Hope Is the Last to Die: A Coming of Age under Nazi Terror

Hope Is the Last to Die: A Coming of Age under Nazi Terror

Hope Is the Last to Die: A Coming of Age under Nazi Terror

Hope Is the Last to Die: A Coming of Age under Nazi Terror

Synopsis

This book is an important work in Holocaust literature and was originally published in Poland in 1967. Covering the years 1939-1945, it is the author's account of her experience growing up in the Warsaw ghetto and her eventual deportation to, imprisonment in, and survival of the Majdanek, Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Neustadt-Glewe camps. Since the old, the weak, and children were summarily executed by the Nazis in these camps, Mrs Birenbaum's survival and coming of age is all the more remarkable. Her story is told with simplicity and clarity and the new edition contains revisions made by the author to the original English translation, and is expanded with a new epilogue and postscripts that bring the story up to date and complete the circle of Mrs Birenbaum's experiences.

Excerpt

I received a copy of Hope Is the Last to Die in June 1995 with the question: would I be willing to publish a new English-language edition? After a brief correspondence with Halina Birenbaum the matter was arranged. In September I met the author in New York. We spent several hours discussing changes that she wanted to make to bring an otherwise excellent translation closer to the meaning that she intended to convey in the original Polish. During that time, I had an opportunity to form an impression. She is as she writes: direct and open; and her conversation makes the same impression as her writing: that of a woman who saw so much death that she marvels at life.

We know about the Holocaust because we have read about it and we don't know about it because we weren't there. Here is a book that takes us as close as we will ever get. It burns with an urgency and an immediacy that forces us to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel the Holocaust as the author did from the time that she was ten in occupied Warsaw until she was fifteen in the concentration camp at Neustadt-Glewe from which she was liberated. We feel endless terror--the terror of occupation; the terror of rifle shots, falling bombs, and smoking rubble; the terror of being hunted like an animal to be exterminated. And the terror of the "selections" in the concentration camps: the "strong" go to . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.