Friday, April 13, 2012

I Have Lived A Thousand Years

I Have Lived A Thousand Years: 
Growing Up In the Holocaust

by Livia Bitton-Jackson (1997)

Not an easy book to read.  And they all shouldn't be easy, should they?  A 13 year old Jewish girl and her family are forced into ghettos, labor camps, and concentration camps under Nazi Germany.  The point is made very clear that it is a daily miracle any of them survived the inhumane treatment.  Strong story of will, of family, of caring for others and not allowing oneself to be changed or beaten by a terrible ordeal.

The degrading violence and personal humiliations are not white washed, the facts of daily conditions in the camps are clearly presented.  Great opportunities for a variety of lessons across the curriculum.  I remember visiting a camp, Dachau I think, when I was 11 or 12, and the strongest memory I have is how small and cramped the sleeping areas were, how little room there was between the bunk levels. Still very clear to me 30+ years later.

While I think it's important for children to be aware of the Holocaust and of similar historical and current events, I don't think I'd introduce a book this frank and real until 6 or 7th grade.  Having the students/readers the same age as the author when she lived through these horrors could be more personal and powerful.

And now I want to go read The Book Thief again.


Subjective Reads Blog said...

If you liked that book you should read Man's Search for Meaning by Viktos Frankl. It’s a most wonderful book about his life in concentration camps - a psychologist who lost everything and everybody he loved, but managed to survive and actually managed to find some sense and meaning in his suffering. It’s a short, but life changing story that he wrote in just two days, but which changed the way I look at my life. I recommend the newest editions with his additional comments on the new techniques he uses in therapy and helps people find the meaning of their existence. Really, this book is a must.

Joel said...

I'll put that one on the list, thanks!