The Journal of Hélène Berr

The Journal of Hélène Berr

Book - 2008
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Following in the tradition of timeless Holocaust literature such as Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl and Suite Francaise, this important literary contribution by a young writer presents an account of war-time Paris that is profoundly affecting and devastatingly lucid.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. :, Weinstein Books,, 2008.
ISBN: 9781602860643
Branch Call Number: 940.5318092 B5331B
Characteristics: 307 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Bellos, David


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ChristchurchLib Apr 14, 2014

"In 1942, Hélène Berr was a student of English literature at the Sorbonne in Paris during the Nazi occupation. Berr, a member of a Jewish family, wrote her journal on individual sheets of paper, which she passed to the family's cook for safekeeping. Full of light and hope, yet tinged with anxiety and despair, Berr's writing vividly depicts Parisian life under the Nazis. Deported to Bergen-Belsen in 1944, Berr died there days before the British liberated the camp in 1945. Her journal remained with family members and was published only recently, revealing an absorbing and insightful record of the Holocaust's effects on Jews in France." Biography and Memoir April 2014 newsletter

Cdnbookworm Feb 11, 2013

The first portion of this journal, from 1942, was written as a private diary. Then there is a gap of about nine months and the second portion from later 1943 through early 1944 is written as a record of what is happening around her and for her fiancé should she not be here when he returns.
Berr is a university student at the Sorbonne, from a well-to-do family who have been settled in France for generations. She struggles with falling in love for the first time, determines to do the right thing in the face of the occupying Germans, and wanting to help those who need it.
We see her reaction to the order forcing Jews to wear yellow stars and how she reacts to those who react to that. She is open in her journal about her emotions, and her struggles with what to do in the face of increasing restrictions. Because she was involved in assisting those arrested and awaiting deportation, she was more aware of what was going on than most, but that didn't save her from her own fate.
An interesting historical account from a unique perspective.

Feb 15, 2012

I was moved from delight to despair while reading this journal, and came to better understand how "everyone is blind to those being tortured" (as Berr wrote), even those who were doomed. I also came to realize more clearly how one's mind simply cannot fathom evil; how it tries to make sense of what is irrational. A moving and tragic diary.


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