You Saved Me, Too: What a Holocaust Survivor Taught Me about Living, Dying, Fighting, Loving, and Swearing in Yiddish

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Overview

Aron Lieb approached Sue Resnick at a Jewish Community Center fifteen years ago and found a companion and soul mate who was steadfastly by his side for the rest of his life. You Saved Me, Too is the incredible story of how two people shared the hidden parts of themselves and created a bond that was complicated, challenging, but ultimately invaluable.

Sue was first attracted to Aron's warmth and wit, such a contrast to his tragic past and her recent battle with ...

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You Saved Me, Too: What a Holocaust Survivor Taught Me about Living, Dying, Fighting, Loving, and Swearing in Yiddish

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Overview

Aron Lieb approached Sue Resnick at a Jewish Community Center fifteen years ago and found a companion and soul mate who was steadfastly by his side for the rest of his life. You Saved Me, Too is the incredible story of how two people shared the hidden parts of themselves and created a bond that was complicated, challenging, but ultimately invaluable.

Sue was first attracted to Aron's warmth and wit, such a contrast to his tragic past and her recent battle with postpartum depression. Soon she would be dealing with his mental illness, fighting the mainstream Jewish community for help with his care, and questioning her faith. The dramatic tension builds when Sue promises not to let Aron die alone. This book chronicles their remarkable friendship, which began with weekly coffee dates and flourished into much more. With beautiful prose, it alternates between his history, their developing friendship, and a current health crisis that may force them to part.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“You Saved Me, Too is a soulful story about two unlikely companions—a young mother and an elderly Holocaust survivor—and their complicated, hilarious, and extraordinary friendship. With razor sharp wit and a compassionate eye, Resnick deftly weaves together the personal and the historical in this heartbreaking, yet uplifting memoir. This book reminded me of why we are here—to help ease the suffering of others and to fearlessly love one another to the end of time.” –Mira Bartok, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Memory Palace

“Resnick expertly ... intersperses bits and pieces of Aron's life in the camps with her feelings about Judaism, her family life and her steadfast belief that the world should do right by her friend, a man who had suffered more than enough. . . . Resnick's compassionate prose captures the voice and soul of Aron, ensuring that his memories will continue long after the number ‘141324’ has disappeared. A poignant, memorable story of friendship and of a period in time that should never be forgotten.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“In well-executed, second-person prose, Resnick speaks directly to the elderly Aron Lieb—a virtually family-less Holocaust survivor whom she befriends—as he lies on his deathbed in a nursing home. Short vignettes skip back and forth through time, covering the history of their relationship: Resnick’s struggle with Jewish identity (“I figured as long as I stayed ambivalent about being Jewish, I might not get killed by the Nazis the next time they came”) and Aron’s own history before, during, and after the war. The writing is sentimental and emotional (culminating in “Who saved whom?”) as much as it is honest and informative; in telling Aron’s story, Resnick unapologetically criticizes both the incompetence of elder-care facilities as well as the failure of Jewish communal organizations to help a person who, after a life of hardship, deserves a break. This painful memoir is not easy to read: Resnick displays her artistic skill as she attempts to make sense of Aron’s life in light of her own (“I own the book of your life, but I can’t read it”). The telling of Aron’s story, a true labor of love, is a reminder of both the individuality of each survivor and the reality that their generation is dying and must be remembered.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review 

“A rare gem, You Saved Me, Too, finds beauty, humor, and inspiration in even the darkest of moments. Susan Kushner Resnick masterfully interweaves her own narrative with that of an unlikely friend and mentor whose wisdom is rooted in his suffering and in his inevitable flaws. This book celebrates life itself and the redemptive power of love on every page. It also has many lessons to impart, and belongs on every bookshelf right next to Tuesdays with Morrie.” —Carlos Eire, author of Waiting for Snow in Havana, winner of the National Book Award

“This is a story of life, love, and fulfillment that will linger long after the book has been finished.” —New York Journal of Books

"Susan Kushner Resnick writes with compassion and sometimes anger—but never with sentimentality. Her memoir captures life’s cruelties and arbitrariness with an artist’s eye, reminding the rest of us what Holocaust survivors already know: that nothing in life—a pet dog, a child's prank, a chance encounter at a JCC—is routine; that there is beauty everywhere we are willing to look.” —Josh Rolnick, author of Pulp and Paper

“Susan Kushner Resnick speaks for a whole generation of American baby-boomer Jews who grew up terrified, heartbroken, and riveted by stories of the Holocaust—a connection we could neither embrace or relinquish. Through a passionate fifteen-year friendship with a survivor she met quite randomly in a Boston JCC, Resnick makes the connection between their generation and ours simple and real. Sharing this journey with her—one which is no longer possible, as the last of the survivors die—fills a need many of us have lived with since childhood. Resnick's humor, elegant writing, and almost Anne Frank-like combination of sweetness and sassiness made this the first Holocaust-related book I have enjoyed, or could even bear to read, in many decades.”
—Marion Winik, author of The Glen Rock Book of the Dead, and First Comes Love
 
“The struggle to ensure that Aron's end-of-life days would be comfortable, dignified, and above all companioned—that's a lesser-known tale of survivor experience. That is Susan Kushner Resnick's key contribution—to the literature, and to Aron's life.” —Erika Dreifus, author of Quiet Americans: Stories

Publishers Weekly
In well-executed, second-person prose, Resnick speaks directly to the elderly Aron Lieb—a virtually family-less Holocaust survivor whom she befriends—as he lies on his deathbed in a nursing home. Short vignettes skip back and forth through time, covering the history of their relationship: Resnick’s struggle with Jewish identity (“I figured as long as I stayed ambivalent about being Jewish, I might not get killed by the Nazis the next time they came”) and Aron’s own history before, during, and after the war. The writing is sentimental and emotional (culminating in “Who saved whom?”) as much as it is honest and informative; in telling Aron’s story, Resnick unapologetically criticizes both the incompetence of elder-care facilities as well as the failure of Jewish communal organizations to help a person who, after a life of hardship, deserves a break. This painful memoir is not easy to read: Resnick displays her artistic skill as she attempts to make sense of Aron’s life in light of her own (“I own the book of your life, but I can’t read it”). The telling of Aron’s story, a true labor of love, is a reminder of both the individuality of each survivor and the reality that their generation is dying and must be remembered. Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
Stirring story of the tender and unusual friendship between a Holocaust survivor and a woman 40 years his junior. Resnick (Creative Nonfiction/Brown Univ., Goodbye Wives and Daughters, 2010, etc.) expertly interweaves both sides of her 15-year friendship with Holocaust survivor Aron Lieb. She intersperses bits and pieces of Aron's life in the camps with her feelings about Judaism, her family life and her steadfast belief that the world should do right by her friend, a man who had suffered more than enough. Told in a nonsensational manner, the narrative provides readers with insights into the daily life of a Jew in the concentration camps: the lack of food and clothing, the brutality and illogical tortures, the endless work and the overwhelming determination to survive. Throughout the book, Resnick refers to Aron as "you," and the back-and-forth conversations between the two companions continue as swirled snippets of memories of "your" somewhat normal life after the war. "Who will remember once your tattoo is gone?" writes the author. "When you die…that symbol will be buried with you. The numbers will decompose. You will come unmarked…then the forgetting will truly commence." Nightmares and anxiety attacks prevailed as Aron grew older, and he continued to struggle with the heart-rending grief of losing most of his family in the camps. Resnick and her family became the family Aron lost, and the author was single-minded in her efforts to provide a respectful death for her friend. Resnick's compassionate prose captures the voice and soul of Aron, ensuring that his memories will continue long after the number "141324" has disappeared. A poignant, memorable story of friendship and of a period in time that should never be forgotten.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762788194
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 331,981
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Kushner Resnick teaches creative nonfiction at Brown University. She is the author of Sleepless Days and Goodbye Wifes and Daughters, which won a gold medal for nonfiction from the Independent Publisher’s Book Awards. She has been published in The New York Times magazine and The Boston Globe. 

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 3, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    You Saved Me Too is a wonderful book. It chronicles a beautiful

    You Saved Me Too is a wonderful book. It chronicles a beautiful relationship as Sue stands by Aron through his battle with mental illness. It is truly inspirational. A true gem. Pick this one up!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    ¿. . . a story of life, love, and fulfillment that will linger long after the book has been finished.¿

    A tall, handsome, young Jewish man named Aron Lieb is swallowed up into the Nazi genocide machine of Auschwitz-Birkenau. After suffering untold brutality, starvation, sickness, forced labor, and many near-death experiences, Aron and his estranged brother Bill survive the atrocity. Everyone else that he loves and admires is murdered in Nazi death camps, including his parents and sisters. Aron’s shattered psyche becomes a permanent sickness, manifested by psychosomatic disorder, anxiety, and difficulty managing relationships. Susan Kushner Resnick is a writer, teaching creative non-fiction at Brown University. Suffering from postpartum depression, Susan has deep psychological wounds of her own. Living the American dream in suburban Boston, Susan has every reason to feel happy. She has a warm and loving relationship with her husband and her young children. Yet something is missing. Life’s vivid beauty has become a pastel afterthought to her depression. One day, by chance, Susan and Aron meet. Susan enjoys chatting with the old Holocaust survivor who has a sparkle in his eye and a penchant for charming women. From the depths of her depression, Susan needs to talk. Aron is a good listener. Over time, they become best friends and trusted confidants. Two desperate, hurting individuals sharing only the same religion become locked in a powerful relationship that saves them both in every way a person can be saved. Resnick has crafted a wonderful non-linear story filled with robust metaphor. Staged in first-person singular the story is produced via juxtaposition of accounts and experiences from 1919 through Aron’s death in 2011. As Ms. Resnick speaks to Aron following his death, we relive aspects of the Holocaust, yet without the minute details of Nazi brutality. We sympathize with him, despite his constant need for attention and affection, exhibited via his on-going psychosomatic illnesses. Susan is engaged by his majestic survival, his penchant for charming women, and later, his slide into unresolved depression, agitation, and imagined infirmity. Her dramatic frame of reference is always an unspoken conversation between her and Aron after his death. She also writes letters to Aron’s long-dead mother, revealing Aron’s charms, foibles and personality attributes. This literary frame of reference works magic upon the reader, although its non-linear aspect requires some early adaptation. Ms. Resnick maintains the reader’s interest while balancing on-going transformations in time, place and person. Each portion of the book alternates between past and present, revealing appalling historical facts about Aron’s survival in the Holocaust, their burgeoning friendship, and his increasingly precarious psychosomatic disorder. Aron constantly complains of chest pains, though the doctors can find no physical cause. As Ms. Resnick discovers, it is a broken heart. Ms. Resnick leaves us wondering if she and Aron were “soulmates.” The drama we experience in this evolving relationship is both beautiful and wondrous. Ms. Resnick reveals her own emotional weaknesses and the powerful strength uncovered as she fights to save Aron from despair and an uncaring world. In her drive to save the last days of a charming but increasingly feeble Holocaust survivor, she discovers her own inner power. Just as she saves Aron at the end of his life, his love saves her at a time when she required it the most. In the end, they were a perfect match.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 11, 2014

    touching story

    This was a moving tale about a long caregiving period of time of an elderly Holocast survivor. Both the man and his caretaker benefit from their interactions thru the years, they become closer than some people do with their relatives. I enjoyed this book, but it was sad and humorous at the same time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2014

    Moving memoir

    This was an endearing memoir of an unlikely friendship that crossed age boundaries. I felt like I knew both Aaron Lieb and Susan Resnick (the author). Ms. Resnick deftly illustrates how the friendship was beneficial to both of them, and brought out their true and deepest selves. People of all ages would find their life experience enriched, and also find their perspectives reordered, by reading this book.

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

    Posted January 7, 2014

    A

    This is a warm, funny, sad, brave, and wellwritten tribute not only about a holucost survivor, but the importance of human relationship. Doing the right thing has layered benefits. This is thoughtfully written and thought provoking. I didn't want it to end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2013

    Loved this book!  An unusual retrospective, presented in an unus

    Loved this book!  An unusual retrospective, presented in an unusual format.  The author's willingness to present her own foibles and anxieties help readers to connect with both her and her subject.  I hope the book becomes part of the Holocaust Museum's archives.

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

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Andrew

    Boot has begun

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Zack

    Hey trish.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    To rex

    Next res

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Trish

    "Good luck."

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2013

    Recommended if you are interested in the Holocaust.

    A compelling read. This is a good book for a book club to review. My book club had a very interesting discussion. Resnick's style of writing kept the reader involved.

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

    Posted December 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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