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All but my life by Gerda W. Klein

All but my life (1957)

by Gerda W. Klein

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This memoir by Gerda Weissmann Klein provides readers with a first hand account of Nazi Germany and the holocaust. Gerda Weissmann Klein is a remarkable woman who has been telling her story so that we never forget and continue the fight against genocide anywhere it rears its ugly head. Her story was turned in to a documentary that won both and Emmy and the Academy Award. This story of survival and the fight between good and evil will keep the interest of all students.
  PikeH | Jul 31, 2015 |
Shows Judaism to be a diverse religion, describing individuals from Biblical times to the twentieth century who have defined Judaism in different ways, and discussing the religion in the wake of the Holocaust.
  EmanuelofTempe | Jun 15, 2015 |
Gerda shares her wonderful, comfortable childhood / teenage years growing up in Bielitz with her parents and older brother, friends, neighbors and beauty of "Little Vienna."

Everything changes once the nazis* invade. Her beloved brother, Arthur, must leave, breaking the hearts of Gerda and her parents. Their fur factory is taken over by the nazis. They are forced to live in the cold, moldy basement, often go hungry because of food rationing, and eventually forced to perform hard work in factories for little or no pay. But to make Beilitz Jew-free, the remaining Jews are sent to camps or factories as slave labor. Gerda is separated from her parents and never sees them again.

She suffers demeaning hardships in the many camps and factories she is sent to but is determined to survive. Memories of her loving family, a positive outlook, her friends, and a few kind Germans help her find strength countless times to tolerate hunger, beatings, back-breaking labor, and worry over her brother and parents. She dreams of returning home to her family throughout the dark years. As the tide turns against Germany the nazis step up their brutality, killing more and more of the remaining Jews.

When the war ends, Gerda has lost too much. It will take someone special to understand her loss, and soon her new life begins.

*Not capitalizing this word is by personal choice. I know it doesn't change anything but doing so makes me FEEL as though I've reduced the power of the nazis. ( )
  Bookish59 | Mar 5, 2015 |
When the Nazi's invade Poland, Gerda and her family are forced to move into their basement. Eventually, her family is separated and sent to different German labor camps. The Germans seem to take everything from Gerda, everything but her life. She barely survives the horrors of the concentration camp but quickly regains her spirit and determination. A well written book, this is a look into a difficult part of history. Overall, highly recommended. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Feb 19, 2015 |
All But My Life is a personal story about the holocaust from 1939 to 1945 narrated by Gerda, who begins the holocaust at age 16. As this story progresses there is a better feel as to what people really experienced during this time period and how some people were able to cope. This memoir is very moving. I had read a few holocaust literature memoirs, and this is by far my favorite. The style of her writing keeps the book interesting and her personal anecdotes make me feel like I'm watching a movie. ( )
  KateWhalen | Oct 16, 2014 |
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I dedicate this book --to the memory of my children's grandparents Julius and Helene Weissmann / Ludwig and Alice Klein --to the men of the Fifth U.S. Infantry Division who fought for the ideals I believe in and --to my husband with all my love. G. W. K.
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Preface: As I finish the last chapter of my book, I feel at peace, at last.
Chapter 1: There is a watch lying on the green carpet of the living room of my childhood.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809015803, Paperback)

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 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:28 -0400)

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A Polish Jew records her experiences and struggle for survival in Nazi work camps and during a thousand-mile forced march.

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