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What is death all about? What is life all about?

So wonders thirteen-year-old Elli Friedmann as she fights for her life in a Nazi concentration camp. A remarkable memoir, I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a story of cruelty and suffering, but at the same time a story of hope, faith, perseverance, and love.

It wasn’t long ago that Elli led a normal life that included family, friends, school, and thoughts about boys. A life in which Elli could lie and daydream for hours that she was a beautiful and elegant celebrated poet.

But these adolescent daydreams quickly darken in March 1944, when the Nazis invade Hungary. First Elli can no longer attend school, have possessions, or talk to her neighbors. Then she and her family are forced to leave their house behind to move into a crowded ghetto, where privacy becomes a luxury of the past and food becomes a scarcity. Her strong will and faith allow Elli to manage and adjust, but what she doesn’t know is that this is only the beginning. The worst is yet to come...
Published: Simon Pulse on
ISBN: 9781439106617
List price: $7.99
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I wouldn't state that this was one of my favorite books that I have read recently about the Holocaust, but I would state it is the one that was able to draw out some emotions in myself. It reminded me of some of my own experiences in life, which helped me to understand this particular era in a more profound way than I had before reading it. I had to ultimately realize that the writing style of this book was geared towards a younger audience than myself because that was my main gripe with it that it felt like she was dumbing down certain aspects of her story and also she ended a lot of chapters overly dramatically, which caused one to question how she would deal with the tragedies she was sure to face later on in the book since one is usually aware that this is about the Holocaust and those horrible events.

While I didn't totally appreciate this particular book I do find myself wanting to read her other two books that deal with her life after this period. I feel that it would be fascinating to know what happened to her once she left the camp and also when she came to America. I am sure she had a vastly different perspective than we have currently in our society, so those will be interesting to read. This book is a good lead into those two other books, since not many books about the Holocaust deal with the effects of after it.

I believe Livia Bitton-Jackson created a book that would also be good for teachers that are trying to help students learn about this time period because the book contains two separate appendixes that are timelines. The first timeline is of the events in her own individual life and the second is a timeline of the events in World War 2. Then after these timelines there is a glossary of the terms that she uses in the book. The timelines specifically feel like a great educational resource because a teacher can utilize these to show how certain events in Bitton-Jackson's life goes against what is happening in the war at that particular point. I felt that this would be a great tool for educators.more
This book is definitely for an older audience (ages 14 and up) though the reading level is grade 5. The story of Elli L. Friedmann takes your breath away. It is a graphic and raw memoir told in the present-tense. Elli is 13 and experiences the Nazi invasion in Hungary in 1944. It is a year of torture, death and forced labor for Elli and her mom and brother. Luckily, they are liberated and come to the United States a year later. I like the way that Bitton-Jackson (who is also Elli) always has hope, despite the awful things she witnesses.This would be an excellent text to use during a history lesson about the holocaust.more
A graphic narrative describes what happens to a 13-year-old Jewish girl when the Nazis invade Hungary in 1944. Includes a brief chronology of the Holocaust. The author describes her experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.more
I’ve read my fair share of Holocaust memoirs but this is the one I will recommend to everyone. I was blown away by Elli Friedmann’s account of her unbelievable start to teenage life. She was only 13 when the Nazis invaded Hungary. The book is vivid and descriptive. There were one or two points where I actually had to close the book for a moment just to reflect on the suffering experienced.The memoir is a book unlike any I have ever read and will stay with me for life. I would go as far to say it would be in my top twenty books of all time. It is amazing that she lived to tell her tale and in fact it is quite unreal how many times she escapes immediate death. Her courage and determination is admirable and I felt humbled to be able to read such a devastating account of Occupation, Auschwitz and beyond.more
I'm in tears... Such a heartbreaking and remarkable story of survival.more
What sets Bitton-Jackson's Holocaust memoir apart from the others is that it is simultaneously poetic and graphic. Also, the entire book is written in the first-person which gives it a startling immediacy. It has garnered hundreds of deservedly glowing reviews, both here and on Amazon, so I won't take the trouble of summarizing it but the following sections hit me upside the head: Her short-lived joyful ethnic pride that she discovered in the Jewish ghetto: "For the first time in my life, I am happy to be a Jew . . . The cock-feathered policement who had trampled on our sofas and our self-esteem, the Gentile neighbors who were afraid to say good-bye, the Jancsi Novaks, the kind, gentle friends who have not attempted to send a note of synpathy, the peasant wagon drivers who dutifully accepted wages from us for delivering us to the enemy . . . they all are on the other side of the fence. A tall fence separates us. A world separates us because they do not understand. "But we, on this side of the fence, we understand. We put up sheets around bathtubs in the yard in order to take baths. We cook on open stoves, We stand in long lines for the toilet. No friendship or love binds as this deep, spontaneous, easy mutuality." The graphic description of concentration camp food, clearer than any I've read elsewhere: "I snatch the bread from Mommy's hand (she had refused to eat it) and begin to eat. The dry, mudlike lump turns into wet sand particles in my mouth. . . "When the bowl of food is handed to me, I am unable to take a gulp. It is a dark green, thick mass in a battered washbowl crusted with dirt. No spoons. You tilt the bowl until the mass slides to the edge, then gulp. The dark mush smells and looks repulsive. The edge of the bowl is rusty and cracked and uneven with dried-on smut. My nausea returns in a flash." And to add fodder to the eternal question of how much did war-time Germans outside the SS really know about the concentration camps, there is an interesting chapter titled "This Must be Heaven" in which some clearly astonished Wehrmacht officials running a Luftwaffe factory who have requested female laborers from Auschwitz don't recognize the arriving inmates as women, ask them where their luggage is (which causes much laughter among the inmates), and ask for their actual names. When one officer tells Bitton-Jackson's partially paralyzed mother not to worry, that "here you will get better. We will take good care of you" the daughter's response is "I am surely dreaming." A stunning Holocaust memoir, simultaneously poetic and graphic.more
Of all the Holocaust books I have read, this one I found the most intrigueing, as it was a 1st person narrative that fully conveyed the misery and emotional despair of this time period.more
Really difficult book to read because of content, although not as graphic as some. Reminiscent of Eli Wiesel's "Night" except daughter steps into parenting role and miraculously, mother, daughter and son end their concentration camp horror on the same train, in the same car and alive, although barely.Amazing story of courage and the strength of the soul.more
Supremely moving. This short but powerful book was supremely moving. I had doubts about the subject matter, whether it would be too horrific for me to continue, but the author maintained the perfect balance. I was left overawed that humans could treat each other so badly, yet humbled by the way Ellie managed to keep herself and her ailing mother alive against all the odds. Their story began with the German invasion of Budapest in 1944. Their business had already been confiscated and they were regularly harassed by the Hungarian authorities. Next, their valuables were taken and they had to wear an identifying yellow star which was also painted on the wall of their house. Finally, they were evicted to the ghetto at Nagymagyar, hundreds, cramped into tiny spaces with only the food they had brought with them, enclosed by guarded fencing. Ellie's beloved father was taken to a labour camp and the rest of the family was subsequently moved out to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. All children and the elderly were gassed, while women from 16 to 45 were sent to do hard labour. Ellie was advised to lie about being 14 and her blonde hair helped too. There follows a painful introduction into the gruelling life of the camp, food is scarce and standing in the cold awaiting roll call could take several hours. I was not aware that inmates moved about from camp to camp so much, but Ellie and her mother underwent a number of long journeys in train wagons, with no food or water for days, as they were shunted around between camps. This is an awe inspiring account of survival that I am so glad to have had the opportunity to read. I highly recommend this book to young adults and adults alike.more
I Have Lived a Thousand Years is Livia Bitton-Jackson's (born Elli Friedmann) memoir of growing up during the Holocaust. Her story begins as the Nazis invade Budapest. Shortly thereafter, Elli and her family are forced into a ghetto which then leads to their imprisonment and forced labor in a seemingly endless litany of concentration camps. Aimed more at a young adult audience, I Have Lived a Thousand Years is written in a present-tense first person style that is reminiscent of a girl's diary. Though it may be aimed a younger audience, it doesn't gloss over the painful details of a childhood lived under the impossible cruelty of the Nazis, though it doesn't always give quite as many vivid details as others I've read. Somehow, though, it is not the most violent and tortuous situations that leave the biggest impression but the more understated moments, like the image of Elli running barefoot outside realizing she didn't get to say good-bye to her father, possibly for the last time, or the sound of the old men in the ghetto constantly chanting the Psalms in the days after the younger men are taken away.The conundrum of reviewing the Holocaust memoir is that you can't. I can't very well sit and say "I enjoyed this or that," but Bitton-Jackson's memories are vivid and well-told. After the first few chapters, the writing flows easily and for a story of such painful events, it is surprisingly difficult to put down. Even though I've read my fair share of Holocaust memoirs, I was staggered by many of Elli's experiences not least the sheer amount of places she and her mother are taken by train to do forced labor over a relatively short period of time. The only minor quibble I could make with the writing is that the most dramatic language seems to arrive well before the most dramatic events. The narrative, well before the family is experiencing ghettos and concentration camps, is peppered with "Oh my Gods" and "Will I ever...?" that seem to indicate extensive foreknowledge which seems a bit overblown in a book that is written from a present tense perspective and an unnecessary effort to create drama. Soon, though, the events change to suit the language. While the writing continues in the same way, the drama and tragedy are totally real and well-suited to the language, and there is no longer a need for it to be manufactured by portentous language.more
A very good book about growing up in the Holocaust. Very good for young readers.more
It's a great book, and you learn a lot about the Holocaust. Although, sometimes it can become dry. You get sucked into the book once they enter the Concentration Camps and her mother gets seperated from her.more
The author tells the story of how she survived the concentration camps. Excellent book.more
Very inspirational more
Really not very good. The writing shows some flashes of cleverness, but this was a really weak book. It was close to being pornography (seriously). What the heroine did was totally unbelievable to me. The romance didn't even seem to really add up. At least it was short.more
Read all 16 reviews

Reviews

I wouldn't state that this was one of my favorite books that I have read recently about the Holocaust, but I would state it is the one that was able to draw out some emotions in myself. It reminded me of some of my own experiences in life, which helped me to understand this particular era in a more profound way than I had before reading it. I had to ultimately realize that the writing style of this book was geared towards a younger audience than myself because that was my main gripe with it that it felt like she was dumbing down certain aspects of her story and also she ended a lot of chapters overly dramatically, which caused one to question how she would deal with the tragedies she was sure to face later on in the book since one is usually aware that this is about the Holocaust and those horrible events.

While I didn't totally appreciate this particular book I do find myself wanting to read her other two books that deal with her life after this period. I feel that it would be fascinating to know what happened to her once she left the camp and also when she came to America. I am sure she had a vastly different perspective than we have currently in our society, so those will be interesting to read. This book is a good lead into those two other books, since not many books about the Holocaust deal with the effects of after it.

I believe Livia Bitton-Jackson created a book that would also be good for teachers that are trying to help students learn about this time period because the book contains two separate appendixes that are timelines. The first timeline is of the events in her own individual life and the second is a timeline of the events in World War 2. Then after these timelines there is a glossary of the terms that she uses in the book. The timelines specifically feel like a great educational resource because a teacher can utilize these to show how certain events in Bitton-Jackson's life goes against what is happening in the war at that particular point. I felt that this would be a great tool for educators.more
This book is definitely for an older audience (ages 14 and up) though the reading level is grade 5. The story of Elli L. Friedmann takes your breath away. It is a graphic and raw memoir told in the present-tense. Elli is 13 and experiences the Nazi invasion in Hungary in 1944. It is a year of torture, death and forced labor for Elli and her mom and brother. Luckily, they are liberated and come to the United States a year later. I like the way that Bitton-Jackson (who is also Elli) always has hope, despite the awful things she witnesses.This would be an excellent text to use during a history lesson about the holocaust.more
A graphic narrative describes what happens to a 13-year-old Jewish girl when the Nazis invade Hungary in 1944. Includes a brief chronology of the Holocaust. The author describes her experiences during World War II when she and her family were sent to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.more
I’ve read my fair share of Holocaust memoirs but this is the one I will recommend to everyone. I was blown away by Elli Friedmann’s account of her unbelievable start to teenage life. She was only 13 when the Nazis invaded Hungary. The book is vivid and descriptive. There were one or two points where I actually had to close the book for a moment just to reflect on the suffering experienced.The memoir is a book unlike any I have ever read and will stay with me for life. I would go as far to say it would be in my top twenty books of all time. It is amazing that she lived to tell her tale and in fact it is quite unreal how many times she escapes immediate death. Her courage and determination is admirable and I felt humbled to be able to read such a devastating account of Occupation, Auschwitz and beyond.more
I'm in tears... Such a heartbreaking and remarkable story of survival.more
What sets Bitton-Jackson's Holocaust memoir apart from the others is that it is simultaneously poetic and graphic. Also, the entire book is written in the first-person which gives it a startling immediacy. It has garnered hundreds of deservedly glowing reviews, both here and on Amazon, so I won't take the trouble of summarizing it but the following sections hit me upside the head: Her short-lived joyful ethnic pride that she discovered in the Jewish ghetto: "For the first time in my life, I am happy to be a Jew . . . The cock-feathered policement who had trampled on our sofas and our self-esteem, the Gentile neighbors who were afraid to say good-bye, the Jancsi Novaks, the kind, gentle friends who have not attempted to send a note of synpathy, the peasant wagon drivers who dutifully accepted wages from us for delivering us to the enemy . . . they all are on the other side of the fence. A tall fence separates us. A world separates us because they do not understand. "But we, on this side of the fence, we understand. We put up sheets around bathtubs in the yard in order to take baths. We cook on open stoves, We stand in long lines for the toilet. No friendship or love binds as this deep, spontaneous, easy mutuality." The graphic description of concentration camp food, clearer than any I've read elsewhere: "I snatch the bread from Mommy's hand (she had refused to eat it) and begin to eat. The dry, mudlike lump turns into wet sand particles in my mouth. . . "When the bowl of food is handed to me, I am unable to take a gulp. It is a dark green, thick mass in a battered washbowl crusted with dirt. No spoons. You tilt the bowl until the mass slides to the edge, then gulp. The dark mush smells and looks repulsive. The edge of the bowl is rusty and cracked and uneven with dried-on smut. My nausea returns in a flash." And to add fodder to the eternal question of how much did war-time Germans outside the SS really know about the concentration camps, there is an interesting chapter titled "This Must be Heaven" in which some clearly astonished Wehrmacht officials running a Luftwaffe factory who have requested female laborers from Auschwitz don't recognize the arriving inmates as women, ask them where their luggage is (which causes much laughter among the inmates), and ask for their actual names. When one officer tells Bitton-Jackson's partially paralyzed mother not to worry, that "here you will get better. We will take good care of you" the daughter's response is "I am surely dreaming." A stunning Holocaust memoir, simultaneously poetic and graphic.more
Of all the Holocaust books I have read, this one I found the most intrigueing, as it was a 1st person narrative that fully conveyed the misery and emotional despair of this time period.more
Really difficult book to read because of content, although not as graphic as some. Reminiscent of Eli Wiesel's "Night" except daughter steps into parenting role and miraculously, mother, daughter and son end their concentration camp horror on the same train, in the same car and alive, although barely.Amazing story of courage and the strength of the soul.more
Supremely moving. This short but powerful book was supremely moving. I had doubts about the subject matter, whether it would be too horrific for me to continue, but the author maintained the perfect balance. I was left overawed that humans could treat each other so badly, yet humbled by the way Ellie managed to keep herself and her ailing mother alive against all the odds. Their story began with the German invasion of Budapest in 1944. Their business had already been confiscated and they were regularly harassed by the Hungarian authorities. Next, their valuables were taken and they had to wear an identifying yellow star which was also painted on the wall of their house. Finally, they were evicted to the ghetto at Nagymagyar, hundreds, cramped into tiny spaces with only the food they had brought with them, enclosed by guarded fencing. Ellie's beloved father was taken to a labour camp and the rest of the family was subsequently moved out to the concentration camp at Auschwitz. All children and the elderly were gassed, while women from 16 to 45 were sent to do hard labour. Ellie was advised to lie about being 14 and her blonde hair helped too. There follows a painful introduction into the gruelling life of the camp, food is scarce and standing in the cold awaiting roll call could take several hours. I was not aware that inmates moved about from camp to camp so much, but Ellie and her mother underwent a number of long journeys in train wagons, with no food or water for days, as they were shunted around between camps. This is an awe inspiring account of survival that I am so glad to have had the opportunity to read. I highly recommend this book to young adults and adults alike.more
I Have Lived a Thousand Years is Livia Bitton-Jackson's (born Elli Friedmann) memoir of growing up during the Holocaust. Her story begins as the Nazis invade Budapest. Shortly thereafter, Elli and her family are forced into a ghetto which then leads to their imprisonment and forced labor in a seemingly endless litany of concentration camps. Aimed more at a young adult audience, I Have Lived a Thousand Years is written in a present-tense first person style that is reminiscent of a girl's diary. Though it may be aimed a younger audience, it doesn't gloss over the painful details of a childhood lived under the impossible cruelty of the Nazis, though it doesn't always give quite as many vivid details as others I've read. Somehow, though, it is not the most violent and tortuous situations that leave the biggest impression but the more understated moments, like the image of Elli running barefoot outside realizing she didn't get to say good-bye to her father, possibly for the last time, or the sound of the old men in the ghetto constantly chanting the Psalms in the days after the younger men are taken away.The conundrum of reviewing the Holocaust memoir is that you can't. I can't very well sit and say "I enjoyed this or that," but Bitton-Jackson's memories are vivid and well-told. After the first few chapters, the writing flows easily and for a story of such painful events, it is surprisingly difficult to put down. Even though I've read my fair share of Holocaust memoirs, I was staggered by many of Elli's experiences not least the sheer amount of places she and her mother are taken by train to do forced labor over a relatively short period of time. The only minor quibble I could make with the writing is that the most dramatic language seems to arrive well before the most dramatic events. The narrative, well before the family is experiencing ghettos and concentration camps, is peppered with "Oh my Gods" and "Will I ever...?" that seem to indicate extensive foreknowledge which seems a bit overblown in a book that is written from a present tense perspective and an unnecessary effort to create drama. Soon, though, the events change to suit the language. While the writing continues in the same way, the drama and tragedy are totally real and well-suited to the language, and there is no longer a need for it to be manufactured by portentous language.more
A very good book about growing up in the Holocaust. Very good for young readers.more
It's a great book, and you learn a lot about the Holocaust. Although, sometimes it can become dry. You get sucked into the book once they enter the Concentration Camps and her mother gets seperated from her.more
The author tells the story of how she survived the concentration camps. Excellent book.more
Very inspirational more
Really not very good. The writing shows some flashes of cleverness, but this was a really weak book. It was close to being pornography (seriously). What the heroine did was totally unbelievable to me. The romance didn't even seem to really add up. At least it was short.more
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