ilse finds an old tube of lipstick that she uses on Tania's mother's cheeks to make her look healthier. When Tania's father is not chosen to go with them to the next camp, a situation that means death for him, her mother chooses to stay with him, and Tania and Ilse leave them behind. After liberation, Tania finds her only living relative in Prague, her Aunt Magda, and tries to resume life. When she visits the Jewish cemetery, she sees that her grandfather's headstone now bears the names of her entire family. Although the author wrote this story in 1961, it has been updated in 2007 and ends with the author writing that she has lived in "three great cities"—Prague, Paris and San Francisco—and is still in touch with Isle. Unfortunately, Tania's story is not unusual, but the spare prose and seeing the world through Tania's eyes will make this book appealing to the YA reader.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781930464100
  • Publisher: Paris Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Zdena Berger was born in 1925 in Prague, where she lived until the Nazi occupation. She spent the war years as a prisoner of Terezin, Auschwitz, and Bergen-Belsen. After the liberation of Bergen-Belsen in 1945, Berger returned to Prague to complete her education, and then lived in Paris for nearly a decade. She immigrated to San Francisco in 1955 and now lives with her husband in the Bay Area. Tell Me Another Morning is her only book.

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Story of Struggles

    In 'Tell Me Another Morning' author Zdena Berger tells her story somewhat fictitiously through a fourteen year old character named Tania who struggles through various concentration camps. It was different reading from a girl's point of view and sad at the same time to think that only about 40,000 of the 132,000 women that went through concentration camps survived. Ernest J Gaines (an American author who grew up in a sharecropping family and has received many awards for his books), said about the novel: "I love this book from beginning to end. It is a classic." I don't totally agree with his opinion. The book was told from Tania's point of view. When Tania didn't know which camp she was in or what was going on the reader was left in the same situation. This, along with the poetic writing style, caused me to reread passages multiple times, sometimes still not understanding what was going on. An example of this was when Tania was describing herself in a cattle car, "We sit in these cages and watch the darkness. We take the air and we give it back and each time there is less. This is what it is. We are in boxes." I frequently thought to myself 'Why am I even still reading this book?' Another problem was that Tania (and the reader) didn't know what the camps names were. I usually had no idea what the purpose of her being there was. It just seemed like her and the rest of the Jews were constantly being transported from one camp to another. One good thing about the writing style was that it helped portray one of the main themes in the story: You need friends to help you pull through. Tania had the help of her friends Ilse and Eva who helped each other survive by gathering food, warning each other of extreme danger, and encouraging each other just to make it through the day. There were many instances in which the girls probably wouldn't have survived if not for each other. All in all it was a pretty good story but would have been a lot better if I had understood more of it. It was definitely a book for the more advanced reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2008

    Humanity grew from the ashes of indifference

    'Tell Me Another Morning' must be read as a companion piece to 'Diary of Anne Frank.' Anne's story ended when her family was discovered and dispersed to concentration camps. Tania (Zdena Berger) tells the story Anne couldn't, the struggle of a young girl and two friends to survive in the camps under the most impersonal and banal evil mankind is capable of inflicting. Our dramas are populated with monsters in human form expending great energy and taking huge enjoyment in dispensing evil. We are fascinated as they revel in horror. Zdena Berger shows us the other, more chilling face of evil. Tania faced one wholly different and vastly greater, the evil of indifference of one human to the humanity of another, multiplied thousands of times. Towards the end it is shocking that the faceless guards pull a cruel joke by adding glass to the prisoners' bread, because until that point the guards seemed too indifferent to suffering to take any pleasure in causing or even noticing it. The three friends, Ilse, Eva, and Tania, grew during their trials, drawing strength and gaining character as their oppressors shrank into pitiful caricatures. Clearly none of them could have survived without the others, as each did small, selfless acts at times that helped her friends to find strength and courage to go on. Once, after charming chocolate from male prisoners, Ilse gave it all to Eva and led Tania in pretending that they were sharing it so that Eva did not know she had the only piece. 'Tell Me Another Morning' is painstakingly crafted, and fills a high position on my personal list of best books. It is Zdena's only book, and her story is a classic for all times and should never again be allowed to go out of print. I will never forget the friendship and courage of Tania, Eva, and Ilse, and I encourage all to join them on their immortal quest, powered by hope, to rekindle humanity from the ashes of indifference.

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