The Beautiful Days of My Youth

by Ana Novac

Fifteen-year-old Ana Novac, a Hungarian Jew, spent the months between June and November,... read more

Fifteen-year-old Ana Novac, a Hungarian Jew, spent the months between June and November, 1994, in Auschwitz and Plaszow, two Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Ana was imprisoned in eight camps altogether throughout the war, but during that six month period in 1944, she used pencil stubs, camouflage paper, the backs of posters, scraps of newspaper and anything else she could find to keep a journal, hiding the pages she had written inside shoes. This is Ana's journal, astonishing for the maturity of its writing and the freshness and individuality of its voice, astounding for her account of the unbelievable cruelty and evil that the Holocaust embodied. Ana skill's at conveying the personalities of those around her, both prisoners and guards, and her breathtaking depths of expression, make this a rich reading experience. Ana's own personality shines in her words--her spirit, and even her humor, were not yet exhausted at this time. Ana found the pages of this diary years after she had blocked as much of her wartime experience as she could from her mind. She reconstructed the pages, often using a magnifying glass to decipher the painfully tiny script, in Hungarian, and later worked on a French translation. How much has been gained in that translation, and in the subsequent translation into English, for readers around the world, for whom there can never be too many testaments to the horror of that time. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

show less