All but My Life Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Life" by Gerda Weissmann Klein. In this book Gerda has narrated her ordeal during the Nazis regime and how she survived the holocaust and the death march. It is a highly emotional book, which narrates the horrors and sorrows faced by the survivors.

All But My Life"

Introduction classic of Holocaust literature, Gerda Weissmann Klein's celebrated chronicle tells the moving story of a young woman's six frightful years as a slave laborer of the Nazis and her miraculous liberation. All But My Life stands as the ultimate lesson in humanity, hope and friendship.

It is the unforgettable story of Gerda Weissmann Klein's six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty. From her comfortable home in Bielitz (present-day Bielsko) in Poland to her miraculous survival and her liberation by American troops -- including the man who was to become her husband -- in Volary, Czechoslovakia, in 1945, Gerda takes the reader on a terrifying journey.

All But My Life

All But My Life is a must-read book. This non-fiction story is about a young girl named Gerda Weissmann Klein, also the author, who lived during the Holocaust and World War II. She was born in Bielitz, a city in Poland. Gerda, a little girl, was sitting in her living room one day and she heard "Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler." She had never seen anyone in her town so afraid. Gerda noticed that signs started to appear everywhere. For example, No Jews or Dogs Allowed. Gerda was one of the innocent Jews that lived in her hometown.

First, the German police officers took her brother away. Then, the police officers made her mother, father, and her move into a basement. They had to gather up many things as possible and had to move down there. It was hard for them to gather up stuff because usually her dad was the strongest, but he could not pick much up. He could not pick much up because he suffered from a broken arm. Could you imagine gathering up all your life's precious things that you behold in a few minutes or you would be shot? Only the basement was the beginning.

The family was then transported to a ghetto where German soldiers ruled. There, Jews were divided into to groups of men and women. Children had to stay with their mothers if they told the SS man that they were an older age then they were. Gerda's dad went with the men to one concentration camp, while her mom and her went to another. Gerda's mom and her stayed into the same concentration camp for a while.

From that camp, she was separated from her mom and put a cart with people her own age. One of the people on the cart she knew was her best friend. She saw mostly everything a Holocaust revisionist would deny. She saw gas chambers, whips, people killed, people shot into their grave, some of them included her friends she made, and crematories. Gerda always prayed every night for the war to be over.

The story takes you from one concentration camp to the next where Gerda moves. Gerda's peaceful and pleasant childhood is shattered when Nazis march into Poland on September 3, 1939. Although the Weissmanns were permitted to live for a while in the basement of their home, they were eventually separated and sent to German labor camps. Over the next few years Gerda experienced the slow, inevitable stripping away of "all but her life." By the end of the war she had lost her parents, brother, home, possessions, and community; even the dear friends she made in the labor camps, with whom she had shared so many hardships, were dead.

Despite her horrifying experiences, Klein conveys great strength of spirit and faith in humanity. In the darkness of the camps, Gerda and her young friends manage to create a community of friendship and love. Although exposed of the essence of life, they were able to survive the barbarity of their captors. Gerda's beautifully written story gives an invaluable message to everyone. It gives an introduction to last century's terrible history of devastation and prejudice, yet offers hope that the effects of hatred can be overcome.

A lot can be learned from reading this book. A handful of German words can be learned too. There are lot of details about Germany's invasion and the rest of the war that was not known before. It informs about a part of Poland that Germany did not take over. "The part of Poland not officially incorporated into Greater Germany was commonly referred to as the Government (Klein)." It provides information about how fast Germany's invasion took place. "It took eighteen days, eighteen short days, to conquer Poland (Klein)." Before reading this book, I didn't know much about the camps the Germans housed Jews in. Of course I was aware of concentration camps like Auschwitz, but I knew nothing of the labor camps that Klein describes in her book. The first labor camp she is shipped to is "Bolkenhain" (Klein), a textile mill. She is later sent to "M rzdorf" (Klein), a factory of no given purpose, with horrible conditions. The last camp Gerda labored at was "Grunburg" (Klein), another textile plant, with conditions worse than before.

All but my life is a memoir about Gerda Weissmann experience of having to deal with being Jewish during the Holocaust. She grew up in Poland with her parents and brother Arthur in a small town called Bielitz. Gerda was 16 years old when the war with Germany started. She had to get used to a "not-so-normal" life. From her brother being sent to a camp to their family having to move into the basement of their own home, Gerda has to adapt to so many new things. Finally when they get settled into their new lives they get a letter from the German government telling them they have to move to a camp. Devastated, their family packs and then settles into their new "shack" they have to call home. A few days after getting used to the shack, they found out that Gerda's father was being sent to a camp and then day later Gerda and her mother get separated from each other and both sent to their own camps, never to see each other again.

All her life Gerda had relied on her parents for security. She never had to worry about working because her parents were taking care of their family. How in a new camp, all alone with just her best friend and many other Jewish girls her age, they all had to do everything the Germans told them to.

Gerda is one of the strongest girls I have ever read about. She has to go through so much throughout the whole book. She has to deal with leaving everyone in her family; after having to work in a Jewish camps run by the Germans, she has to walk miles after miles to Auschwitz. During her walk, the war ends and the Jewish survivor are all set free; Gerda meets her future husband while recovering from malnutrition. When she recovers, She and her husband move to the U.S. where she had to get used to being "free" for she had not been for so many years.

Gerda had to deal with so much and never gave up. She was so strong when everything else game up. One of her quotes from the book that always sticks out when I think of her book is "Now I have to live, because I am alone and nothing can hurt me anymore."

She lost everything, and when most people would give up she kept going. This was one of the things that made me enjoy this book. Gerda's ambition was amazing at times, and you just wanted to see what she might do next. The emotion that Gerda puts into this book made it a great book to read, It helps you understand what she was feeling at this time.

After finishing this book I felt I had a different feeling towards life. So many things I can do on a daily basis I take for granted. This book really showed me that the problems I thought I had aren't really problems at all. Gerda went through so much during this book and she still continued. Anything you want to do, you can do it if you believe in yourself.

So in conclusion I think this book is a very good book. I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in the Holocaust because although in may seem sad at times it gives you a whole different prospective on the word "Life."

Gerda's strong spirit, strength, and will to live kept this book from being a completely miserable read. In spite of hideous circumstances, Gerda never loses hope. After Author leaves, she manages to maintain composure and take care of her parents. Later when she is in Bolkenhain,…

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