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)
This is an amazing account of a woman's life focusing on her family life and survival of the holocaust. Intelligent, driven and independent, she worked hard to provide for her family before the war and even harder during her years in the concentration camps. She was always thinking of ways to obtain more food, stay warmer, keep herself and her sister and friends together and safe. This is what kept them all alive. She remained kind and optimistic through it all. Which is really what struck me most about this extraordinary woman. A must read and the narrator is perfect!
When someone recounts something so horrific, I often find myself wanting to understand what it felt like to be in a situation I could not possibly comprehend. Even tough this was an emotional topic, this book was not about the author's emotion. It was a narrative that focused on the facts. Rather than taking away from the story, it allowed the facts to stand by themselves. IMO, most readers would be hard-pressed to listen to the matter-of-fact experiences and not feel complete shock. The juxtaposition between the lack of the emotion and extreme circumstances was unbelievably powerful. I have read many books and watched so many movies about Holocaust survivors. They have all been shocking. They have all left me with a feeling of confusion and awe at the depth to which some people will go to attain utter control and domination.
This book stood out- mainly for its lack of emotion. Viktor Frankl's Man's Search For Meaning stood out because it was a portrait of remarkable human resilience in the face of circumstances so horrific, those who have not experienced them can barely imagine being able to remain alive, let alone resilient. Frankl showed his reader a curious phenomenon; trauma can compel a person to actually reach beyond what they would have likely achieved in their lifetime otherwise. Instead of breaking, they not only recovered, but thrived.
In a similar way, this narrative stood out. It made me ask the question, "What does it take to survive something like a Holocaust?" This would be a good time to mention that I had a bit of an issue with the forward. Sara's cowriter said something along the lines of, Sara survived because she was stronger than other women who allowed themselves (in some way) to die. I certainly agree that it is one kind of strength to be able to shut off parts of yourself, feel distance, and endure. There is no question Sara was so very strong. But, I don't think it is weak to be aware of how horrific a situation is and die from a combination of torture and despair. I don't think it is weak to maybe have already been starving prior to capture and then die sooner because your body had less nutrition from the start (recall Sara ate very well right before capture because she was working for a woman who fed her workers well). It is not weak to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and get shot or hit by a bomb. It is not weak to drink the water and get sick from the water. It's not weak to take the bottom bunk because the top was full and get crushed to death at night. So much of it was luck. So, it seems unfair to characterize any woman or man who died in the camps as weak in some way. That said, it is interesting to try to figure out what factors contribute to extremely resilient individuals.
This book takes the reader from Sara's childhood, in which she begins to understand people's view of Jewish persons, through her capture and time in the camps, and beyond. A must read for anyone interested in the Holocaust.
narrator had just enough accent to require attention. well written , not overly emotional considering the subject . endurance and courage above all hope
I have read many books about the Holocaust, seen many films, and have visited the camps in Poland but this book has made an indelible impression at a very deep emotional level. Sara's memoir is the most comprehensive and complete story that I've ever read and encourage its reading to whomever has the desire to understand how it really was.
Never too busy for a good book!
This is not the first book I have read/listened to describing the horrors of the holocaust. It always amazes me to see how determined the victims were to survive such unimaginable, deplorable conditions. Although the story started out slowly, it became more and more intense the further you got into the book.. I thank the author for sharing all these events. Reliving them in a memoir could not have been an easy task..
The true story of a Holocaust survivor is told in such a way that you really do want to hear more. It isn't just a series of gruesome details, though there are some of those. Rather, it is a story of a young girl whose life was interrupted by 4 years of horror, yet she was strong and lively...and even somehow happy.
Although the writer vividly describes the bad, she equally tells of the beauty of family, love and spirit. Be sure to stick around for the epilogue. It's also very interesting.
The narration of this book made it so captivating and Wanda McCaddon made you feel you were right there with Sara in the Concentration Camps. This made me cry at the end and it was full of emotion, reality and horror.
I give this 4 stars only because it had a slow start, but keeping on with it I couldn't put it down.
Sara's Bravery and her ability to take care of her sister and friends in the concentration camp was so amazing. How she survived those horrible years, I can't imagine.
Don't miss this book.
Captivating, educational, emotional
Warm family scenesBrutality of her guardsDefying all odds to survive
One of the best I've heardAccent was engaging, endearing and believable Strength in her performance perfectly portrayed her character
Risking her life in the Raven-brook kitchen, at the spur of the moment, stealing potatoes for others
No other audible book has so moved and impacted me personally. Painful to listen to at times but gave me a new awareness of the barbaric conditions innocents endured at the hands of the Nazis.
You must read this. It's one of the best books I've ever read.
I'm interested in WWII books with a human interest angle, like The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. While Ms. Hannah's was historical fiction, The Seamstress was non-fiction. Seren (Sarah) Tuvel was taken prisoner by the Germans during the Holocaust. It is a powerful story that everyone should read.
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