TRANSLATED FROM THE ITALIAN BY GABRIELLA ROMANI AND DAVID YANOFF
Drawing on the remarkable events of her own life, renowned author and Holocaust survivor Edith Bruck tells the story of Ditke, a young Jewish girl living in Hungary during World War II.
In 1944, twelve-year-old Ditke, her parents, and her siblings are forced out of their home by the Nazis and sent to a series of concentration camps, including Auschwitz and Dachau. Miraculously surviving the war with one of her sisters, but losing her parents and a brother, Ditke begins a tortuous journey—first back to Hungary, where she knows she doesn’t belong, and then to Israel. There, she holds various jobs before she leaves with a dance troupe, touring Turkey, Switzerland, and Italy. In Italy she finds a home, at last, and a small measure of peace; there, too, she falls in love and marries.
Writing as herself, Edith Bruck closes Lost Bread by addressing a letter to God expressing her rejection of hatred, her love for life, and her hope never to lose her memory or ability to continue speaking for those who perished in the Nazi concentration camps. After the book’s publication in Italy, Pope Francis visited Bruck and thanked her for bearing witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust.
PRAISE FOR EDITH BRUCK'S BOOKS:
Shortlisted for the Strega Prize 2021 (Italy)
Winner, Strega Youth Prize 2021 (Italy)
“Lost Bread is Edith Bruck’s ‘long poem written by life,’ a minimalist fable that deftly distills the vileness of the Holocaust into heart-wrenching observations and moments that dance precariously between horror and hope. Writing in her adopted language—Italian—Bruck sheds the misery her native Hungarian tongue fated her to, allowing Bruck to find sense in survival, if not in her prior destiny. She finally speaks her name, makes peace with God, and graces our world with the gift of powerful, needful witness testimony, wielding prose honed as sharp as a diamond that cuts. A stunning addition to the Holocaust cannon.”
—Tara Lynn Masih, author of My Real Name Is Hanna (A National Jewish Book Awards Finalist)
“Written with the emotional honesty and intimate authenticity that only a Holocaust survivor can claim, Edith Bruck’s Lost Bread is a remarkable testimony to the author’s human spirit and the blossoming of life after the Holocaust. Beginning in a small village in Hungary, Bruck tells the story of Ditke’s unlikely survival through a ghetto and concentration camps before claiming and creating a new life in Israel and Italy. Lost Bread is a beautifully crafted, urgent novel that achieves the highest goals of Holocaust fiction: to leave the reader with more compassion and understanding for survivors of the Shoah. An unforgettable, triumphant account. ”
—Anna Salton Eisen, author of Pillar of Salt: A Daughter's Life in the Shadow of the Holocaust and The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir (A National Jewish Book Awards Finalist)
“All Edith Bruck’s life’s work is a testimony, and ultimately the extreme, desperate, word-filled effort to make the incomprehensible comprehensible.”
—Corriere della Sera Sette (Italy) on Lost Bread
"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 on Who Loves You Like This
"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 on Who Loves You Like This
Edith Bruck is the author of more than twenty books, both prose and poetry, devoted to her life-long commitment to Holocaust testimony, starting with Who Loves You Like This (1959, Italian edition; 2001, English edition, Paul Dry Books). Her books have been translated into many languages including English, French, German, Dutch, Polish, Hungarian, and Hebrew. She lives in Rome.
Gabriella Romani is Professor of Italian at Seton Hall University. With Brenda Webster she translated Edith Bruck’s Letter to My Mother (2006) and Enrico Castelnuovo’s The Moncalvos (2017). She is from Rome and now lives in Philadelphia.
David Yanoff is an attorney and author from Philadelphia.