Synopses & Reviews
You might come back, because youre young, but I wont be coming back.”Marceline Loridans father to her, 1944
Marceline Loridan-Ivens was just fifteen when she was arrested by the Vichy governments militia, along with her father. At the internment camp of Drancy, France, her father prophecized that he would not come back, preparing her for the worst. On their arrival at the camps, they were separatedher father sent to Auschwitz, she to the neighboring camp of Birkenau. The three kilometers that separated them were an insurmountable distance, and yet her father managed to send her a small note, via an electrician in the camp. This simple sign of life gave Marceline a small hope of survival.
In But You Did Not Come Back, Marceline writes back to her father. The book is a letter to the man she would never know as an adult, to the person whose death overshadowed her whole life. As an advocate for Algerian independence and a documentary film-maker in the 1970s and 80s, working in China and Vietnam, Marceline ultimately found a vocation, but the all-consuming loss of her father never diminished in its intensity.
And now, as France and Europe in general faces growing anti-Semitism, Marceline feels pessimistic about the future. Her testimony is a haunting and challenging reminder of one of the worst crimes humanity has ever seen, and a deeply affecting personal story of a woman whose life was shattered and never totally rebuilt.
About the Author
was born in 1928. She has worked as an actress, a screenwriter, and a director. She directed The Birch-Tree Meadow
in 2003, starring Anouk Aimée, as well as several documentaries with Joris Ivens.
Sandra Smith is the translator of Suite Française and eleven other novels by Irène Némirovsky, as well as a new translation of Camuss LEtranger. She has been awarded the French-American Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize and the PEN Translation Prize. She lives in New York.