Helga Schneider was four when her mother suddenly abandoned her family in Berlin in 1941. This extraordinary memoir, praised across Europe, tells of a daughter's final encounter with her mother, who had left her family to become an SS guard at Auschwitz.
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The extraordinary memoir, praised across Europe, of a daughter's final encounter with her mother, a former SS guard at Auschwitz.
In 1941, in Berlin, Helga Schneider's mother abandoned her, her younger brother, and her father. Thirty years later-- when she saw her mother again for the first time-- Schneider discovered the shocking reason: Her mother had joined the Nazi SS and had become a guard in concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau and Ravensbrück, where she was in charge of a "correction" unit and responsible for untold acts of torture.
Nearly three more decades would pass before their second and final reunion, an emotional encounter at a Vienna nursing home, where her mother, then eighty-seven and unrepentant about her past, was ailing. Let Me Go is an extraordinary account of that meeting. Their conversation-- which Schneider recounts in spellbinding detail-- triggers childhood memories, and she weaves these into her account, powerfully evoking the misery of Nazi and postwar Berlin. Yet it is her internal struggle-- a daughter's sense of obligation colliding with the inescapable horror of what her mother has done-- that will stay with readers long after the book has ended.
Helga Schneider was born in 1937 in Steinberg, now in Poland, and spent her childhood in Berlin. When her mother left the family, she was brought up first by her stepmother and then in a boarding school. She has lived as a freelance writer for many years in Bologna, Italy.From the Back Cover:
Praise for Let Me Go
"For the duration of these pages, the old, mad Germany that we had thought dead comes to life again."-- J. M. Coetzee
"This stunning, profoundly evocative memoir is a bridge across time directly into the ongoing agonies of our confused, violent, searching hearts. A triumph of vivid art and emotional courage."-- Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt, Volumes 1 and 2
"Schneider packs a tremendous emotional punch into this brief but tremendously cathartic memoir."-- Booklist (starred review)
"The simple certainty of Schneider's pain, strength and intricate emotions resounds well after this story ends."-- Publishers Weekly
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Book Description William Heinemann Ltd, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. A slight tan to the page edges. Good condition is defined as: a copy that has been read but remains in clean condition. All of the pages are intact and the cover is intact and the spine may show signs of wear. The book may have minor markings which are not specifically mentioned. Most items will be dispatched the same or the next working day. Bookseller Inventory # mon0007838655
Book Description William Heinemann Ltd, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used; Good. Bookseller Inventory # BB00020619B
Book Description William Heinemann Ltd, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. Near fine jacket. Bookseller Inventory # 068264
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR003776442
Book Description Hardback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR002865591
Book Description William Heinemann Ltd, 2004. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. 1st Edition. pages age toned. My Mother and the SS. Bookseller Inventory # 000037
Book Description Heinemann, 2004. Book Condition: Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Fine. 149 pages, 1st UK Edition. Bookseller Inventory # 105742