Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Book Review: "Fragments of Isabella..."

*Fragments of Isabella: A Memoir of Auschwitz by Isabella Leitner and Irving A. Leitner

I began hunting for the adult books by this author after reading * The Big Lie* - a children's book which she wrote about her family's experiences during WW2. You can see my review of that book here.

This is a SHORT book. It's a POWERFUL book. It's a REAL book. It's a PAINFUL book. I feel it is IMPORTANT for the books written by holocaust survivors to remain in print...unfortunately, many are no longer in print. The words are carefully chosen. The author states that "each word in this book stands for one hundred other words that were too painful to express" and I got that sense as I read.

In 1939 Isabella's father left Germany to try to find a haven for his family. He helplessly watched WW2 engulf his country of Hungary while he fought for visas for his family. His wife and 6 children were eventually sent to Auschwitz. The mother and youngest sister were immediately selected by Mengele to die. The mother's last words to her children were "live". The struggled to live and survive and this book documents their struggle. In the end 4 of the 7 that were deported are reunited with the father.

I recommend this book, though it wasn't full of the hope and happy ending that say The Hiding Place has. I have unearthed the second adult book written by Mrs. Leitner and will read it soon. I'm hoping to find healing as she moves on through life. *Isabella: From Auschwitz to Freedom*, Published by Ex Libris is available from This is different from the other books in that it contains new materials plus the other two earlier books. This is the relevant title that is print. Available in hard cover or paperback. (I found the orginal two used).

I couldn't help comparing this book with Corrie ten Boom's book. This book was shorter and somehow more "vivid"....both relied on God for strength. Their relationships with God are different. Corrie relied heavily on her daily personal relationship with God to forgive her captors. This contrast was vividly seen in a retelling of a situation in 1975 where Isabella is surrounded by Germans of the age of her captors that remind her of one guard. I do NOT find fault - only point out that she was devastated and wanted revenge of some sort. Corrie encountered an actual guard who had beaten her and her sister...and was able to forgive. This whole time period boggles my mind. I'm amazed at the courage and strength of the survivors to live.

This was another spring reading thing book. I'm thinking of moving my list to the top of the blog until June so it's easier to find and mark books read....I'd like to figure out how to cross out books from the list. LOL


Jen said...

DeEtta, you can use strike tags to cross out the books. just put the word strike between the brackets, < . Don't forget to close the tags with a /.

I just turn the books I have already read to the color red.

Debbie said...

I just looked this up on my library system and they have both of these books and the children's one. I'm definitely writing this down as we will be doing TOG4 next year.

Thanks for the review.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Glad to hear they have them Debbie. I really enjoyed the two I've read.

DeEtta @ Courageous Joy said...

Jen - thanks for the tip....I'm doing RED for READ currently. LOL Probably easier.