©1995 by Gerda Weissmann Klein; (P)1997 by Blackstone Audiobooks
"Soul-searching and human...A moving personal testament to courage." (The New York Times)
"...as sensitive and 'disturbing' a story as The Diary of Anne Frank." (Library Journal)
I hesitated for over a year from writing a review of Gerda Weissmann Klein's -All But My Life- for the strange but simple reason that this book is my favorite book of the Holocaust and I simply could not put the phrase -favorite book of the holocaust- into print. The Holocaust is something beyond ordinary human experience and I lack the proper means to express the gravity with which I feel about it. I have listen to most everything Audible has on Holocaust literature: Night, Day, The Nazi Officer's Wife, Defying Hitler, Schindler's List, Anne Frank, and have read many more. Gerda's story appeals to me precisely because I cannot relate to her. She has a purity of soul and a set of survivor skills that I simply do not have. It also helps that she was rescued and had a good life in America after the war. Anything positive in these accounts is very welcome indeed to a reader. A word to the wise, at any one time, be careful how much Holocaust literature you read. Regarding the narration, I did not require authentic European accents or pronunciations, only that I understood what was being said, in English, and the narrator provided this in a dignified and attractive style. MB
Compelling listen, excellently written, and superbly narrated. My parents lived through the holocaust and this book made me feel what my mother must have gone through. Grace Conlin does a superb rendition. Her voice is calm and controlled with the right touch of emotion so you believe that you are there through Gerda Weissmans eyes. I met and heard Gerda Weissmann, some time after she wrote this book, and although Mrs. Weissmann Klein has a mild European accent Grace Conlin manages to reflect her demeanor and outlook. I recommend it to everyone lest we forget.
This is an incredibly well written book. Gerda Weissmann Klein tells her story with such simple words and heartfelt honesty, that I often felt overwhelmed by the clarity of her descriptions, and the hopelessness of her situation. Just as heart-wrenching as the "Diary of Anne Frank," Mrs. Klein's story is one that I will ponder and reflect on for the rest of my life. After reading this, how any of us would ever again indulge in any form of prejudice, is truly confounding.
I found Grace Conlin's dignified reading perfectly suited to the author's character.
Excellent. This book, in my mind, seemed much longer than 10 hours. That is to say that listening to it was a deeply meaningful experience. I had dreams about it later. The narrator's voice was resonant and somber--I'm surprised that some readers didn't like it. This is an uncommon and captivating book, and its a great opportunity to be able to listen to it.
This is my first review even though I have listened to many audible books and I love them. This was one of those stories I couldnt stop listening to, although the narrator did bother me. She ended every sentence with the same exact inflection. Her "voices" were horrible, Gerda sounded like Minnie Mouse many times. I understand that Ms. Weismann-Kline would have a european accent as well as that particular Jewish diction, but I have heard many of these and NONE of them sounded like this lady. That aside, this book is a DONT MISS, especially if you are interested in the Holocaust - I dont know if Gerda is still with us, but I send her and her family much, much love and respect and thank her for her courage and honesty. I will never forget you...
I always marvel at people who perserve through unspeakable horrors, yet manage to overcome, grow, and suceed. I liked the slow speed of the reader, it made me feel as if I were in the room with Mrs Klein as she was retelling her memories.
This book was so poorly read, that I was forced to do something I would never do - write a review. I just thought people had to know. If you want to learn about this amazing life story, unless you absolutely don't have the time to read it, please get the book. I felt the speaker was too lacking in emotion. It seemed like she was unhappy with going to work, and took the task of reading this heartfelt story of tragedy and hope with the tone of someone merely doing a job. She would have inflections in her voice, but at times they seemed on cue, in a sort of missed cue sort of way. For example, there as a section in the book where a small girl is yelling at a bread maker, calling him crazy for saying something she found unbearable to hear. It sounded like a robot speaking. I'm sorry, and mean no offense, but this was a difficult book to sit through, and found myself avoiding it, even though I wanted to hear the story, as my grandfather was in a camp for a short time.
This was one of the greatest books that I have listened to. My children, ages 16, 13, and 12, could not believe all of the things that happened to Gerta. I think it has given them courage. I know that it has given me courage. Amazing what humans are able to do both in a positive way (Gerta) and a negative way (Hitler).
To be 15 and held in contempt and raging hatred by your countrymen... Gerda is but a young girl when the war rolls into town, and yet she survives and adapts to even the most brutal treatment. Her story is haunting, full of memories and details that I will never forget, I am thankful she shared them. She writes with a voice devoid of hatred, and she reminded me how lucky I am to be alive and well and surrounded by those I love.
I know people who were friends with Gerda and Kurt. What remarkable people and story of pure endurance and perseverance. I read a lot of this time period and forever am deeply touched by the cruelty of humans to humans, but also the opposite. This story will stay with me always.
"An exellent listen"
This was a wonderful story of courage and stoicism and how the human spirit can endure. The author told her story with clarity and courage
"A beautifully related memoir"
Gerda Weissman Klein’s memoir of her life during World War II is harrowing to say the least. Separated from her loved ones, surrounded by fear and tragedy, Gerda’s life is turned upside down overnight and she faces years of anguish, pain and grief. Despite it all she retains an immense sense of what is right and fair, often putting the needs of others above her own and often putting her own life at risk in order to stand up for her principles.
Although the details given in Gerda’s account do not feel watered down by any means, you can’t help but think that even though her recollections are horrific, there’s much more that she has chosen not to share and can only be stunned by her bravery and determination. She loses everything – all but her life and her spirit.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the story is the advice Gerda is given by her father to wear her winter walking boots one day: advice that will prove to be lifesaving. If it had been a novel, it would have seemed like one of those quaint coincidences that ties a book together but knowing that this is an autobiographical tale actually makes this incredibly poignant. Even though I finished the book a couple of weeks ago, every time I think about it I remember those boots and how her father’s last piece of advice would be, literally, life-saving.
It is impossible for me to give All But My Life anything other than five stars. This is a beautifully related memoir: despite the overwhelming sense of tragedy and pain, Gerda’s will to survive and determination to keep not only herself going but others as well is utterly heart-wrenching. Although I have never been a huge fan of autobiographies, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this. It is a story that must be told and it is a time that we must never, ever forget.
"All But My Life"
Heart wrenching true story well worth listening to About the forced harsh labour on a young Jewish girl during the Nazi Regime. Remarkable
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