Let me go

by Schneider, Helga, 1937-

Format: Print Book 2004
Availability: Available at 3 Libraries 3 of 3 copies
Available (3)
Location Collection Call #
C.C. Mellor Memorial Library Non Fiction 92 Schneider
Location  C.C. Mellor Memorial Library
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  92 Schneider
CLP - Main Library Mezzanine - Non-fiction D805.G3 S382613 2004
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Mezzanine - Non-fiction
Call Number  D805.G3 S382613 2004
Northland Public Library Nonfiction 306.874 SCH5
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Nonfiction
Call Number  306.874 SCH5

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 Ravensbr#65533;ck, 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.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "This heartrending memoir chronicles the uneasy reunion between a daughter and the mother who left her husband and young children to join the infamous Nazi Secret Service in World War II. Abandoned by her mother at age four, Helga Schneider learned the terrible truth decades later; her mother was\b a member of the SS and served as a\b guard at both Ravensbruck and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Compelled to unearth her family skeletons to understand her own identity, Schneider arranges\b to visit her befuddled elderly mother in a Viennese nursing home before total senility sets in. Fraught with intense emotion, this reunion between two tormented souls is recalled with painful honesty by a grown daughter horrified by the unthinkable choices made by her own mother. Determined to plumb the depths of her mother's unrepentant intolerance, bigotry, and negligence, a legitimately angry and confused Schneider harangues and tricks the often confused but at times wily old woman into revealing the dark secrets of her past.\b Disgusted by her mother's revelations yet compelled to learn everything, she interweaves her mother's confessions with her own childhood.\b Schneider packs a tremendous emotional punch into this brief but tremendously cathartic memoir. --Margaret Flanagan Copyright 2004 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Schneider, who was born in Poland in 1937 and grew up in Berlin, shares the last encounter with her mother in Austria, after decades of separation, as readers become privy to her complex autobiography. In 1941, when Schneider was four, her mother abandoned her, her brother and her father to join the SS army in various concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and visited the family only once after leaving. Thirty years later, working as a writer in Italy, Schneider learns of the old woman's quickly deteriorating health and decides albeit hesitantly to pay her a visit. Schneider attempts to reconcile her ambivalent emotions toward a mother who unfalteringly announces, "Well, my daughter, like it or not, I have never regretted being a member of the Waffen SS, is that clear?" Schneider's first-person narration fluidly alternates between her inner thoughts and the conversation she has with her mother, and she's open about her overwhelming desire to come to terms with the convoluted circumstances of her youth. Schneider's voice is honest, and it's easy to understand the rapidly changing emotions that flow throughout: her panic attacks prior to the re-encounter, her desire to both forgive and physically harm her mother, her simple need to understand the truth. In the end, it's unclear whether the visit concretized Schneider's feelings toward her mother. She understands this situation doesn't have any one correct emotion and demonstrates this with explicit details of the conversation and what she felt at the time. The simple certainty of Schneider's pain, strength and intricate emotions resounds well after this story ends. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Schneider, Helga -- Family.
Snyder family.
Schneider, Helga.
Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter-Partei. -- Schutzstaffel -- Biography.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Concentration camps -- Germany.
Concentration camp guards -- Germany -- Biography.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives, German.
Children of Nazis -- Germany -- Biography.
Mother and child.
Publisher New York :Walker & Co.,2004
Other Titles Lasciami andare, madre.
Language English
Description 166 pages ; 20 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0802714358 (alk. paper)
Other Classic View