Audie Award Winner, Biography and Memoir, 2013
Told with the same old-fashioned narrative power as the novels of Herman Wouk, The Seamstress is the true story of Seren (Sara) Tuvel Bernstein and her survival during wartime. This powerful eyewitness account of survival, told with power and grace, will stay with listeners for years to come.
©1999 Sara Tuvel Bernstein (P)2011 Tantor
"There are many recent accounts of Holocaust victims, but this work stands alone as a testimony to personal strength and an independent spirit." (Library Journal)
My grandfather had a premonition and fled Germany before the war. My mother was ten when they emigrated to the United States. Our family lost a lot of family and friends.
When I listened to this memoir Wanda McCaddon's voice brought back memories of my grandmother's voice. My grandmother taught me to sew.
This is a truly riveting story of one woman and her family's survival during the Hitler regime. I've read a lot about the war. I have to keep reading about it. It's part of the fabric of my people. This history must be kept alive.
I am a seamstress and sewed the whole time I listened to this audiobook. My latest quilt got wet from all the tears I shed listening to Sara Turvel's story. I'm so glad she had her story finally published.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
I gained an education on many levels while listening to this incredible book, one of the most descriptive accounts of life in concentration camps that I have ever read/heard. First of all, I did not know about Romania's involvement in WWII and that it joined with the Axis countries in the war (Germany, Japan, Italy). The persecution of the Jewish people began long before the war as young Seren and her siblings were routinely called "dirty jews" by their school mates, and it was ignored and accepted by her parents, who felt blissfully safe in Romania . . . even as the years, months and days grew near to the German invasion. I also first learned about the Hungarian invasion of Romania (near the border in Transylvania) from listening to The Seamstress. I was stunned to learn that part of Romania was split off from the rest and actually was reclaimed by Hungary, as Seren had to flee from Bucharest to her home near Transylvania, only to find it was surrounded by border guards. She got in. That was Seren. DETERMINED. She took the skills she had learned as a seamstress in Bucharest with her to Budapest, Hungary, where her blue eyes and light colored hair did not automatically mark her as a Jew. I never knew that Hungary was an Axis nation either until I listened to this book. Following Seren's journey from Romania to Hungary and then to Auschwitz in Germany, I was totally engrossed in her story. In telling it to her daughter-in-law, her biggest regret was the waste of all those years . . . not anger or bitterness . . . but what she could have done with her life if she'd had those years back. Oh, but what she DID for her sister, her future family, herself and for all humanity in surviving and LIVING through one of the darkest times in history.
An incredible story of a survivor both of the holocaust and post-war Germany. And one of the most moving depictions of how the events unfolded that convinced the Jewish people to pack their valuables peacefully and surrender. There is a point in the book when Sara and her sisters dig in the dirt for tiny grass roots to eat and another where they risk their lives to steal a radish. And, you feel a small glimpse of what it must be like to experience true hunger.... I cried. I was outraged and ultimately uplifted by this one woman's courage to want to live and to do her work.
I've just gotten hooked on audio book this last year & I love them. Now I can "read" a book & do other things like walk or hobbies.
yes, because the narrator was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and she could read it better to me than I could ever read it to myself!
I guess it would be the end of the war right before the rescue
her great voice and enthusiasm and expression
she gives the main character a personality and spunk
This book was published after the author died and I just wish she knew how many peoples lives she has touched with her writing. She had so much hope and endurance and positive attitude in the middle of a nightmare. She also went on and didn't dwell on her nightmare. She actually had a good life afterwards.
Obviously, this type of book isn't for everyone, because, even if you're generally interested, it can weigh you down a bit. I devoured it in a short time, but even then, took a few breaks just to lighten my mood. That being said, it isn't horrible in terms of violence or extreme scenes, and overall is uplifting. I really would hope it would get more coverage, because the story and the treatment of it both wonderful. The writer (or writers, more precisely) kept just the right emotional tone, where what has to be dealt with, whatever it is in the story, is being dealt with, just as you would experience it firsthand, if it were you. One forgets that at every stage in the increasing horrors that happened under the Nazis, those experiencing them only dealt with what was in front of their eyes at that moment, with no context that we have now in hindsight. More than most books of this genre, this seems to allow you to feel the moment to moment reality yourself in a way that is very engaging and satisfying. That was part of the message of the book, really, that each relationship we have, each person in themselves, is valuable, which is the essential horror of the holocaust that for that time and for those people, they rejected that concept in such a profound way.
This book contains some real nice hidden gems. I ordered the paper version when I finished. read it! Your life will be enhanced.
Wanda McCaddon. I agree with other readers. This is the best account of life in the camps I have read. Whether it was the fact that it was from a female perspective or that love features so heavily in Sara's tale, I don't know whether it would have touched me quite as much if I had read it or it'd had another narrator. When ever I started listening, I became lost in the story, and I find that happens with all of Wanda's narrations.
The behaviour of the Auschwitz survivors in the hospital after liberation. It brought home how ferociously these human beings had had to fight for their own survival. How long did it take for them to trust other human beings again?
Yes. The usual fabulousness.
Not laugh nor cry but certainly sadness and relief.
I started listening again as soon as I'd finished it.
Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy
The holocaust period certainly brought out the very worst in very many people. However, it also brought out the very best in others, Seren Tuval, in particular. What made this story so listenable and wonderful was Seren's personality. She exhibited such strength, such compassion, such intelligence, and such hope. There was never any question in her mind that she might not survive. There was never a moment that she felt sorry for herself. Her optimism and strength is something for us all to emulate or aspire toward.
The narrator is simply amazing and actually became Seren in my mind. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job of a narration. She nailed it perfectly.
This is a very intense story. Yet, you can come away from it with a good feeling. I am not sure how that can be, but it is true. Don't be afraid to read another holocaust story. This one is very special. For myself, I will remember this book for a long time. I am so glad I got to know Seren's story!
Yes. It is the story of an unassuming young woman who, despite all the odds, survived one of the deadliest camps in Germany. It is written in such a wayt that you are amazed at her endurance, but she is portrayed as a human, not a heroine.
Saran, Joseph, Ellen and Esther
She had a slight eastern European accent. I know she is British, but her narration is understated and frank without being flat. I did not like her "American" accent in the end of the book, but other than that it was a great read.
Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.
I love books that are written in first person. Not long after you start listening you feel one with the author. The simplicity and matter of fact analysis of the author's account seem simple at first, yet are very rich and profound, once you think about them.
There was no particular moment I would pick, but the way Sara handled and acted in different situations was remarkable, somewhat unexpected, witty and shaped and saved some of the lives of those that met her.
I got this book on sale, but it's worth a credit. Yes, it is a Holocaust story, but what I liked most about it was that Sara did not seem bitter and hateful. She ended up being the master of her destiny - in a worldly sense.
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