cover image Road to Auschwitz: Fragments of a Life

Road to Auschwitz: Fragments of a Life

Hedi Fried. University of Nebraska Press, $24.95 (190pp) ISBN 978-0-8032-6893-7

In March 1944, ""Hungary was occupied by the Germans, and a few days later all Jews were ordered to wear the yellow star. In April we were gathered into ghettos, and in May we were transported."" And then Hedi Fried and other Jews from the village of Sighet were sent to Auschwitz. After more than 40 years of silence, Fried, with the help of her able translator, Holocaust historian Meyer, tells the harrowing tale of her descent into the Nazi hell of Auschwitz. What begins so episodically, in scene after scene of fondly remembered family customs and adolescent stirrings, evolves into a tale of tragedy and heroism as Fried struggles to save her sister and friends from Auschwitz's ovens. Benefiting from its simple diction and effective use of metaphor, the tale has quiet, but very real power. While there is no lack of emotion, Fried studiously avoids histrionics. The grim facts of Fried's story provide all the moral outrage one needs, as her mother, father, friends and fellow Jews are systematically killed by disease, exhaustion, malnutrition and gassing. But Fried's tale is not solely one of suffering. She is a survivor, and this is a testimony to the ingenuity and luck that contributed to her survival and that of her sister and friends. As Fried reminds us: ""We must tell of this inhuman thing that was done in the twentieth century. It must not be forgotten."" (Oct.)