Welcome to our Book Club.
It’s 1944 and sixteen-year-old ballerina and gymnast Edith Eger is sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.
The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience. The Choice is her unforgettable story.
Oh what a story....
“Just remember o one can take away from you what you’ve put in your mind”
In a dark cattle wagon on the way to Auschwitz these are the words that 16 year old Edith’s mother speaks to her. Words that for the rest of her life she will continue to return to and draw strength from. In 1944 in Nazi occupied Hungary,Jewish 16 year old Edith (an aspiring ballerina and gymnast) her sister Magda and her parents are sent to Auschwitz. It is there that Edith is selected by ‘Angel of Death’ Joseph Mengele to entertain him by dancing. In her mind Edith is no longer at the barracks, but instead dancing and twirling on the stage at the Budapest Opera House in Romeo and Juliet.
In appreciation, Mengele gives her a loaf of bread, which in turn she shares with the other girls. An act of kindness she could never have known would save her life.
After moving from camp to camp, enduring brutal treatment and witnessing the most inhuman acts no one should ever have to see , Edith weighing no more than 70lbs is pulled barely alive from a pile of corpses by an American GI.
Decades later Edith has become Dr Eger a renowned psychologist, helping many victims of trauma, drawing on her pain and suffering, as she holds their hands trying to find light in the darkness. Dr Edith Eva Eger’s story is truly remarkable. Remarkable in itself that she was 90 years old when she wrote it. the book is all about the choice, between living and dying, between forgiving or forgetting.
Throughout the book Edith often talks about choices. There is a very valuable lesson to learn from Edith, that it is very harmful to your well being to keep ruminating over painful experiences from the past.
As Edith says
“Here you are! In the sacred present. I can’t heal you or anyone- but I can celebrate your choice to dismantle the prison in your mind brick by brick. You can’t change what happened, you can’t change what you did or what was done to you. But you can choose how you live NOW.
My precious, you can choose to be free.”
This book was a small exercise in self-help, disguised as a memoir.
I Highly recommend this compelling and truly inspirational memoir.
Our next book is Do No Harm by Henry Marsh