Sunday, October 19, 2008

Review: Scheisshaus Luck by Pierre Berg

genre: Holocaust memoir
rating: 4/5

It doesn't matter how many Holocaust memoirs I read, I am always amazed by the fact that the human spirit can withstand so much and still survive. Scheisshaus Luck provides a new perspective - that of Pierre Berg, an 18 year old from France who was involved with the Maquis (the French Resistance) and ended up spending time in Auschwitz.

Pierre glosses over nothing. His experiences give depth to the inhumane treatment of all prisoners in death camps. Part of this story were almost more than I could handle - and like I mentioned, I've read many memoirs. I needed my strong stomach when I read about the treatment and conditions that Pierre had to endure. I think part of what made this book feel darker than others is the fact that, since Pierre was an atheist, he had no faith in God or some higher being to turn to when things were at their worst. To Pierre, it was all luck, so there are few, if any, passages of beauty found in hardship or faith.

In his opinion, bad luck sent him on that first train ride East and that landed him with horrible duties in the camps. And it was only good luck when over and over again random events would transpire to enable him to survive another day. One thing he did recognize was that a friend, even one good friend, was enough to provide the hope and support one needed to get out of bed each day.

This book is not for the faint of heart. There are images in my mind, still, that horrify me. And yet - memoirs like this one serve an important purpose, and as trite as it sounds, it's absolutely true: they convince us that events like the Holocaust must never happen again.

8 comments:

Sandra said...

I requested an ARC of this at LibrayThing recently. I didn't get it but I did get another book, so I can't complain. I would still like to read this one. Thank you for reviewing it.

bermudaonion said...

I know books like these are important, but I have to be in the right mood to read them.

Veens said...

Good review :)
And I need to get my hands on it too!

michellekae said...

Thanks for the review. I love reading reviews so I can add to my neverending TBR pile. On my blog there is a link for a book giveaway for Anne Frank Remembered. Check it out!

Heather said...

I admire your fortitude in being able to digest so many books on such a harrowing subject. I'm definitely one of those "faint of heart." :)

Trish said...

"It doesn't matter how many Holocaust memoirs I read, I am always amazed by the fact that the human spirit can withstand so much and still survive." I remember thinking this when I read Night last year. Even though these books are horrifying, I do think they need to be read and remembered. Thanks for the review!

Anna said...

I'm always looking to read books about WWII and the Holocaust. I'm definitely going to read this one. I agree with what you said about the human spirit at the beginning of your review. I think this every time I read a Holocaust story.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Anna said...

I've linked to your review here on War Through the Generations.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

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