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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved by her boots--and her soul
On the hot June day that Gerda Weissmann left her home for the last time, her father insisted that she wear her hiking boots. Gerda resisted, but an unspoken plea in her father's eye convinced her to strap them on. During a death march from January through April of 1945, those boots saved Gerda Weissmann's life. Many other women died of cold and starvation, but most fell...
Published on July 16, 2001 by Alyssa A. Lappen

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7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars All But My Life
"All buy my life" by Gerda Weissmann Klein is a tragic story about a young girl living life during the Holocaust. It talks about her survival for three years under the control of the Nazis and the story of her amazing liberation.

This book is a great book for most teenagers beacuse it touches on sensative subjects such as family and love, and some aspects of...
Published on August 30, 2004 by Natasha


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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved by her boots--and her soul, July 16, 2001
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
On the hot June day that Gerda Weissmann left her home for the last time, her father insisted that she wear her hiking boots. Gerda resisted, but an unspoken plea in her father's eye convinced her to strap them on. During a death march from January through April of 1945, those boots saved Gerda Weissmann's life. Many other women died of cold and starvation, but most fell for simple lack of footwear. Her camp sister, with whom she survived the worst horrors in several concentration and slave labor camps, died of exhaustion at a water pump minutes after American liberators freed the women from the march.

Ms. Klein's tale about her boots, screened at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, led me to her book. I wanted to know every detail --- although, over the years, I have been privileged to hear many personal accounts from Holocaust survivors I know. Too many still cannot not speak about what they lived through. Millions never had the chance at all. By itself, the silence of the majority makes Ms. Klein's testimony priceless, like every other personal Holocaust chronicle. So does her reminder not to take anything for granted. So does her gem of a soul.

--- Alyssa A. Lappen
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be strong, be strong!, June 19, 2001
By 
Denise Bentley "Kelsana" (The California Redwoods) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
These lasts words, Gerda Weissmann hears ring out over the crowd of Jews as they are herded away like cattle to an uncertain end. The person shouting them is her mother who is about to be ripped from her life. The Nazi's have taken everything she holds dear, family, home, friends and now she will fight for all that remains, her life and dignity.
This book is a remarkable slice of time and life, written by a true survivor who lived through the times that tried men's souls. As she wades through the atrocities of a Nazi occupation, concentration camps, and a death march amidst freezing temperatures, to be liberated by her one true love, she is true to her mother's request. This is an amazing story that will stay a part of you forever. I am astonished at her strength of spirit and her continued belief in the future. A book doesn't get much better than this. Kelsana 6/19/01
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gerda, a subhuman (untermentch) by Hitler's definition will be a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, December 8, 2010
By 
Alter Wiener (Hillsboro OR U.S.A.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
I purchased ALL BUT MT LIFE from Gerda when she came to Forest Hills NY to promote her book, the first edition. I felt honored to meet her; I will never forget her. I cried several times while reading the book the first time and cried many times while reading the book, for the second time. It took my breath away in more ways than one. It is really a powerful piece of work. It's disturbing but intrinsically inspiring.

I feel a special connection to Gerda, because she and I come from the same part of Poland. We were raised in a similar cultural environment. Our parents' homes were shrines of devotion to the family. The intense closeness of Gerda's family warmed my heart; it broke my heart while reading how the Germans ripped Gerda's family apart.

I am a Holocaust survivor. In the last several years, I have told my life story at
650 different venues in the State of Oregon and Washington. ALL BUT MY LIFE is one of the books that I recommend to all my life audiences. It is a classic among Holocaust survivors' memoirs. It is brilliantly written. This inspirational book it is sprinkled with faith and hope; it is gripping and fascinating. There are many lessons to be learned from this book. It is not just a chapter in history; it gives the reader of today a glance into the old country where respect for parents and their values had been adhered to. When the Germans ordered Gerda to report for deportation, her father told her to take along her boots. This was spring time and it did not sound logical to take boots with her. The deportees expected to be sent to forced labor camps for a short time. However Gerda did take the boots, because in those days a child just obeyed a father's requests. Adhering to the fifth Commandment" Honor your father and mother so that you may live longer" paid off, it probably saved Gerda's life. The infamous death march started with 2,000 young women and ended with only 120 survivors and Gerda was one of them. The boots apparently protected her toes from freezing. Respect for the parents, for the elderly, for society as a whole was prevalent in Gerda's old surroundings. Regretfully it is no longer the norm in the New World, today's world. Gerda's intense passion for her family was the impetus in her mind and body to endure.

It is heartening to know that Gerda with her integrity, wit, intellect and luck rose from the ashes of the Holocaust to build a new family. She married Kurt Klein an American lieutenant who was one of her liberators. Out of bondage, Gerda immersed herself in her new life in Buffalo Ney York. She fell in love with the United States of America. Gerda has been living an active life to the fullest; a life full of love and purpose. Her untapped literary talents came to the fore; she flourished. Kurt passed away several years ago; Gerda , now at the age 86, lives in Arizona. She is still active in sharing her amazing and heart-wrenching life story with life audiences and readers of her books. Hitler deemed her to be inferior, but she has been proven herself to be superior. Her message implies that prejudice can only lead to an abyss. I have the highest esteem for Gerda. I am thrilled to know that President Barack Obama, on November 17, 2010, named Gerda Weissmann Klein among the fifteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Nation's highest civilian honor. While being incarcerated in Nazi camps, Gerda yearned to be reunited with her dear parents and her beloved brother Arthur. She dreamt for a day to be able to eat as much bread as wanted, but she could not have dreamt to be honored by the president of the United States and its people. It is indeed exhilarating!
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62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Imagine, November 3, 2005
A Kid's Review
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
Before reading this book I had visited Dachau, a labor camp in the south of Germany. I was shocked and appalled by what I heard went on in this camp, but until I read this book I never fully understood what it would be like for someone my own age living in a camp such as this one. The things she had to deal with just aren't what a girl my age should be dealing with, but obviously Gerda had no choice. I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to watch my family be torn apart, or watch my friends slowly drop like flies as the Germans worked them to the bone. Honestly, no one can relate to what these people went through.

Now, after reading this book, I realized how I take many things for granted, like food that my parents put on my plate every night. I mean I never even thought of a life without it, and even my family itself. What would I do without them, they give me so much support in my everyday life. It is unfortunate that Gerda wasn't able to be with them during such a rough time like the holocaust. She may have had her good friends from Bielitz but that could never fill the "holes" of missing family members.

I would recommend this book to anyone, because we can all learn a lesson for this woman. You will laugh and cry, and from the first page you will be drawn in by her descriptions and all her experiences during the holocaust that you will just have to read it cover to cover.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most moving books I have ever read!, January 15, 1999
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
I want to thank Gerda for sharing her experiences in Nazi Germany. Her accounts are so horrific, but within it all I also felt her profound sense of hope and faith. In reading her memoir I was moved by the thought of what an incredible plan God had in store for Gerda. She survived to tell not only her story but that of so many Jews who lost there lives in WWII. Gerda, God is working through you to share with the world what Mankind is capable of.....ManKind, such an ironic word to use in that sentence, for Gerda saw very little kindness in most of Nazi Germany, yet she lights the precious moments of when kindness was shown to her and her friends. It is a book I shall never forget, and when I am feeling challenged in my own life, I will pick up Gerda's book and re-read, and re-read, for I know I have more to learn for this work. Thank-you Gerda! God Bless!
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Moving, July 22, 2000
By 
Nikki (Boston, MA) - See all my reviews
I read this book very recently as part of my school system's summer reading program. I had expected it to be an intriguing and saddening story about a girl's experiences in the Holocaust, but I did not expect it to be so moving, inspirational, and relateable true story. This book opened myself, and my friends to what these women must have felt. The fact that Gerda was our age at the time of her captivity and was going through the exact same experiences that we were help us to understand what was going on and how she must have felt about personal problems and boys, and basically everything that teenage girls still go through. We realized how truly lucky we were to live our lives free and have all of our friends to go to when we need help, and not have to worry where and if we are having our next meal. I recommend this book to anyone, any age, and sex, any race. Although she is a teenage girl, anyone can profit from this book.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strength and Courage without Measure, March 25, 2005
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
I recently had an opportunity to hear Gerda Weissman Klein speak of her experiences as a Holocaust survivor. You may remember Ms. Klein from the HBO Film based upon her startling story, which won an Academy Award. As a pampered, fifteen year-old Jewish girl in 1939, her idyllic family life came to an abrupt halt when the Nazis rolled into their small Polish town.

For a short period of time, her family was permitted to remain in their house, albeit in the basement. Over time, her family unravelled, shipped off one at a time to the death camps. Her beloved brother, Arthur. Her father. Her mother. All disappeared, never to be seen again. By 1942, she began her journey through a series of increasingly harsh slave-labor camps, using an ability to speak German and a quickly acquired expertise on garment looms. Only through a series of fortuitous coincidences, sacrifices of friends, and even a few benefactors among her captors, was she able to survive the factories.

By 1945, the Nazis were on the run and their prisoners were forced to move back into Germany. Stripped of all possessions except for some photographs tucked into her ski boots (which her father had presciently demanded she wear the summer she left home), she survived the 350-mile winter "death march". Only 120 of 2000 girls survived the forced march and Gerda herself was liberated by American soldiers only hours from death: she weighed 68 pounds when Lt. Kurt Klein, who was to become her husband, rolled into town.

There are few, if any, more compelling first-person stories of survival against all odds. Perhaps John Ransom's Andersonville Diary qualifies. But those who are unfamiliar with the concept of true evil would do well to read Gerda's unbelievable story of human spirit, and courage without measure.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tribute to the Human Spirit, January 15, 2000
By 
Vivian Schardt (Alexandria, Kentucky) - See all my reviews
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
I first saw Gerda Weissmann Klein on the Oprah show. Then I was so fortunate to hear her speak at Northern Kentucky University. With her lovely accent, she explained how memories of her brother, father, and mother kept her spirit from faltering into the depths. She told us how a friend had shared a single raspberry. She shared with us the command of her father to wear her skiing boots in the heat of summer which was one of the factors that saved her life. This book gives the miraculous details of her life during the Nazi take-over and a brief glimpse into her life during and after her liberation. I am a teacher and I believe this would be a great book to be read to students of the appropriate maturity level. God bless you, Gerda. Vivian Schardt
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What an insightful, honest look into the Holocaust camps, April 26, 2001
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
We of today's generation are bombarded with historical information that has happened in the past 100 years and they tend to lose their sting ~~ we're not all that interested in what had happened 50 years or so ago. We hear about it too often and become desensitized to it. But Klein's book will sting you with its brutal honesty and descriptions of life in a German camp. But at the same time, she will write of the glimmer of hope that persuades her to keep on living through the darkest hours of her life. She writes of the horror in such a way, that you feel that you are there, marching beside her to a future filled with dread. You are there when she was separated from her parents. You will weep when she realizes that her entire family is gone. And you will revisit the memories of the war during her happiest moments in life. You will fall in love with her husband ~~ the first American on the scene at the camp. You will shudder at the horrors that were visited upon the girls in those camps and the near misses of shootings, bombings and near death experiences. And a lot of us today have no experiences with starvation, disease, being invaded and being tortured simply because of our religious beliefs. We have no idea of how fortunate we are ~~ and Gerda Weissmann Stein reminds us that we are fortunate. We have never gone through anything even remotely close to what she, along with millions of others, have endured.
I did promise myself after reading "Schlinder's List" that I was never going to read another book on the Holocaust again ~~ it was just too hard on the heart and soul to read about others' suffering. But when a friend of mine suggested this book, I decided to try it. And I have nothing but words of praise and admiration for Gerda Weissmann Klein. This is a well-written account of her life before WWII, during the war and after the war. She has given me a new appreciation of the life I have now. I cannot imagine going through a life that she has endured simply because she was a Jew.
Mrs. Stein puts a human touch on the horrible camp experiences and she tells the story as if you were sitting in the room with her ~~ it's a personal story. One full of hope and courage and despair. It's a story that every one should hear because we shouldn't forget what had happened in Germany/Poland and other countries. We should listen to this story and be reminded of the fact that we all are part of the human race despite our differences.
I suggest that everyone should at least pick up this book and keep a box of kleenexes close by. It is one book that will change your whole outlook on the Holocaust. You won't forget it ~~ nor will you forget the courage that Mrs. Stein showed throughout the book. You will be haunted by some of the stories she shares with you ~~ but you won't forget. Not all Jews in the Holocaust are victims, there are survivors too. And Mrs. Stein is one who I call a survivor ~~ she doesn't let bitterness taint her story. She tells it as it is and shares her lessons on life along the way. It is an unforgettable book that I think belongs in every library.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Moved to tears., February 15, 2000
This review is from: All But My Life: A Memoir (Paperback)
This wonderful yet appalling, touching yet poingnant memoir is a horrific revelation of one young woman's fight for survival against a demeaning opponent: the holocaust. Her story will effect you in a great way and make you ponder life, love, and what happiness truly is.
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All But My Life: A Memoir
All But My Life: A Memoir by Barbara Rosenblatt (Paperback - March 31, 1995)
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