➳ Let Me Go Read ➻ Author Helga Schneider – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk

Let Me Go Unforgettable And Deeply Arresting, Let Me Go Is A Haunting Memoir Of World War II That Won T Let You Go Until You Ve Finished Reading The Last Page The Washington Post Book World In , In Berlin, Helga Schneider S Mother Abandoned Her Along With Her Father And Younger Brother Let Me Go Recounts Helga S Final Meeting With Her Ailing Mother In A Vienna Nursing Home Some Sixty Years After World War II, In Which Helga Confronts A Nightmare Her Mother S Lack Of Repentance About Her Past As A Nazi SS Guard At Concentration Camps, Including Auschwitz, Where She Was Responsible For Untold Acts Of Torture With Spellbinding Detail, Schneider Recalls Their Conversation, Evoking Her Own Struggle Between A Daughter S Sense Of Obligation And The Inescapable Horror Of Her Mother S Deeds

10 thoughts on “Let Me Go

  1. says:

    Before getting to the actual book, I was staggered to learn Helga Schneider s mother, a truly wicked woman and member of the Waffen SS, served only a six year prison term for minor war crimes, which, to rub salt into the wounds of the Jews, was reduced down to the fact of complete cooperation with an Allied investigating commission Six years , minor crimes , what went on within the walls of Birkenau can hardly be seen as minor OK, so she was only a guard, and nowhere near as bad as some of the Before getting to the actual book, I was staggered to learn Helga Schneider s mother, a truly wicked woman and member of the Waffen SS, served only a six year prison term for minor war crimes, which, to rub salt into the wounds of the Jews, was reduced down to the fact of complete cooperation with an Allied investigating commission Six years , minor crimes , what went on within the walls of Birkenau can hardly be seen as minor OK, so she was only a guard, and nowhere near as bad as some of the other monsters who carried out mass killings But selecting women prisoners for brothels, tearing screaming children away from their mothers, rifle butting, assisting in ghastly experiments, and on the whole, showing absolutely no remorse whatsoever for her role in the final solution looks pretty bad to me She should have received a farsevere sentence So, it s 1998, and after a 30 year wait, in which she discovered her mother s dark past, an older Helga received a letter asking to visit her 90 year old mother, Traudi, now residing in a nursing home and in poor health Traudi, during the war, cruelly abandoned her two young children, Helga and Peter, to join the SS, believing totally in the extermination of the Jews Once the two finally meet, her mother cunningly first denies ever having children, but comes around, and vividly recounts to her daughter the horrors that played out during the time with the SS, and the reasons for walking out on her family They talk, one in disbelief, the other in stubborn pride I suppose Helga was looking for some sort of apology after all these years, not just for her children, but all those exterminated Forget it Once a Nazi, always a Nazi She may have been half dead, with a sunken face, poor eyesight, and rancid breath, but this old hag clearly still had SS blood pumping through her knackered veins She was, quite frankly, despicable I would have thrown her out the window.Whilst Helga listened on, Traudi s face would light up when going into details on her disgust for the Jews, she practically blamed them for just about anything and everything You would think at 90 years old, a softer side may have emerged, being the final time she would get to see her offspring, but there wasn t much to say about any positives in the outcome Helga really was torn between hating her mother and feeling sorry for her Did she find a place in her heart to forgive , by the end it s difficult to tell.Although dealing with some powerful themes, for me, the book read far too much like a novel Her mother was no doubt playing around with her marbles upstairs, and I took pity on how painful this must have been for Helga, but on an emotional level I was left feeling a little empty It s no doubt carried with a heart rendering premise, but the fact of me reading many other hard hitting books on the Holocaust, this just didn t touch me in the ticker, or punch me in the guts as much.A decent read, but with mixed results

  2. says:

    I finished this unsuual memoir in less than 24 hours Sparse, powerful, and compelling.I finished it the evening before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is fitting The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah In 2020 the date it falls on is April 21 This is a raw first person account The crux is t I finished this unsuual memoir in less than 24 hours Sparse, powerful, and compelling.I finished it the evening before Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is fitting The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising In Hebrew, Holocaust Remembrance Day is called Yom Hashoah In 2020 the date it falls on is April 21 This is a raw first person account The crux is the last meeting a daughter has with her mother, a mother with whom she has had very little contact, a mother who is a Nazi war criminal A daughter trying to get something perhaps some motherly love, perhaps some understanding and who s also trying to pull away, wanting finally a conclusion, an ending I was grateful that this wasn t just about this last meeting between these two women It was a better account because it included memories of the author s and stories that had been told to her Otherwise it wouldn t have felt like a full book to me.Understated horror This is not a comfort read Nothing was comfortable Not Helga s upbringing after her mother abandoned her, nothing about the only two meetings she had with her mother as an adult, nothing about her mother during the conversation or her mother prior to it, including her times in the camps, and nothing about the Holocaust details I ve read probably hundreds of Holocaust books but none quite like this one For me it was too short and I wanteddetails I m glad I read it though It was good, important I really liked it

  3. says:

    In 1941, when Helga Schneider was four and her brother Peter not even two years of age, they were abandoned by their mother Their father, Stefan, was on the front, fighting for Hitler at the time, and an aunt and their paternal grandmother stepped in to care for the children Soon after, Stefan remarried Helga was not to see her mother, Traudi, for another thirty years From Bologna where she d moved in 1963 as a sixteen year old Helga travelled with her young son to Vienna to see Traudi who In 1941, when Helga Schneider was four and her brother Peter not even two years of age, they were abandoned by their mother Their father, Stefan, was on the front, fighting for Hitler at the time, and an aunt and their paternal grandmother stepped in to care for the children Soon after, Stefan remarried Helga was not to see her mother, Traudi, for another thirty years From Bologna where she d moved in 1963 as a sixteen year old Helga travelled with her young son to Vienna to see Traudi who, she learned, had abandoned her children because of her fervent commitment to the National Socialist Party In fact, Traudi had been a fanatical servant of the Fuhrer During this 1971 meeting, Traudi showed complete indifference to her grandchild Her chief interest was in proudly displaying her SS uniform to her daughter She offered Helga a handful of heavy gold jewellery, stolen from Jews it might come in handy one day and revealed that she had participated in the exterminations at Auschwitz Birkenau But Helga Schneider s book isn t about the 1971 meeting after which she determined she would expunge the woman from memory It is actually an account of the final, two hour meeting she and her cousin Eva had with Traudi in 1998, twenty seven years later Gisela, a Viennese friend of Traudi, had written to Helga in August, 1998 to report that Traudi s health was failing She had been behaving in increasingly bizarre ways purging recently purchased items from her apartment, cleaning obsessively floors flooded with pail upon pail of water, attempting to order coffins for her dead children, and regularly getting lost in the city She was now in a home for the aged and likely had little time left If Helga wanted to see herwell, perhaps this was the last chance Helga made the journey Her book details the intense, emotional confrontation she had with her mother, a true believer if there ever was one Traudi had begun as an assistant to the doctors who performed muscle regeneration and bone grafting experiments on prisoners in Ravensbruck She had then chosen to undergo dehumanization training in order to work at Birkenau.LET ME GO is an appalling and riveting document Schneider judiciously incorporates some material from a text on Nazi medical experimentation and offers a play by play of the turbulent and complex emotions she experienced while in the presence of the frail ninety year old who was plainly cognitively compromised, yet possessed a razor sharp recall of her time as one of Hitler s henchwomen one of his Furies.I know of no other written text that details the kind of encounter Helga Schneider had with Traudi However, the book put me in mind of the equally powerful 2006 documentary INHERITANCE , whose subject is Monika Hertwig, daughter of the infamous Butcher of Plaszow , Amon Goeth famously channeled by Ralph Fiennes for Steven Spielberg s movie SCHINDLER S LIST Schneider s book is short and can easily be read in a single sitting I wish that the author had documented how she initially managed to find her mother at all and that she had also providedinformation about her childhood, adolescence, and her life after the 1998 meeting One can only come by these details by reading the press around the book and the relatively recent film, starring Juliet Stevenson, based on Schneider s harrowing final encounter with the woman who had abandoned her fifty seven years before

  4. says:

    At times it was difficult to continue reading this book I stayed with it because of the mother daughter connection It would be hard not to feel revulsion toward oneself, knowing you were spawned by such a despicable creature It sickens me just to think I m a member of the same species as Helga Schneider s mother We re not really the same species, though I am homo sapiens and she was homo monsterus horribilis It s bad enough that a woman would abandon her two small children without hesitati At times it was difficult to continue reading this book I stayed with it because of the mother daughter connection It would be hard not to feel revulsion toward oneself, knowing you were spawned by such a despicable creature It sickens me just to think I m a member of the same species as Helga Schneider s mother We re not really the same species, though I am homo sapiens and she was homo monsterus horribilis It s bad enough that a woman would abandon her two small children without hesitation or sorrow Worse that she would do it to serve pure evil Helga s mother left them so she could join the SS and be a guard at Birkenau There she selected people to be murdered, and participated in unspeakable acts of torture She later worked at Ravensbruck, helping the doctors with their brutal experiments on Jewish prisoners Many years later, when Helga confronted her mother about those WWII atrocities, the old woman had not one twinge of regret or remorse With glee and pride, yes, PRIDE, she recounted the crimes she committed against thousands of innocent people

  5. says:

    Some books are difficult to read because their subject matter is so disturbing that the reader feels traumatized by the horrific events she sees chronicled before her And some books are difficult to read because they were obviously difficult to write, every word an agony for the author Such books are written with their creator s blood, and the reader, who is literally consuming the suffering of another human being, feels queasy in the process Helga Schneider s memoir, so engrossing as to be a Some books are difficult to read because their subject matter is so disturbing that the reader feels traumatized by the horrific events she sees chronicled before her And some books are difficult to read because they were obviously difficult to write, every word an agony for the author Such books are written with their creator s blood, and the reader, who is literally consuming the suffering of another human being, feels queasy in the process Helga Schneider s memoir, so engrossing as to be almost hypnotic in its effect, is both kinds of difficultIt took me two hours to read this riveting memoir, which I literally consumed during my train commute to and from work yesterday It was fascinating and repellent, emotionally visceral in a way that made me feel that I was a voyeur Written in the first person, and frequently addressed to her mother, Let Me Go is a chronicle of Schneider s attempt to come to terms with the mother who abandoned her to become an active participant in the Nazi Final Solution A prison guard at the Ravensbruck concentration camp, where she assisted in horrific experiments on human guinea pigs, Schneider s mother eventually volunteered to undergo dehumanization treatment, in order to become a camp guard at the Auschwitz Birkenau death camp.The author, who met her mother only twice after being abandoned at the age of four, is haunted by her mother s atrocities, and torn by her conflicting emotions and desires On the one hand, she longs like all abandoned children, I would imagine for some sort of connection to this woman she never knew, and for the mother kindness that was denied to her On the other hand, she hates everything her mother is, everything she believed in and stood for, and longs for the strength to truly sever the bond between them Struck with pity, on her second and final visit, for her mother s old age and isolation, Schneider is also disgusted by her mother s non repentance, her amorality, and her dishonest manipulations.I have read over thirty Holocaust memoirs over the years, but despite my interest, both in this specific topic, and in thegeneral questions of human evil and human suffering, I had never before read any biographies or memoirs devoted to any of the perpetrators I think, upon reflection, that I have been afraid to delve too deeply into that banality of evil of which Arendt writes, afraid that some fleeting glimpse of humanity might evoke an unwanted sense of fellow feeling Because no matter how honestly we may acknowledge that seed of evil which lies in all of us, no one wants to look into the face of depravity, and see any part of themselvesHow muchterrible and inescapable this question of human evil, and our connection to it must be, when the face of depravity is one s own mother I commend Schneider for her bravery in writing this book, for exposing her personal anguish and shame to the world, in her effort to further the discussion of these important questions How unbearable sad it is to me, that her sacrifice does not bring her, or her readers, any closer to understanding such incomprehensible hate

  6. says:

    Brutal Simply brutal I listened to it on CD and had to stop listening several times First, there s the reality The mother was an SS guard at birkenau concentration camp The book includes details of atrocities to Jewish men, women and children that are very difficult to hear I listened because I never want to forget.Unfortunately,difficult to hear was the daughter s voice I don t mean the woman who was reading the book, not that voice No, it was the daughter s writing, her attitude, Brutal Simply brutal I listened to it on CD and had to stop listening several times First, there s the reality The mother was an SS guard at birkenau concentration camp The book includes details of atrocities to Jewish men, women and children that are very difficult to hear I listened because I never want to forget.Unfortunately,difficult to hear was the daughter s voice I don t mean the woman who was reading the book, not that voice No, it was the daughter s writing, her attitude, the way she looked at the world that was also very difficult to endure Yes, her mother left her and her brother and father when the daughter was four Yes the mother was awful Yes the author was marred for life by both her mother and the war And yet, I kept hoping for some redemption I kept hoping that the daughter would have learned something valuable through the experience I kept hoping that something good would come from this story Sadly, I found nothing The characters didn t change It was a tale of awfulness that held no hope Perhaps this is reality Perhaps I am too idealistic, but it was like watching a car wreck I could not turn away and yet I left unfulfilled.If you read it, do so with an eye toward history Do so to remember this horrible past so we never forget it again, but don t look for an individual story of transformation You won t find one

  7. says:

    An important, emotionally intense and difficult book, which should be requisite reading for anyone trying to understand what happened in Germany during the Nazi era It is, basically, the portrait that a daughter makes of her own mother, an unrepentant and ferocious jewish hater Nazi who, decades after the fall of the regime, still hangs on to her despicable beliefs The frankness and discomfort of the author are heartbreaking She tries to reach out to her mother when the latest is gravely ill, An important, emotionally intense and difficult book, which should be requisite reading for anyone trying to understand what happened in Germany during the Nazi era It is, basically, the portrait that a daughter makes of her own mother, an unrepentant and ferocious jewish hater Nazi who, decades after the fall of the regime, still hangs on to her despicable beliefs The frankness and discomfort of the author are heartbreaking She tries to reach out to her mother when the latest is gravely ill, despite the fact that she despises her, and also tries to come to terms with her own guilt She partly fails, of course, because it is impossible to come to terms with pure evil although one can imagine that writing this book has been a necessary cathartic experience for her It is a courageous book writing about your own parent like this is not easy It also illuminates one of the most troubling aspect of the Nazi era which is actually universal how evil lies in the most ordinary people, and how anyone, really, can become a monster It is chilling and horrifying some gruesome revelations are even shocking Schneider s writing is simple and direct, as it should be with such a subject It s the kind of book that haunts you for a long time

  8. says:

    This is a deeply compelling and disturbing chronicle of a daughter s final visit with the mother who abandoned her decades before in order to become a prison guard at Auschwitz The author wrestles deeply during the visit as she seeks to understood what possibly could have motivated her mother to make the choices she did She weaves in her personal history as she attempts to relate to and reconcile with the senile stranger she hasn t seenthan a handful of times in 30 years She probes her This is a deeply compelling and disturbing chronicle of a daughter s final visit with the mother who abandoned her decades before in order to become a prison guard at Auschwitz The author wrestles deeply during the visit as she seeks to understood what possibly could have motivated her mother to make the choices she did She weaves in her personal history as she attempts to relate to and reconcile with the senile stranger she hasn t seenthan a handful of times in 30 years She probes her frail mother in the lucid moments as she seeks answers to questions that have haunted her since childhood How far will the author push her mother and how much manipulation from a still unrepentant woman will Schneider tolerate in the hope of hearing remorse from a woman who personally herded prisoners into the gas chambers It s an emotionally exhausting test of wills that examines where an individual draws her own boundaries, where she is willing to compromise, and the outcome of such deeply personal choices.This is an intense read but well worth it

  9. says:

    This is a short, but incredibly intense book about the author s attempt to connect with her former SS mother before she dies My heart goes out to the author This book was hard to get through at times, I can t imagine living it The author s mother is completely unrepentant about her actions during WW II and a complete believer devoted to Hitler s ideologies The author struggles to deal with both the abandonment of her mother in an especially challenging time period as well as coming terms to This is a short, but incredibly intense book about the author s attempt to connect with her former SS mother before she dies My heart goes out to the author This book was hard to get through at times, I can t imagine living it The author s mother is completely unrepentant about her actions during WW II and a complete believer devoted to Hitler s ideologies The author struggles to deal with both the abandonment of her mother in an especially challenging time period as well as coming terms to the terrible things her mother did in the concentration camps without any sign of remorse I consider myself fairly well versed when it comes to WW II, but I was surprised to learn about the dehumanization training that SS guards had to go through toor less make them immune to their victims sufferings As far as Holocaust stories go, the descriptions are not especially graphic, but oddly disturbing in their stark medical language Hearing it from a woman who was proud of her SS career and the vile things she did is quite haunting Though this does give me an idea of how deeply brainwashed some members of the party must have been

  10. says:

    What a strange read I felt conflicted most of the time when reading this account The style of writing is nothing special, but the content is quite haunting, though not in a good way This is the account of an obviously confused and troubled daughter who has been abandoned by her mother when a small child so that the mother could serve Hitler in the SS Helga the daughter, and writer , though in her 50s now, has understandably been tormented by imaginings of what her mother did and saw as a gu What a strange read I felt conflicted most of the time when reading this account The style of writing is nothing special, but the content is quite haunting, though not in a good way This is the account of an obviously confused and troubled daughter who has been abandoned by her mother when a small child so that the mother could serve Hitler in the SS Helga the daughter, and writer , though in her 50s now, has understandably been tormented by imaginings of what her mother did and saw as a guard at Birkenau, and also by her own resentments about the personal impacts of the loss of her mother on her adolescence.This is the record of her apparently final visit to her mother in a nursing home, and the conversations that took place in that two and a half hours or so.Its hard to know if I m being unreasonable in considering Helga to possibly be mentally ill I suppose it would be difficult for her to be otherwise It s one of those situations in which we all are at our worst seeing our mothers whom we have never forgiven and trying to pick the scabs of our old wounds and fears, whilst being revolted at what we are bringing to the light of day I m sure Helga is quite capable of behaving normally in everyday life and frankly I too regress back into childhood much to my regret when my mother visits, so this resonates quite well with me I have to say my mum is a pussycat compared to this lady It feels uncomfortable to visit Helga s mother with her, and to see not just the cold calculation of the SS guard that she was, but also the almost perverted curiosity of Helga about issues such as whether the Jews from the gas chambers were ever cremated whilst still alive, especially when they cut back on the quantity of crystals used to kill them, or herunderstandable questions of how her mother managed to reconcile her conscience with the gassing of tiny children I feel like a peeping tom, dragged into uncomfortably close examination of the shocking dirty unresolved washing of this relationship It is an interesting examination, at the end of the day, of the damage done to Helga, and although there are some interesting insights into the rationalisations of those serving the Fuhrer, there are few surprises in her mother Helga sends us back through flashbacks into episodes from her childhood which have some bearing on the stories her mother tells, some of which are guilty secrets of the influence of the regime on German children to hate Jewish people But overall, this is a bit like a flirtation with insanity and the obscene, and I m not altogether glad that I have read it, as much for the unflattering truths that are revealed about Helga, as for those of her mother

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