We're Alive and Life Goes on

Eva Mandlova Roubickova, Author, Mandlova Roubickova, Author, Zaia Alexander, Translator Henry Holt & Company $16.95 (190p) ISBN 978-0-8050-5352-4
Born in 1921 to an affluent family in what is now the Czech Republic, the author was, in December 1941, among the first Jews to be deported from Prague to Theresienstadt. There she survives the war, all the while chronicling her experiences in workmanlike fashion. Attempting to master the cruel exigencies of the camp, she devotes more attention to day-to-day matters than to examining her extraordinary circumstances, and her reports reflect an understandable myopia: she reserves her wrath for cooks who give large portions to their friends (""It's scandalous what goes on in the kitchen""), not the Nazi officials. As an old-timer, she complains when transports to Poland are formed of other longtime prisoners while newly arrived children remain in camp (""That's not fair""), and her reactions to the transports demonstrate a heartbreaking credulity (""Poland couldn't be worse than here on the floor,"" she writes about an appallingly overcrowded barracks). Given the author's modest literary gifts, her diary is of interest chiefly for what can be extrapolated from it, but the brief endnotes here do not provide sufficient explanation or context. For those dedicated to learning more about the Holocaust, however, the author's perspective may be of value in piecing together an authentic view of life inside Theresienstadt. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
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