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Say the Name: A Survivor's Tale in Prose and Poetry Paperback – July 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Sherman] is a master painter with words. The book contains selections in poetry and selections in prose, complementing one another to produce a powerfully impressive canvas. . . ["Say the Name"] is an indispensible read for fuller understanding of the Shoah period."

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The experiences of a fourteen-year-old girl imprisoned in the Ravensbruck concentration camp during World War II. Illustrated with drawings made secretly by other camp inhabitants.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: University of New Mexico Press (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826334326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826334329
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Wheeler on July 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
We know that some people survived the Holocaust. But a key question in Humanities is the question of how someone would survive. And not just survive at the time of the Holocaust but afterwards. For the effects continue on and on. How does a person survive the aftermath. How do they go on to live a productive life and fulfilling life? This becomes an analysis of the human spirit. What can the human spirit survive? What can it do? One of the things that makes this book interesting is that it gives you a personal view into the life of a woman who was in a Nazi concentration camp at age 14 and went on to survive. She survived to have a family and do meaningful work in family therapy. Also compelling is the fact that the story is intespersed with her powerfull poetry. This is no dry read though. I reccomend this book to all librarians and individuals that have an interest in these questions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By RE Mason on October 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
Although I was hesitant to choose the review title above, I believe it's apt. I have read a number of Holocaust memoirs over the years--have read so many because each is unique and has something vital to say. Sherman's work, however, stands out for a couple reasons.

1) Her short, visceral, and stark poetry scattered throughout the book introduces a feeling of immediacy that is unique. We see inside her reactions and arguments with/demands of God. In fact, these are so central to her story I wonder if they were key in her survival. She continued to believe that things should be better. She never accepted that the death camp experience was a reality more important than her previous (real) identity.

2) Sherman anchors her story in life before the Holocaust. She spent her childhood and early teenage years in a small village, Kurima, surrounded by a loving and prosperous family. Again and again while in the concentration camp she referred to memories and values from that time. They seemed to remind her what was normal.

These two aspects taken together make this book almost a handbook for surviving difficult times. Reading the book left me convinced of the importance of remembering (or cultivating) a strong and positive personal identity.

I've worked with a lot of abuse survivors over the years in social service. I think I will look at this work a bit differently from now on. Sometimes it's tempting to get caught up in how wrong things are and to focus on the perpetrators. Sherman, however, spent more time remembering who she was and the good that had been in her life. This seems to have given her the strength to continue to trust her own perceptions of the situation--and therefore she never surrendered to the Nazis' plan of total, soul-destroying control. She made even waking up in the morning an act of resistance.

A humbling and thought-provoking read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Catherine Ott on July 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
Having read Holocaust literature by authors as disparate as Corrie ten Boom and Primo Levi, I found Judith Sherman's "Say the Name" to be one of the most engaging and thought provoking accounts I've ever read.

Why another Holocaust book? Because the full story can't be told by one book or one author; six million unique stories could be written. However, if you are only going to read one, read "Say the Name." With profound, yet startlingly simple poetry and narration, Judith shocks us into the brutal reality of the camps and the insanity of the era, without trying to be shocking.

Somehow, the fourteen-year old Judith remains the story teller through the voice and wisdom of the adult Judith. With poise and intelligence she describes, questions, indicts and prays us through her story. With no hint of self pity, she declines the role of victim and presents an air-tight case for the prosecution of evil and depravity. For Christian readers, the questions she poses to the Almighty might at first seem disturbing, but I found them to be an honest response to an encounter with absolute evil. Perhaps God is not offended by such questions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Wilder Ranch on October 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Judith Sherman's Say the Name is a survivor's account of a teenage girl's struggle with God and humanity in Ravensbruck concentration camp during the Holocaust. Sherman, now a wife, mother and grandmother living in the United States, writes her memoir some 50 to 60 years after the Nazi's carried out their "Final Solution."

Sherman's poetry and prose in this book reflect a loss of people, places and things that make up the fabric of a person's life, culture and beliefs. She is, at turns, angry and bewildered. She demands an accounting for these atrocities. But ultimately Sherman's quest for survival and her insistence on remembering the names of women who were killed conveys a sense of humanity and even of hope. This is Sherman's first book, and she is not a polished writer. She writes in fragments and one has the sense of poetry scribbled on napkins over the years and then included in the memoir. Her book is all the stronger for this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. I. Gavurin on July 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Say the Name" is a compelling account of the unspeakable horror of the Holocaust, experienced by a sensitive child, who speaks for herself in retrospect as an adult. It is as if Anne Frank had survived and was recounting her ordeal with the insight of a mature woman. Fortunately, the author (Judith Sherman) did survive to tell her story as a talented writer with a special gift as a poet. The narrative, interspersed with poetry is truly a work of art. The book is the best personal account of the Holocaust I have ever read. It informs us of the resilient human spirit and the endurance of unyielding personal courage. Every literate person should read this book.
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