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Etty Hillesum: An Interrupted Life the Diaries, 1941-1943 and Letters from Westerbork

by Etty Hillesum

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6141638,843 (4.27)15
For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman in the midst of World War II. In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine.… (more)
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» See also 15 mentions

English (13)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (16)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Not a book that would have caught my attention were it on the shelves - I read this one entirely at a friend's suggestion. And even if I had picked it up on my own, I'm pretty sure that I would've given up in the first fifty or so pages, her relationship with 'S' seeming to dominate the story and truth be told, generating more than a few eye rolls on my part. However, that aspect of the book made what came that much more powerful. To see so much love, kindness, and strength in someone whom I judged at first to be tremendously boring and shallow really made me question my judgments of people in my own life. Very thought provoking. Thanks to my friend, Melissa for suggesting it. ( )
  toddtyrtle | Dec 28, 2022 |
An amazing woman with a deep search for meaning. I learned so much from this book, I strongly recommend it. ( )
  Clarissa_ | May 11, 2021 |
Etty Hillesum:An Interrupted Life: the Diaries, 1941-1943 and Letters from Westerbork. Etty Hillesum.1996. This is the most meaningful, beautiful, and soulful book I have read by a Holocaust victim. Etty has been called an older Anne Frank. My first exposure to the Holocaust came in the 9th grade when I read Anne Frank and Leon Uris’s Exodus, I was so emotionally inexperienced that while I was horrified I could not fully understand the true loss and terror of losing everyone you loved and yourself. Etty was older than Frank and a “liberated” young woman. I was initially a little impatient with her until I put my 25 year old self in her place! Etty kept a diary until she moved to Westebork which was a holding station in Amsterdam for Jews before they were transported to Poland to concentrations camps. The letters are from the camp. Her transformation from an flighty young woman to a strong, determined woman seems almost miraculous. She spent her time at Westerbork doing her best to make the hellish situation easier for others. She refused to give in to despair or hate. Her “companions” were the Bible and Rilke. We can all learn from Etty. ( )
  judithrs | Feb 20, 2021 |
Power insight into one woman's experience of the Holocaust from a spiritual point of view. There is much to feed on here regarding how we are living our lives and appreciating what we have. Cannot recommend this highly enough. ( )
  KaleidoSoul | Jul 3, 2019 |
This writing is the diary of Etty Hillesum, who perished in Auschwitz on Tuesday, November 30, 1943 at the age of 29. She records her experience from Sunday, March 9, 1941 to Wednesday, September 15,1943. We owe it to Etty to know her story and the beautiful hopeful legacy that she has left to us. She maintains that she finds life meaningful. We see her grow psychologically, morally and spiritually. But to do so she has to fight herself and her fellow Jews who are naturally embittered by their plight. It consists not only in doing what's right in thought, word and deed but developing a sense of peace in her inner life where she comes intuitively to know God. She refuses to give herself to hate. Moreover she makes it her mission to help fellow compatriots. We see in this diary a portrait of someone who self-examines and seeks to be reformed, having only a slender image of God. Almost intuitively, she seems to have learned of a loving God without a formal religious structure. Her reading of good literature, including the Bible were likely helpful aids. Her favorite act is to be on bended knee. Never is there a trace of blaming God. Moreover, we see her interact with her compatriots with joy, compassion and honesty. Bottom line, if she can prevail over rightful bitterness, despair and cynicism, and come to love both enemy and neighbor, perhaps we can also in our varied circumstances. ( )
  allenkeith | Jun 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Etty Hillesumprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gaarlandt, J. G.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoffman, EvaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lodders, GideonEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smelik, Klaas A DEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tempelaars, RobEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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When we pick up Etty Hillesum's diaries and letters today, we know from the outset what will come at their tragic end.
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diaries + letters + notes (over 800 pages total)
diaries + letters
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For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman in the midst of World War II. In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in 1943 at the age of twenty-nine.

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