Book Review: Gated Grief by Leila Levinson

April 18, 2011

I got this book for free as a winner in a giveaway from Knitting and Sundries

Book Review: Gated Grief by Leila LevinsonMy rating for Gated Grief – 5

I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.
General Eisenhowser

About:
“Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma” by Leila Levinson who started the charity Veteran’s Children (website | Facebook | Twitter)  is a non-fiction book about the author’s five year research to understand her father’s trauma from liberating a concentration camp in World War II. The book is filled with graphic pictures which will stay with you for a long time.

  • 272 pages
  • Pub­lisher: Cable Publishing
  • ISBN: 1934980544

Pur­chase “Gated Grief” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
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Thoughts:
“Gated Grief” by Leila Levinson is a powerful book which follows the author’s search  to find the truth about her father’s World War II experience, particularly the trauma he has suffered from witnessing the human cruelty while helping liberate Nordhausen concentration camp. Mrs. Levinson travels all over the world and the US in order to get firsthand accounts from other surviving liberators of Nazi camps.

Throughout her journey Mrs. Levinson learns not only about her father’s experience, but also finds some truths which she herself has suppressed.

This was a very tough book to read, not only because of the graphic descriptions, but also because of the multitude of horrific photographs the author’s father and other veterans took.  Unfortunately for them, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was looked down upon when they came back to the US which didn’t help them at all.

All the veterans claim that they didn’t know what to expect, that they weren’t mentally ready. I don’t know how you can get mentally ready to see thousands of corpses, starvation victims, dead children, burned humans or those who have been medically experimented on.  The human mind simply cannot comprehend the magnitude of this crime.

In trying to work her own inner demons, Mrs. Levinson wrote a universally important and thought provoking book.

Pur­chase “Gated Grief” through the ManOfLa­Book affil­i­ate account on:
Ama­zon |Book Depos­i­tory US | Book Depos­i­tory UK

Below are great-grandparents Bernart & Rosalia and great aunt Erna (Hannah) as well as Tsvi & Devorah who were all murdered by the Nazis.

I truly believe that another holocaust could easily happen here.
So Tell me: Do you think the holocaust can happen again?
Before you answer check out:
A Neo-Nazi event which happened over the weekend in my home state (and Ms. Levinson’s) of New Jersey (Link)
A man who named his kids to honor Nazis
Anti-Semitism Keeps Rising in Europe
Japanese-American Intern camps in the US
and read a bit about the Rwandan Genocide where 800,000 people (neighbors, associates, friends) were butchered to death.

Zohar – Man of la Book

 

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6 Comments

  • bookspersonally April 18, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Sounds very moving, and difficult. But, as you said, important.

  • Julie @ Knitting and Sundries April 18, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Z:

    Like many, I would HOPE that a Holocaust couldn’t happen here in the US, but “ethnic cleansing” in other countries basically amounts to the same thing, right? And one can’t help but remember the internment right here of Japanese-Americans during the war, and the unbelievably small pittance they were eventually given as restitution for having their work, school, businesses and homes basically taken away (if you can’t work, you can’t pay a mortgage….if you can’t pay a mortgage, you lose your home). We have far too much of an us vs. them mentality, and even the “I’ve got mine; you get yours” lack of compassion and empathy … one would hope never again … but I remember being totally terrified for my Arabic neighbors and shopkeepers when 911 happened; I could somehow picture all of that ugliness coming out of people who were scared and already had a bias to their “otherness”.

    I’ve rambled long enough; I’m glad you … enjoyed is not a good word .. but learned from the book. If we don’t remember history’s lessons, we are bound to repeat it (paraphrased from some greater thinker than I)

    • zohar April 18, 2011 at 9:44 am

      Hey Julie,
      thanks again for the book.

      Yest, “ethnic cleansing” is another word for mass, organized, government supported murder.

      I often wonder about the herd mentality people have, especially in the US where the pendulum only swings to the left and to the right but never stays in the middle.

  • Sam April 19, 2011 at 7:58 am

    I think you would really enjoy Samantha Power’s book, A Problem from Hell. It’s non-fiction, about genocide and the West’s response to it and how too often we end up looking the other way and saying “oh that’s sad” whilst watching the news but not actually doing anything to help. Another good one about Rwanda is Shake Hands with the Devil by Romeo Dallaire, who was the UN commander in Rwanda when the genocide happened.

    I read it a few years ago and was shocked at the amount of ethnic cleansing/genocide in the world. I think genocide will continue to occur all over the world. I think it could happen in any country, with the right conditions.

    • zohar April 19, 2011 at 9:20 am

      Thanks Sam, I appreciate the recommendations.

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