148 of 155 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2005
If you've read a lot of books about the Shoah, sometimes it seems like they all start to sound the same, only with different names and locations, but most good memorable books and memoirs on the subject have things setting them apart. This book, for example, is the only one I can remember having read so far where the subject (Elli) went through the camps with her mother; all of the other books I've read so far have been about siblings or friends or cousins sticking together in the camps. Sadly, there aren't more books about the mother-daughter relationship in the camps because most of the girls who went there with their mothers were immediately separated from them.
Besides having the little-represented angle of how a mother and daughter supported and loved one another in the camps (particularly after Elli's mother has her injury), there are also other things in here making it a unique story. The family in this book is also smaller than most of the other families in books about the Shoah, with only Elli, her brother, their parents, and their aunt, as opposed to large families with several sisters or brothers. There are also many details about everything that happened to them in the various places they were in, instead of just giving vague descriptions of what they went through or just focusing on how they stuck together instead of dwelling on the specifics of what they went through. It's definite that Elli and her mother had their chances for survival improved because they were selected for the transport to the factory in Augsburg, where they got better food and treatment as opposed to being forced to do the type of things they did in Plaszow. However, since there are so many horrific details and specifics given, this wouldn't be the type of book for a younger reader, but rather a mature teenager. And I love books written in the present tense; it draws you right in and makes the action even more compelling, wondering what's going to happen next. Reading or writing in the past tense just doesn't have that same deep emotional impact.
74 of 77 people found the following review helpful
I have read a lot of books about the holocaust, and I especially like to read memoirs written by survivors of the Holocaust. This is one such memoir that is compelling and heartbreaking in the descriptions of the horrors suffered by the writer and her family during the Holocaust. Initially, we witness the author's desire to be loved and praised by her mother, her ambition to be a poet, and her descriptions of simple, everyday life in her little village...later, we are led on a horrific journey beginning with the restrictions imposed upon the Jews in the village, the deportation of Elli's[ the author] father to a labor camp in Hungary, and finally Elli's own deportation together with her mother and brother to Auschwitz...their journey of terror doesn't end at Auschwitz for Elli finds herself and her mother constantly battling for survival under the most deplorable conditions, being forced to endure unimaginable suffering and degradation, being shunted from one concentration camp to another, and finally liberation. Elli's journey is one of horror, hope, faith and resilience, and truly inspiring.
48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
As an avid reader of material regarding the Holocaust and WWII, I was delighted to find this book at a used book store. "I Have Lived A Thousand Years" offers an interesting perspective on the events of the Holocaust. Written by Livia Bitton-Jackson as an adult, the author transports herself back to her teenage years when her world was forever shattered by Nazi designs.
The author, born Elli Friedmann, was thirteen years old when the Nazis invaded Hungary and turned her world upside down. She succinctly details the loss of freedom Jews suffered at the hands of their invaders before they were enslaved in first the ghetto, with concentration camps soon to follow. Elli is miraculously lucky in the fact that she is able to stay with her mother her entire time in the camps; in fact, it is a miracle that she was selected to live at all (as she was only chosen for her golden braids). Bitton-Jackson tells with grave beauty and pain the trials and small triumphs that populated her young world until liberation finally came.
"I Have Lived A Thousand Years" is a bittersweet chronicle of the power of faith and perseverance. The author never lost hope that she would somehow survive the horrors that she witnessed day after day. Her testament is a worthy addition to the literature of the Holocaust, and one that younger readers will be able to identify with.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 1999
I think that I Have Lived A Thousand Years was the best book I've ever read! It tells of Elli's experences in a consontration camp- her pain, her joy, and, most of all, her hope. I never knew how horrible the Nazis were to the Jews before I read this book. Now I'm reading more and more books on the Holocaust, but I think that this book is the best ever! It makes you cry, laugh, and feel like you never want the book to end all at once!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2006
Livia Bitton-Jackson's I Have Lived a Thousand Years is her story of life during WWII and the holocaust. Livia, known as Elli, was 13 years old when her family was forced out of their home and sent to Auschwitz. Her brother and father were sent to the male side of the camp, and Livia and her mother were sent to the female side. Because Livia was 13 years old, and still a child, she would have been sent to the gas chambers. But an officer took a liking to Elli's blonde hair, told her to lie and say she was 16, and led her to the path towards the camp, and away from the gas chambers.
Throughout her time at the camp, she and her mother kept each other's strengths up, even through the injury that would permanently disable her mother. They suffered through working in pits of feces, eating congealed soup and drinking from a small, murky water pond. They survived a decimation, and even found Bubi, Elli's brother.
When they found Bubi, they made a vow to stay together and became stronger. They waited until liberation day, but right before they were to be liberated, the SS guards loaded them into cattle cars and in hopes of taking them, shooting them all, and getting rid of the bodies so that the Americans had no way of finding the inmates.
Elli, her mother, and Bubi were all able to survive the cattle cars, the shooting, and made it to see liberation. They returned to their village in hope of hearing good news about Elli's father, but unfortunately, he didn't make it through the war. They have a mourning period and then contact all the people they know in America in hopes of being able to migrate there.
They eventually gain their visas and when Elli sees the beautiful statue of Liberty, she knows that she is home and can start rebuilding her life.
Her story is a story that can touch anyone. It vividly describes her struggles and makes one question how man can be so cruel. The way the book is written makes the reader feel like the author is personally retelling her story to him/her. I highly recommend this book - you will definitely get lost in her words.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2013
I purchased this book and thought that I was getting the winner of the Christopher Award. I discovered later that there is a much longer version. Readers need to purchase "Elli:Coming of Age in the Holocaust." There is such a big difference with so many details that were left out of "I Have Lived a Thousand Years" that I was able to read this shorter version and about a month later read the original version and not feel like I was reading the same thing over.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2006
Much respect is due to this author; she has been exceedingly generous to attempt to tell us, people who can never know, about the extraordinary suffering to which she was subjected. Her writing is simple and straight-forward; scenes that she so plainly descibes are haunting. At times I found myself thinking that the author was too sweet to be true, but these are her memories, and this book is her life. I thank her for imparting to the reader a segment of her life that, truly, when you think about it, defies the written word. An important book, most definitely worth reading.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 20, 2005
I Have Lived a Thousand Years, written by Livia Bitton-Jackson, is the story of a young thirteen-year-old girl growing up during the Holocaust. Elli Friedmann is a normal girl-tall, blonde, and smart. But one thing separates her and is the cause of constant suffering over the course of a year. That thing is being a Jew. Elli and her mother are alienated from Elli's father and brother at the beginning of World War II. As she and her mother are taken to various concentration camps in Europe, Elli must learn to survive, without food and water for sometimes up to a week. At one point, Elli must even take care of her partially paralyzed mother. Along the way in the camps, Elli makes friends, whom she loses to gas chambers and gunfire. As the war comes to an end, Elli and her mother reunite with Bubi, Elli's older brother. However, they later find out that their father sadly died. When American soldiers finally liberate them, the Friedmann family comes home to an empty house. Elli, her mother, and her brother decide to travel to America, where they vow never to be apart again.
I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a deeply moving book. It was so descriptive, breathtaking, and heart wrenching that anyone who reads it will immediately fall in love. The tragic, true story of Elli Friedmann (now Livia Bitton-Jackson) perfectly depicts the horrors and cruelty of the Holocaust. Poor Elli, only a teenager, has to program herself to do every possible thing to survive. Malnutrition, abuse, and humiliation are just a few of the terrible things she is forced to endure. Throughout all the bruises and blood, Elli keeps her faith that the war will end soon, along with the appalling lifestyle at the camps. Yet when the war concludes, and Elli is welcomed back with a raided, dirty house, she still carries hope for the future. I Have Lived a Thousand Years is a truly inspirational and magnificent book.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2005
This story was so engrossing and well-written, I believe I read it in about two hours. The following month, I suggested the library at my school order it for their students. In addition, I assigned it to my 8th graders for a book report. It's a sad, tragic part of history, but stillt this young girl's survival will leave you with joy in your heart and her story in your memory forever! Definitely worth buying!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2005
If you haven't already read this book....READ IT!!!!!!. This book is a non-fiction story of a Holocaust survivor. Jackson tells of horrifying experiences and the descriptions may be very graphic, but they are very descriptive; they tell us how everything looked and felt like. This book is one of the BEST books I have ever read. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!