All But My Life A Memoir Author:Gerda Weissmann Klein All But My Life is the unforgettable story of Gerda Weissmann Klein's six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty. From her comfortable home in Bielitz (present-day Bielsko) in Poland to her miraculous survival and her liberation by American troops--including the man who was to become her husband--in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in 1945, Gerda... more » takes the reader on a terrifying journey.
Gerda's serene and idyllic childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German labor camps. Over the next few years Gerda experienced the slow, inexorable stripping away of "all but her life." By the end of the war she had lost her parents, brother, home, possessions, and community; even the dear friends she made in the labor camps, with whom she had shared so many hardships, were dead.
Despite her horrifying experiences, Klein conveys great strength of spirit and faith in humanity. In the darkness of the camps, Gerda and her young friends manage to create a community of friendship and love. Although stripped of the essence of life, they were able to survive the barbarity of their captors. Gerda's beautifully written story gives an invaluable message to everyone. It introduces them to last century's terrible history of devastation and prejudice, yet offers them hope that the effects of hatred can be overcome.« less
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This is a beautifully written memoir. Gerda was just 15 years-old and living in Poland when the war began. Slowly, during the war years, she lost everything. Holocaust survivor stories fascinate me because it is interesting how some people had a little extra desire to live and were able to endure more than others. Gerda was one of these people. She kept the idea of a reunion with her family as incentive to endure the brutal hardships of work in various labor camps. There is also an epilogue written when she was 70 that gives her perspective of bearing the intervening years of her life. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in WWII, the Holocaust or survival stories.
I loved this book! A great book about a young girl's experiences and determined struggle to stay alive. She lost and endured so much! A much better book than Survival In Auschwitz. A more detailed and descriptive book.
Gerda was a teenager at the onset of WWII, living an upper middle class life in Poland. She is the only member in her family to survive, she was in various work camps rather than a concentration camp. She lost hundreds of co-workers in the work camps. She is a very good writer who makes you feel you are there with her. She ended up marrying one of her liberators, an Army Lt. from Buffalo, NY, where she lived her life until recently retiring to AZ. A must read.
I learned about this book at the end of another. I just finished it. It is an amazing account of a different view of the concentration camps during WWII. Very moving and very well worth the read! I highly recommend it.