Translated from the Italian by Thomas Kelso
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"Edith Bruck tells the story of the 'Lager' with the inherent strength of a wounded animal and in confronting the unbearable sadness of it closes the account and does not surrender to the void…Unforgettable testimony."—Primo Levi
"With a style both warm and spare, Edith Bruck recreates the hardships of her existence as a Jewish child in Hungary before the Holocaust, the horrors of her time in the camps, and the protracted pain and disorientation of her lonely return to 'normal' life after the war. Her readers will marvel at her ability to perceive good as well as evil in those who preyed upon her. This is a beautiful book."—Susan Zuccotti, author of The Italians and the Holocaust
Passover, 1944. Edith Bruck's family sits in a darkened kitchen isolated from the other villagers by the black cloth on the window, their poverty, and their Judaism. Her mother explains that the Germans have reached their Hungarian village—that they will soon have to endure more than the cries of "Jewstink" and the deprivations that have been their lot for months. The next morning twelve-year-old Edith is roused by shouts of "Wake up! Outside! Quickly! I give you five minutes, you animals!"
In this memoir, Bruck tells the story of her imprisonment in Auschwitz, Dachau, and Bergen-Belsen. She and her older sister endure almost untellable horrors, and hunger so savage that the author tells of ripping bread from another's teeth. The end of the war brings freedom but little security. With no parents and no home, she moves from country to country, from household to household, and from relationship to relationship. In search of peace she and other family members immigrate to Israel, but even there peace eludes her. Bruck avoids both sentimentality and cynicism; she sees with clarity and passion, learns what she needs to survive, and catalogs other lessons for future use. At the end of Who Loves You Like This, she leaves Israel for Rome, where she lives today. In another country and in a foreign language, she finds the words to describe her life—without homeland, family, or native language.
Edith Bruck has lived in Rome since 1954. She is the author of several novels, collections of short stories, and volumes of poetry. She writes for radio and television and has directed several films. Bruck's works—for which she has won numerous literary prizes—have been translated from the original Italian into Dutch, German, Swedish, and Hungarian.
Who Loves You Like This is Bruck's first work to be translated into English.