Praised by Ian McEwan, Michael Longley, the Guardian and many others, A Time to Speak tells the story of Helen Lewis, shipped from Prague to Auschwitz at the start of WW2 as part of the Final Solution, and her struggle to survive the Holocaust.
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About the Author
Helen Lewis was born in 1916 in Trutnov in Czechoslovakia. She completed her grammar school education, then successfully auditioned for a place at Milca Mayerova's School of Dance in Prague. While studying for her diploma, she also began a course in Philosophy at the German University. She married in 1938, and in 1942, together with her husband Paul, she was deported to Terezín, the Jewish ghetto sixty kilometres north of Prague, and then in May 1944 to Auschwitz, where they were separated. After the liberation she returned to Prague to learn that her husband had not survived.
In 1947 she married Harry Lewis, an old friend who had escaped to Belfast just before the start of the war, and settled there with him the same year. After the birth of their two sons, she became involved in dance again, choreographing for theatre and opera. Her teaching eventually led to the foundation of the Belfast Modem Dance Group, which introduced modern contemporary dance to Northern Ireland.
A Time to Speak was published in 1992 and brought her wider recognition as a writer, broadcaster and speaker. She often talked about her experiences to community groups and in schools, a responsibility she took particularly seriously. Her contribution to the life of Northern Ireland was recognized by the award of honorary doctorates by The University of Ulster (1993) and The Queen’s University, Belfast (1996) and by her appointment as MBE in 2000. She died on 31 December 2009.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
i read this book as a book review project for my english class. i wrote and essay on it and got a great grade. i am a 17 year old jewish girl from california. it was hard for me to read this book, but from the opening paragraph i was stunned. i could not put the book down and read it in 3 days. it was so great. i really got to see how everything in Auschwitz went on. sorry for the mispelling. with each new thing she wrote i imagined myself going through it. helen lewis talks about being a dancer in the novel. ive always wanted to be one myself. i am trying now to be the best i can be. anyways, just reading this novel made me feel good, sad, and made me cry sometimes when they talked about what they would do to jews who did uncorrect things. i kept saying to myself, im glad it wasnt me, but i felt sorry for all of those young and old and children who were totally innocent. in conclusion the book was great. i liked it a lot.