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Women’s accounts of survival during the Second World War

Four women, and four accounts of surviving terrible experiences during WW2. But which would you like to see The Holocaust Reader cover next? Here are the four choices, and you can add your vote in this Twitter poll, or add a comment below this post with your choice.

The Books:

But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens

Marceline Loridian-Ivans (1928-2018) published this short but intensely moving account of survival in Auschwitz not long before the end of her life. The relationship with her father, who did not return from the camp, is central to the book, which also touches on the wedge that differences of experiences drove between her and her surviving relatives.

The Tin Ring by Zdenka Fantlova

The tin ring of the title was given to Fantlova (b. 1923) by her first love, and she kept it with her throughout her time in Nazi concentration camps. She survived Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, and her memoir is the self-portrait of a remarkably strong woman.

Conflict, War and Revolution: My Life by Alessandra Kozlowska

This memoir ranges more widely than the others, since Kozlowska (1892-1975) grew up in Tsarist Russia, survived the 1917 revolutions and the bloody civil war, and later, after emigrating to Italy, lived through the Nazi occupation and arrest. Kozlowska’s text was only discovered years after she passed away and has only recently appeared in print for the first time.

One Of The Girls In The Band by Helena Dunicz Niwińska

This book, published by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, tells the story of the author’s survival as part of the women’s orchestra at Birkenau. Dunicz Niwińska (1915-2018) was very elderly by the time she wrote he memories down, but they have a clarity and directness that stems from that fact that she was an adult during the period of her internment.

Leave a comment below with the name of the book from the above list that you would like to see reviewed next.


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3 comments on “Women’s accounts of survival during the Second World War

  1. I vote Kozlowska, in part because your description got cut off and I wanted to know more!
    I only know Loriden-Ivens, of these–an interesting book, especially when paired with her appearance in Rouch & Morin’s documentary Chronicle of a Summer. Do you know that one?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for spotting that! I don’t know how it happened.

      I don’t know this documentary – I will investigate! Thank you for your vote!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Important verité documentary from the 60s. Rouch & Morin kind of invented that style. Loriden has an important role in the film, though it’s not obviously a Holocaust text. Michael Rothberg has a great chapter on it in Multidirectional Memory.

        Liked by 1 person

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