Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
A rediscovered masterpiece: an unblinking view of the Holocaust through a child’s eyes
Told from the perspective of a child slowly awakening to the atrocities surrounding him, Childhood is a searing story of the Holocaust that no reader will soon forget. As five-year-old Jona waits with his mother and father to emigrate from Nazi-occupied Amsterdam to Palestine, they are awakened at night, put on a train, and eventually interred in the camps at Bergen-Belsen. There, what at first seems to be a merely dreary existence soon reveals itself to be one of the worst horrors humanity has ever created. A triumph of heartrending clarity and dispassionate amazement, Childhood stands tall alongside such monuments of Holocaust literature as The Diary of Anne Frank, Elie Wiesel’s Night, and Primo Levi’s Survival in Auschwitz.
Remember the train? No, angel, maybe not. You were too sleepy. “It’s too bad they made this mistake. But we’ll be home again in a few days.” Somebody shouted shhh. My mother whispered so close to my ear that it tickled. “Go to sleep now. I’m right here, I won’t go away. Tomorrow we’ll take a look at our camp, and in a few days we’ll go home to Daddy.” She gave me a kiss. The air in my nose was cold. It was cold under the blankets too. I cuddled up to my mother and her warm breath blew into my
to a bed farther down, and he himself went the other way. My mother went to my father’s bed. He was sleeping. She put her hand on his forehead and whispered his name in his ear. But he went on sleeping. The doctor came over. My mother was crying. “If only I had come sooner,” she said, “I could have talked to him.” The doctor asked her why she was so late, and she said I hadn’t told her. The doctor said that Trude had gone to tell her early that morning, but it wouldn’t have made any difference
“Happy Birthday to You.” My father and mother kissed me on the cheeks and I kissed them back. My father took me from my mother’s arms. My mother looked at me. I saw the lamp reflected in her dark eyes. I felt my father’s rough cheek and tickly hair on my cheek. His hair was black. My mother’s hair was red. We were wearing our dressing gowns. My father’s was light brown. My mother’s was light blue. There were all sorts of different-colored things on the table. “Aren’t you going to unwrap your
was impossible, because I’d gone to bed in the evening and I’d certainly know it if I’d been in bed for five days. Eva said Trude was right and they’d been afraid I would die, but it was over now. “Now you must eat well and get strong again.” I could tell I had a fever. But I didn’t believe the five days. There was a dark hole in the time. AMSTERDAM We were sitting up high in an open truck. The front of the platform was full of stuff: suitcases, duffel bags, rags and blankets. Trude had
birthday. I asked if there was a cake for me too. My mother said she’d used everything up for my father. This time I wouldn’t get anything, but the next time I’d get whatever I wanted. I wanted a new jumping jack and a dump truck and to steer the ferry myself. There’s still compassion in this world, but it’s approached with such wariness, and treated so much as the mysterious and near-miraculous condition that it must be in such a place, that we’re always aware that its appearance must be