"Hope Is the Last to Die" by Haline Birenbaum

Essay by alias33 May 2005

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Hope Is The Last To Die

By: Halina Birenbaum

"Hope Is the Last to Die" is the author's account of her expierience growing up in the warsaw ghetto, and her eventual deportation to, imprisonment in, and survival of the Majdanek, Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Neustadt-Glewe camps. In the beginning of the book Halina lives in a suburb of Warsaw, still very young, she doesn't understand the intensity of the situations to come. In 1940 a tall wall was built to seperate the Jewish Ghetto from the Aryan side of the city. Emplayed Jews recieved special work permits, which later on became the only way to secure one's life. The Ghetto streets were blocked and thousands of Jews in columns were dragged along to the Umschlag (the train to the death camps). Halina and her family began hiding in attics, cellars, and their last retreat, a bunker. Halina, her mother, and Hileks wife, Hela were taken to the womens camp.

Fighting starvation, typhus, scurvy, dysetnery, tuberculosis, lice, and the horrible labor. Halina's mother, father and sister-in-law all died. Towards the end of the book Halina is shot for coming to close the the fence seperating the camps and needs to get a bullet taken out of her shoulder. During her time in the hospital she meets Abram, with whom she falls in love with and during the liquidation of the camp, leaves with, and she returns to Warsaw. On a busy street she reunites with her brother Marek. So, finally, after growing up in such turmoil she leaves, a woman, but is still burdened with the nigthmares she witnessed at the camps.

Who should read this book? Why?

I would refer this book to anyone interested in history, specifically WWII and the holocaust. People who like personal stories would also enjoy this...



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