My Years in Theresienstadt: How One Woman Survived the Holocaust

My Years in Theresienstadt: How One Woman Survived the Holocaust

by Gerty Spies

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Overview

My Years in Theresienstadt: How One Woman Survived the Holocaust by Gerty Spies

She has learned to forgive, but she can never forget. And neither can we.

Gerty Spies was born in 1897 at Trier into a Jewish family whose ancestors had lived in Germany for centuries. Separated from her family by the Nazis, she was sent to the Czech camp known as Theresienstadt. It was a peculiar place: publicized as a retirement city, a Nazi propaganda showplace where Jews could sit out the war. But it was actually a way station for those destined for the Auschwitz death camp. Isolated from the outside world, surrounded by death, Spies retreated to her inner self to concentrate on human, cultural, and other values. Her powerful talent for writing, discovered at the camp; enabled her to transcend and triumph over mental and physical degradations; to keep her own integrity; to not let evil destroy her loving nature; and, finally, to not lose faith in humanity. By the end of the war, 33,000 people died in Theresienstadt from disease and malnutrition. Spies' work exhibits a tension between the expression of camp reality and an imagination of an idealized past. Sensitive and humorous, but never bitter, her stories of the struggle for survival are expressions of her own individual moral poise.

Gerty Spies, (Munich, Germany) 98, is the author of Das schwarze Kleid (The Black Garment). She has received awards promoting ongoing dialogue between Jews and non-Jews, and has served as honorary chairperson for the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation. Jutta R. Tragnitz is a doctoral candidate in the German Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"Spies recalls her daily camp life in vivid and haunting vignettes, describing watching friends and family die, the lack of food and the exhausting labor she was forced to perform. . . . She credits her writing with helping keep her alive and convincing her to forgive but not forget her persecutors." -Publishers Weekly

". . . a moving story of how prisoners managed to maintain a semblance of dignity during a horrific period." -Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616140540
Publisher: Prometheus Books
Publication date: 05/01/1997
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Gerty Spies, (Munich, Germany) 98, is the author of Das schwarze Kleid (The Black Garment). She has received awards promoting ongoing dialogue between Jews and non-Jews, and has served as honorary chairperson for the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation. Jutta R. Tragnitz is a doctoral candidate in the German Department of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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