Synopses & Reviews
"In this searing and provocative memoir, Schneider visits her mother in a retirement home in Vienna after a long separation, broken only once in 57 years. When Schneider was four, her mother left to serve in the SS, working as a guard at several concentration camps, including Auschwitz. In their last encounter, Schneider's mother bragged about her SS experiences and tried to give her daughter jewelry taken from Holocaust victims. Only a versatile, sensitive reader like Rosenblat could narrate such emotionally fraught terrain, exposing the pain of a woman abandoned by her mother and forced to find her own moral compass. Speaking with a light Germanic accent, Rosenblat skirts melodrama, even when relating such dramatic material as Schneider and her mother taking their first painful steps toward becoming reacquainted. Rosenblat's plaintive rendition of the feeble old woman rings true, as does the sly cruelty that creeps into her tone as the mother's senility gives way to an admission of the horrific events she facilitated. The old woman's adherence to her moral stance is chilling, and Rosenblat's voice perfectly reflects this awful pride. Based on the Walker hardcover (Forecasts, Mar. 8). (Dec.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Helga Schneider was four when her mother suddenly abandoned her family in Berlin in 1941. When she next saw her mother, thirty years later, she learned the shocking reason why. Her mother had joined the Nazi SS and had become a guard in the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where she was in charge of a "correction" unit and responsible for untold acts of torture. Nearly thirty more years would pass before their second and final reunion, an emotional encounter in Vienna where her ailing mother, then eighty-seven and unrepentant about her past, was living in a nursing home. Let Me Go is the extraordinary account of that meeting and of their conversation, which powerfully evokes the misery of obligation colliding with the inescapable horror of what her mother has done.