I Remember Nothing More by Adina Blady Szwajger

1043012Nonfiction — print. Translated from the Polish by Tasja Darowska and Danusia Stok. Touchstone, 1990. Originally published 1988. 184 pgs. Received from PaperBackSwap.

Subtitled “A Doctor’s Powerfully Moving Memoir of Her Struggle to Save the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto”, Szwajger’s memoir is of her time working as the equivalent of a physician’s assistant in the Jewish Children’s Hospital  in the Warsaw Ghetto. Szwajger watched terrible atrocities such as starving children dying and participated in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising all around the age of twenty-two.

Unlike other books about rescue and resistance during the Holocaust I have read over the past couple of weeks, it’s much more difficult to pull out a single topic or theme that carries on throughout the book. Instead, Szwajger’s story is based entirely around luck. She’s lucky that a man saw her name on the deportation lists and forewarned her. She’s lucky the German believed her instead of the man that accused her of being a Jew.

That said, I actually did not enjoy reading this tale all that much. Her books read like a stream of consciousness — point A reminds her of point B so she mentions it, but first we have to finish talking about point A or point C reminds her of life after the war which then reminds her of point D so she never finishes discussing point C.  I really do not like that style of writing as it made it confusing to follow along with the tale.

Szwajger also wrote this book five decades after the war and her memory and therefore her novel were a bit fuzzy on the details. The intensity of what she experienced was surely much more strong and difficult than the intensity Szwajger conveyed in her memoir.

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