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While I still don't know why some people survived the Holocaust and others didn't, I do know why Roma Ligocka survived: she provides testimony.
Her story begins as a toddler tells her tale of fear in the Krakow Ghetto. Scarcely more than an infant when the Jews were forced to wear Jewish stars on their clothing, she absolutely knew no other way of life. When an aunt said that she'd have men at her feet because of her beauty, she wondered if they'd be dead; that's what she knew.
She watched the snatching of her grandmother before her very eyes, as she hid under a table. Her father was forced to go to Auschwitz. Her mother begged for places for them to stay throughout the war.
The first half of the book deals with Roma's life before the end of the war. The second half deals with her life after the war: how events, seemingly minor, during the war, left permanent scars in her mind.
While this memoir deals with topics such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, failed marriages, show business, prejudice, and addiction, this is not a book ABOUT those topics. This is a book about a woman who saw "Schindler's List" and recognized herself and her family as subjects, and who had the courage to reflect, document, and move on. This is a story of survival.
(purchased via my wishlist)
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on December 25, 2002
A very moving book. I've read many books about the Holocaust. However, I don't think I previously read one that was written by someone who was so young during the war and that focused so much on the author's adult life. Even though intellectually one knows that war scars a soul forever, living the aftereffects through a single individual's perspective is emotionally stunning. Highly recommended.
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on October 24, 2002
Because I read The Girl in the Red Coat in German, I cannot speak for the translation, although knowing the care with which it was prepared, I'm sure that it is a good one. Not having read any German in a couple of decades, I was apprehensive at taking on the work. But I could not put the book down. Roma Ligocka's story is so compelling, in part because it is told from the view point of herself as a young child, in part because of the amazing work the author has done in working through her trauma. Not just another book about the Holocaust, this is an example of the healing power of art and of literature.
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on October 25, 2002
No other book on the Holocaust and the heavy burden it has left in its wake has gripped me so deeply. And I have read many. "The Girl in the Red Coat" is an astonishing portrait of a little girl, who lives within the adolescent and the grown woman. An incredibly compelling and deeply moving book about the art to deal with grief. Absolutely to be recommended!
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on February 13, 2007
Ligocka writes an unusal Holocaust memoir. She writes about her entire life and how the Holocaust affected her. The most intriquing and exciting part of the book deals with Ligocka's childhood. Many people helped Roma and her mother survive by hiding them and providing shelter for them during the war. Roma recalls childhood friends and relatives (including Roman Polanski).

Roma's adult life was not perfect.She mad some bad choices and lived with the consequences. A very interesting life, indeed.
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on December 4, 2002
one of the best books I have ever read, the one that will stick to my mind forever;
I must admit I don't read a lot (a "no time" excuse...) but I just could not put it down...
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on March 13, 2016
Roma's story shot straight to my heart and reminded me once more that after seeing Schindler's List, I walked to my car, climbed in and sobbed uncontrollably. No film before or since has shaken me to my core like it did. Too brazenly and too realistically, like this story, it revealed the awful horrors of that time.

Roma's brave memoir remembers it, first-hand, and reminds us once more that Man must Never Forget. I thank her for putting her pain in words and telling her point of view. Mostly, I want to apologize for the fear and pain she and her family suffered, as I'm sure not many said they were sorry back then.

She is a Survivor. And was saved so that her story could have a voice. I thank her for sharing it with us.
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on February 17, 2014
This is an amazing book. First, there is the first person narrative from the viewpoint of the author as a small child hiding from the Nazis. Ever try to imagine what being sought after by a gang of murderers would be like for a small child? Well, here it is. Not only is it gripping reading, but there's the knowledge that it's true. Then, the rest of the book is about this child's life, as she grows into a teenager then an adult, while all along dealing with a serious - and unlabeled - case of PTSD. She suffers with chronic anxiety and bouts of depression throughout her life, much of which is also due to her continuing to live in places where neither Jews nor artists are accepted. Ultimately, hers is a story of how a woman struggles to live a meaningful life despite an amazing amount of obstacles to overcome.
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on August 21, 2009
Great book- especially the beginning which shows the author's life as a child in a ghetto during the Holocaust.
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on August 7, 2011
I have just finished reading this book. I could not put it down. Riveting, sad, and very personal. I appreciated the author's candid disclosures and observations. I suspect that writing this book was her attempt to deal with the horror and trauma of those days, something she initially supressed and tried to burry deep inside of herself. And her horror was not only related to her experiences in the Jewish Ghetto, but also to her experiences as a young girl and a teenager during the early years of the communistic Poland, which was then occupied by the Russian communists (during the Stalin times).Then, she shares about her struggles of being an immigrant, a valuable yet unwanted-, all at the same time. She spoke candidly about making difficult and often destructive choices, which causes could be traced to her horrific childhood experiences. The book is well written, although I am sure that the meaning of some of the quoted poetry may have been changed a little. I would have liked to know how she has changed after writing this book and what her life looks like right now. I am so glad that she has survived it and has decided to share her story. Now, it can be passed onto others.
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