I’ve read some cruel books lately. I read a lot of different books – thrillers, fiction, I love non-fiction books and I read books with subjects I don’t understand, because I’m curious. Once I read a book about anorexia and another about a man who had a sex change operation, because I don’t understand it. I am and will always be interested in Holocaust, because it is so cruel and the strangest thing that has ever happened and it must NEVER happen again. Therefore, we have to read books about it and therefore I recommend two books (one of them unfortunately only in Danish), because we must NEVER forget:
“The Last Jew of Treblinka: A Memoir” is written by Chil Rajchman, who as a 29 year old was sent to the extermination camp Treblinka. He has never told his family about it, but after his death some years ago, the successors found a manuscript with his memories. Rajchman survived gassing by pretending he was a “hair dresser”, he cut off the hair of the women before they were gassed. Later he pretended he was a “dentist”, he pulled out artificial teeth from the dead. Rajchman survived ten month in the camp and escaped after a revolt where only 57 out of 300 survived. An expert has judged that approximately 900,000 died in Treblinka, but today that number is judged to be way too low. About 1,500,000 is judged to be much more realistic.
This book is very different from other Holocaust books, because it is the captive’s own words and not an interview book written by a journalist. Chil has written his memories right after his escape and I guess it was his way to get rid of the horrible memories. I can promise you that this is the most cruel, horrible and disgusting book you have ever read and will ever read. It is so incredible horrible that I did not get any pictures in my head. It is so surreal that I cannot imagine anything - my luck, because I don’t think I would have slept for 14 days after.
The other book is an interview book about Arlette Levy Andersen’s year (yes, a year) I Auschwitz. It is only in Danish and is titled “The Girl from Auschwitz”. By coincidence I saw her on TV and was immediately sold, I simply had to read that book. Arlette is French, a lovely elderly lady, who finally tells about her past.
Arlette Levy Andersen lived a year in the extermination camps Birkenau and Auschwitz at the end of WWII. For 40 years she did not tell even her own Jewish family what happened from she was arrested by Gestapo at a French university till she in May 1945 came home by train to Paris, where her parents picked her up.
In the book she opens up to the cruel experiences, because she feels she has to. “Soon there will not be anymore left to tell what happened.” as she says. It was that sentence I heard on TV and was sold. In the book Arlette tells about her childhood in Paris, the arrest, the deportation in cattle truck, and her stay in the extermination camps. After the liberation, Arlette travels to Denmark to study and falls in love with a Danish man, whom she later marries and thereby becomes Danish herself.
It is also very worth reading. It is much more quiet than Chil’s book, but it is still cruel. Since it is written by a journalist it includes are much more facts. I would love to hear her speech about her past.
But now I really need to read some superficial chicklit.