I Have Lived a Thousand Years: Growing Up in the Holocaust Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-13 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 410 user ratings

"Horrifying Memoir

I've read quite a number of Holocaust stories in my long life, and I Have Lived a Thousand Years, by Livia Britton-Jackson sits with all the others in terms of corroborating the terrible atrocities inflicted on the Jews in the concentration camps. And belive me, the author spares us no atrocity from verbal humiliation to physical torture, to the outright killing of human beings.

The first person narrative told by a witness is powerful, but the audiobook version seems to magnify the horrific circumstances of a 13 year old girl who is torn from her home and managesto stay connected to her mother as they are forced into a ghetto and ultimately end up in Auschwitz.

The audiobook reader has a pleasant voice and reads with various degrees of expression and passion, but it took awhile to believe that hers was the voice behind the memoir. At first I wanted it to be a teenage voice because the story is written in present tense from the perspective of a 13 year old. Or if not, I thought it should have been the voice of an elderly survivor re-living the tragedy. But once I got used to it, the reader did not detract from the story.

What struck me most about this particular re-telling of concentration camp gore was the insight into the compliance of the Jews. It addresses the age old question of why they didn't rise up in numbers and rebel. At first, the elements of uncertainty, disbelief, and faith in humanity seem to contribute to a "this can't be happening" mindset. But the author's description of the systematic dehumanization of the Jews en masse by shaving heads, mass nudity, starvation, and pure mind f**king strips them down to one burning essence - day to day survival. And no one's survival instincts were greated than 13 year old Elli's.

That said, I did have some issues with repetitive wording. For such a short narrative, I think the author could have found some synonyms for the word skeletal, like bony, cadaverous, emaciated etc. But one hates to nitpick when the content is so strong and the subject matter is so grave.

In summary, this personal account of one girls experience is heartrending, enlightening, and horrific by turns and should be read by every tweener if for no other reason than to make them appreciate their lives and their freedoms.
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" Wow. The last ten chapters leading up to their liberation really got me. You can read book after book of nonfiction regarding the concentration camps... and it's still just unbelievable what they endured. I'm thankful we have these survivors who were willing to share their painful stories with us. It's important to acknowledge what they went through. " said.

" I think this is the most chilling account I've heard about what happens within the camps during the Holocaust. Anne Frank hides and doesn't survive to tell the tale of Bergen-Belsen, but Ellie, by a stroke of luck not granted to many, she lives through Auschwitz, Dachau, and forced factory labor. What she sees, what she's horrifying. In the end, I know it was best for me to read this, hard as it was to watch the horror that was this beyond tragic time. " said.

" Easy read~ I would recommend this book to mature teens.The story of the author growing up in the Holocaust.... written by a young girl's view point in first person. The book makes you feel apart of the family and glimpse into what their life was in several different death/work camps. " said.

" At 13, Livia Bitton-Jackson finds hope and miracles while journeying through the massive horror of the Holocaust. She reminded me to pause to listen to people who have stories that must be told. And to not turn away from injustices. " said.

" This is a true story about a brilliant, stoic, and brave young Jewish girl from Hungary who lived through the devastation of concentration camps in the Holocaust. Pain, ridicule, hunger, starvation, thirst, abuse, torture, are just some of what she and her family endured. It is a miracle that she survived to write her story. I couldn't put this book down. " said.

"I just previewed this book to see if I could recommend it to my students, as we are currently studying the Holocaust. I have read many books on the Holocaust, but this one especially moved me. Perhaps because it is written by a woman (Livia Bitton-Jackson)who endured Auschwitz and various other camps when she was only thirteen years old. Livia's perspective is especially poignant. When liberated, a German civilian approached her and expressed amazement that someone her age could have survived. When Livia asked the woman how old she thought she was, the woman replied, "Sixty or sixty-five." Livia was only fourteen when she was liberated. I highly recommend this book." said.

"This was such a heartbreaking story, as I knew it would be. And yet, among all the horrors thirteen year old Elli was enduring, was her strength and her incredible will to survive. I was just amazed at her strength! I honestly don't know, had I been in her place, if I could have been so strong.

I thought Elli's voice set a perfect tone for this book and the telling of her story. She writes very simply, and yet her words pack a huge punch. You can really hear the poet in her come through in her writing style. This was definitely not an easy read, as you would expect from any book dealing with the Holocaust. But amongst all the sadness there was hope as well. Elli is truly an inspiration.
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