Auschwitz and After

Charlotte Delbo; Translated by Rosette C. Lamont; Introduction by Lawrence L. Langer

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April 26, 1995
360 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
ISBN: 9780300062083
Cloth

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In March 1942, French police arrested Charlotte Delbo and her husband, the resistance leader Georges Dudach, distributing anti-German leaflets in Paris. The French turned them over to the Gestapo, who imprisoned them. Dudach was executed by firing squad in May; Delbo remained in prison until January 1943, when she was deported to Auschwitz and then to Ravensbrück, where she remained until the end of the war. This book—Delbo's profoundly moving vignettes, poems, and prose poems of life in the concentration camps and afterward—is a memoir of great literary value. It is a unique document by a female resistance leader, a non-Jew, and a remarkable writer who transforms the experience of the Holocaust into spare, austere, yet lyric prose.

Auschwitz and After speaks of the moments of horror and of heroism Delbo never left behind, of the everyday deprivation and abuse experienced by all the people in the camps. Delbo's description of the suffering of the doomed children defies our ability to imagine. She also recounts the recollections of survivors of her own work unit and their difficulties in returning to normal life after Auschwitz. The book conveys how a survivor must "carry the word" and continue to live after surviving the greatest tragedy of the twentieth century.

Translated from French and now available in English in its entirety for the first time, Auschwitz and After began as three separate books published in France by Editions de Minuit: None of Us Will Return, Useless Knowledge, and The Measure of Our Days.

Charlotte Delbo (1913-1985) is the author of numerous plays and essays. Her masterpiece is the trilogy Auschwitz and After. Rosette C. Lamont is professor of French and comparative literature at Queens College and the Graduate School of the City University of New York, where she is also on the faculty of the doctoral program in theater. Lamont has previously translated Delbo's book Days and Memories. A friend of Delbo, she considers her to be, like Beckett, a minimalist of infinite pain, a voice of conscience.

"This poetry helps us touch the truth. It alone could communicate to us, make us feel the despair beyond all despair, martyrdom."—Francois Bott, Le Monde

"I find Rosette C. Lamont’s remarkable translation of Charlotte Delbo’s work perceptive, delicate, and poignant, in short: exceptional."—Elie Wiesel

"In this finely translated trilogy, Charlotte Delbo renders with economy and nuance pictures from the hell of Auschwitz. What she recalls in prose and verse would be unbearable except for the very precision of thought and sense she brings to it. No memoir of those times is more sensitive and less sentimental."—Geoffrey Hartman, Yale University

"This trilogy uses fresh images and innovative stylistic techniques to force readers to confront the horrors of the concentration camps and of the Holocaust. The author breaks new ground in addressing the psychology of Holocaust survivors."—Richard Lachman, Multicultural Review

"Translated into English for the first time in its entirety, a painful and moving trilogy by a member of the French Resistance and survivor of Auschwitz….Delbo brings a humanity to these familiar scenes of inhumanity through her vivid rendering of her comrades, and she eschews the philosophical musings of other Holocaust literature for an intimate account of daily life in the camps. . . . A profound testimonial."—Kirkus Reviews

"Finally translated into English, this unique memoir will be able to reach the larger audience that it deserves."—George Cohen, Booklist

"This valuable, well-translated collection provides an important account of a prisoner's life at Auschwitz."—Choice

"This trilogy uses fresh images and innovative stylistic techniques to force readers to confront the horrors of the concentration camps and of the Holocaust. The author breaks new ground in addressing the psychology of Holocaust survivors."—Richard Lachman, Multicultural Review

"An impressive memoir."—Sheldon Kirshner, The Canadian Jewish News

"Charlotte Delbo's harrowing text, beautifully written in varying poetic prose, takes the fusion of form and content on to another plane, depicting inferno where death is ever present."—Emma Klein, The Tablet

"Perhaps more than any other survivor memoir, this one captures the hell of the death camp. . . . Delbo's works present paradox after paradox, embodying and echoing the incredible truths that define the Holocaust."—Myra Goldenberg, Feminist Studies

"Because Delbo's work is such a poignant reminder of the horrors of the concentration camp experience and addresses survivors' difficulties in postwar life, it would be an excellent choice for an undergraduate or graduate class on the Second World War. It should also be required reading for graduate courses on the Holocaust."—R. Wesley White, German Studies Review

"This book—Delbo's profoundly moving vignettes, poems, and prose poems of life in the concentration camps and afterward—is a memoir of great value."—Translation Review

"This powerful work should soon be both widely admired and read alongside other tragic narratives of the Holocaust. . . . One of the most important books to appear on the war. . . . The challenge of Auschwitz and After is this: to listen to the woman who is speaking, to hold the beauty of her words and the starkness of her images at once."—Elizabeth A. Houlding, The Women's Review of Books

Winner of the 1995 American Literary Translators Association Award
Auschwitz and After
Second Edition<br>Second Edition

Charlotte Delbo; Translated by Rosette C.

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