Let Me Go

Front Cover
Bloomsbury Publishing USA, May 26, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 176 pages
10 Reviews
The extraordinary memoir, praised across Europe, of a daughter's final encounter with her mother, a former SS guard at Auschwitz.

In 1941, in Berlin, Helga Schneider's mother abandoned her, her younger brother, and her father. Thirty years later-- when she saw her mother again for the first time-- Schneider discovered the shocking reason: Her mother had joined the Nazi SS and had become a guard in concentration camps, including Auschwitz-Birkenau and Ravensbrück, where she was in charge of a "correction" unit and responsible for untold acts of torture.

Nearly three more decades would pass before their second and final reunion, an emotional encounter at a Vienna nursing home, where her mother, then eighty-seven and unrepentant about her past, was ailing. Let Me Go is an extraordinary account of that meeting. Their conversation-- which Schneider recounts in spellbinding detail-- triggers childhood memories, and she weaves these into her account, powerfully evoking the misery of Nazi and postwar Berlin. Yet it is her internal struggle-- a daughter's sense of obligation colliding with the inescapable horror of what her mother has done-- that will stay with readers long after the book has ended.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlisonY - LibraryThing

I deliberately sought out this book after some of my earlier reading on WWII. I had a lot of questions in my mind about Nazi Germany - what did regular Germans think of the Nazi activities? Why did ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - akblanchard - LibraryThing

I don't think Helga Schneider's mother would have been a very nice person no matter when or where she was born. But, unfortunately for a lot of people, she was born in Austria in the early part of the ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
13
Section 7
14
Section 8
35
Section 13
96
Section 14
97
Section 15
103
Section 16
107
Section 17
115
Section 18
117
Section 19
126
Section 20
132

Section 9
41
Section 10
49
Section 11
69
Section 12
78
Section 21
138
Section 22
160
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Helga Schneider was born in 1937 in Steinberg, now in Poland, and spent her childhood in Berlin. When her mother left the family, she was brought up first by her stepmother and then in a boarding school. She has lived as a freelance writer for many years in Bologna, Italy.

Bibliographic information