But You Did Not Come Back

But You Did Not Come Back

Book - 2016
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A breathtakingly beautiful memoir by a survivor of Auschwitz-Birkenau and an astonishing addition to the library of literature on the Holocaust

Marceline Loridan-Ivens was just fifteen when she was arrested along with her father in the Vichy-ruled part of France. Her mother and siblings managed to escape arrest. On their arrival at the camps, the two were separated--her father sent to Auschwitz, she to the neighboring camp of Birkenau. The three kilometres that separated them were an insurmountable distance, and yet her father managed to send her a short note, addressed to "My darling little girl". In But You Did Not Come Back , Marceline writes a letter responding to the father she would never know as an adult, to the man whose death enveloped her whole life. As a documentary film-maker in the 1970s and '80s, working in China and Vietnam, Marceline ultimately found purpose in her life, but the loss of her father never diminished in its intensity. And now, as anti-Semitism resurfaces in many parts of the world, Loridan-Ivens's testimony is a haunting and challenging reminder of one of the worst crimes humanity has ever seen. It is a deeply affecting personal story of a woman whose life was shattered and gradually rebuilt, and an irrefutable example of how memory survives and shapes everything.

Publisher: Toronto : Penguin Random House Canada, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780670070114
Characteristics: 100 pages ;,19 cm
Additional Contributors: Perrignon, Judith - Author


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Oct 02, 2018

Considering I'd pledge to read no more holocaust-related books, this one was outstanding! Written from the perspective of a French Jewish girl of 12, put in Birgenau while her father was taken to Auschwitz--she tells her story from her 75+-year-old perspective. While almost everything was lost during her two years at Birgenau, she had to return to her former life. Living with the impact of the awful events (but no deeply-tragic accounting of every event) on her long life is what she's writing about. Well-worth reading this slim, translated from French, book.

Feb 25, 2017

This is a story with an interesting perspective. One thing I always take away from Holocaust memoirs is that something like this should never happen again. It's an atrocity that it happened once; lets never let it happen twice.
Marceline's story is poignant and touching. It's told from a different perspective, I found. We hear of families that are sent to the camps but what happens when, during the arrests, only part of the family goes to the camps and only one of them returns? How does that influence the person returning? And what about the other family members? How are their lives changed?
Another hard fact was that lives were irreplaceably changed. There is no coming back after the camps. One's outlook, perspective, thoughts and ideas are never the same. Life is changed forever.
A beautifully told account of one woman's struggle to find her way again.
Thank you, Marceline, for telling your story.

bickjd Apr 23, 2016

"The first things we lost were the feelings of love and sensitivity. You freeze inside so you don't die." -Page 13

Marceline Loridan-Ivens heartbreakingly recounts her teenage years spent in a Holocaust concentration camp. And how the loss of her father devastated her family, her ability to connect, and her sense of country.

Feb 03, 2016

This is an emotionally affecting book that will break your heart while you admire the strength and depth of the author. A cautionary tale for the present time and a tribute to those who survived.


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Jan 13, 2019

Page 95: "I'm eighty-six years old, twice the age you were when you died. I'm an elderly lady now. I'm not afraid to die, I don't panic. I don't believe in God, or that there's anything after death. I'm one of the 160 still alive out of the 2,500 who came back--76,500 French Jews were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Six million Jews died: in the camps, killed and thrown into mass graves, gassed, shot at point-blank range, massacred in the ghettos. Once a month, I have dinner with some friends who survived, we laugh together, even about the camp, in our own way."

Sad book about a teen-ager who was deported from France with her father. Her father died in the camp. Sad that Marceline Loriden-Ivens does not believe in God.

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