Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered

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Feminist Press at CUNY, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 216 pages
Swept up as a child in the events of Nazi-era Europe, Ruth Kluger saw her family's comfortable Vienna existence systematically undermined and destroyed. By age eleven, she had been deported, along with her mother, to Theresienstadt, the first in a series of concentration camps which would become the setting for her precarious childhood. Kluger's story of her years in the camps and her struggle to establish a life after the war as a refugee survivor in New York, has emerged as one of the most powerful accounts of the Holocaust.

Interwoven with blunt, unsparing observations of childhood and nuanced reflections of an adult who has spent a lifetime thinking about the Holocaust, Still Alive rejects all easy assumptions about history, both political and personal. Whether describing the abuse she met at her own mother's hand, the life-saving generosity of a woman SS aide in Auschwitz, the foibles and prejudices of Allied liberators, or the cold shoulder offered by her relatives when she and her mother arrived as refugees in New York, Kluger sees and names an unexpected reality which has little to do with conventional wisdom or morality tales.

Still Alive is a memoir of the pursuit of selfhood against all odds, a fiercely bittersweet coming-of-age story in which the protagonist must learn never to rely on comforting assumptions, but always to seek her own truth.

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Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered

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"How can I keep my readers from feeling good about the obvious drift of my story away from the gas chambers and the killing fields and towards the postwar period, where prosperity beckons?" This ... Read full review

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I got it, the author's mom was worse than all Nazis taken together...
This book was not a first or a second one I read on the topic of the WWII, Conzlagers (Concentration camps), Nazis, women at war
, Holocaust, etc. If I didn't read other books, this one would probably make me think that the author's mother, not Nazis, was to blame for everything bad that happened to the author. As one reader said, the author is not likable, and IMO she is rather very unlikable. I regret that she - as any other victim of the WWII including my family members who were starving in Leningrad - was forced to go through what she went. Her experience, however, didn't teach her that the people are the most valuable things around us. Her book didn't add anything to my knowledge base, and I consider my time spend on this book entirely wasted since I did not find myself interested in author at all, in spite of her efforts to show off her intelligence. I only finished this book because my daughter gave it to me, and I wanted to be able to discuss it with her. In short, I feel rather disgusted than enriched. 


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About the author (2001)

Lore Segal is a writer, educator, and reviewer. She was born in Vienna, Austria, on March 8, 1928. Segal earned her B.A. in English from Bedford College, University of London, in 1948. Segal taught writing and English at Columbia University, Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College, Bennington College, the University of Illinois, and The Ohio State University. She has published short stories, articles, and reviews in such periodicals as Partisan Review, The New Yorker, New Republic, and the New York Times Book Review. Segal also wrote fiction for both children and adults. Segal received grants from the Council of Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. She was a Guggenheim fellow in 1965-66 and received the Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 1986. Her book, Shakespeare's Kitchen, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.

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