But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens

I don’t really know where to start with this book. I’m really pleased I read it, but it was really tough going, and very difficult to get through. There’s pain on every page, and in every word.

Marceline and her father were arrested together and taken to separate concentration camps just a few kilometres apart.

But they never saw each other again. As he’d predicted, Marceline survived the experience while he did not. This book is a letter from Marceline to her late father, and is the most moving book I’ve ever read.

She describes the horrors of the camps without sparing the reader many of the details.

I won’t go into too much detail here as it’s incredibly harrowing. Suffice to say, it’s awful.

Even so, I think one of the things I found most shocking about the book is the lack of support Marceline received from her family when she left the camp. She was reunited with her mother and siblings, but as they hadn’t experienced the camps they couldn’t understand what she was going through. Her mother seemed particularly unsympathetic – only urging her to live in the present not the past, and to put things behind her.

I think everyone should read this book, if only to prevent the horrors of the camps ever happening again.

But it is really difficult to get through despite being very short, and I’d think carefully about how resilient you’re feeling before starting it.

Review by Sarah

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