Amazing story and a book recommendation in one, so I thought I’d pass it along.
It’s about the diary of a young Jewish girl living in a major European city during the Nazi occupation of her country. Described as beautifully written and quite personal, it details her life and that of her family members leading up to their deportation to the death camps.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Anne Frank, right?
No, it’s Hélène Berr, the diary of whom has become an instant best-seller after its recent publication in France nearly 65 years after her death in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Comparisons to Anne Frank are inevitable. But while Frank detailed a life spent in hiding from the Nazis in her Amsterdam home, Berr tells a story of everyday life under the German occupation in Paris.
Before being sent away to die along with most of the rest of her family, she gave it to the family cook, who passed it along to Berr’s fiancé, who eventually gave it to Berr’s niece. After an editor noticed a group of girls gathered around a display case trying to read the diary at a Paris holocaust exhibition, the niece was approached with the idea of publishing, but it took another five years to come out in book form.
The book sold more than 26,000 copies in its first three days of sale in France. Rights had already been sold in 15 countries before the French publication, but an English translation is slated to come out only in September. I can’t wait that long, so I’m going to pick it up at Amazon.fr and hope to translate an extract or two over the coming weeks.
© 2008 lettershometoyou