Etty Hillesum's diaries under the title An Interrupted Life ; Het vestoorde leven: Dagboek van Etty Hillesum, , are one of the treasures of world literature. They were written by Hillesum from age 27 to She wrote them from the very beginning with publication in mind, which accounts for the elegant style of her rhetoric. Prior to her internment in Westerbork and her subsequent deportation to Auschwitz, she gave the diaries to a friend in the hope that they would be published even if she did not survive.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Eva Hoffman Foreword by. For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman.
In the darkest years of Nazi occupation and genocide, Etty Hillesum remained a celebrant of life whose lucid intelligence, sympathy, and almost impossible gallantry were themselves a form of inner resistance. The adult counterpart to A For the first time, Etty Hillesum's diary and letters appear together to give us the fullest possible portrait of this extraordinary woman.
The adult counterpart to Anne Frank, Hillesum testifies to the possibility of awareness and compassion in the face of the most devastating challenge to one's humanity. She died at Auschwitz in at the age of twenty-nine.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published November 15th by Owl Books first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about An Interrupted Life , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4.
Rating details. Sort order. I highly anticipated reading this long book that has been likened to Anne Frank's diary and tells of a young woman's life in occupied Amsterdam but after pages I gave up. Skimming further towards the end it seemed to go in a similar vein to the first pages. Etty writes endlessly about being in love with different men at the same time, nothing of interest about the love triangles, just endless talk of her feelings for this or that man, endlessly talking about how in love she is interspers I highly anticipated reading this long book that has been likened to Anne Frank's diary and tells of a young woman's life in occupied Amsterdam but after pages I gave up.
Etty writes endlessly about being in love with different men at the same time, nothing of interest about the love triangles, just endless talk of her feelings for this or that man, endlessly talking about how in love she is interspersed with prayers and bible readings, it seems Etty was a Christian and a Jew but really nothing about life in occupied Holland.
At the end of the book are letters Etty sent from a concentration camp, obviously these are not included in my rating, any personal letters from such a situation are beyond rating.
I'm afraid to say I found the diary really boring. View all 13 comments. Aug 03, Ade Bailey rated it it was amazing Shelves: biography-autobiography , psychology , spirit. The writing is wonderfully alive. It is like having a conversation. That Etty Hillesum was a young Jewish woman suffering the terrors of Nazi occupied Holland and finally the death camp, that she was engaged in the most peculiar relationship with therapist Julius Spier, that her age, circumstance, background and education are so different from my own, I feel makes no impact on the sense of my conversing with a contemporary.
Her psychological insights, particularly her guards against vanity, self The writing is wonderfully alive. Her psychological insights, particularly her guards against vanity, self-preoccupation, depression, and lack of centred stability seem for me the best I have read. Her spirituality, simply by being expressed obliquely, seems in that expression to suggest the universality of a genuine inner life as guide and comforter which is so important today, as it was then, when we are assailed by 'spiritual entertainment', 'spiritual' selfishness, 'spiritual' hedonism.
Her gradual acceptance of suffering and dread as part of the whole of her Being is marked equally as genuine precisely by its being itself glimpsed by her obliquely, partially, through eyes misted with doubt and distrust: never did it become a lump of proud truth, a mere formulaic centre or hieroglyphic scribble of empty nonsense. She seemed the best of humanbeingness. And she has returned me to Rilke. As the diary crosses over into her letters from Westerbork, the transit camp where Jews were brought en route to the concentration camps, the pathos becomes almost unbearable.
It is in the tiny details. She becomes overwhelmed by the madness, the horror, the dread, the continuous losses, the ever-increasing scarcities, bureaucratic randomness, yet still has moments where she wonders at the beauty of the world while witnessing mass murder before her eyes.
I can't recommend this book to anybody, It must come by chance or fortune. You get to witness not a memoir, a looking back, but a situation where the writing and thinking make up the situation itself. View all 3 comments. Oct 11, Kirsten rated it it was amazing. The record of a beautiful, questioning soul who sees life as whole and meaningful, even when it's most visibly divided and meaningless.
She kept the diary in the two years before she was sent to Westerbork camp and then sent letters from the camp in the year before she was sent to Auschwitz and died there. She is humble and proud and fearless and scared and yearning, entirely human and brimming over. For the one word that sums up everything within The record of a beautiful, questioning soul who sees life as whole and meaningful, even when it's most visibly divided and meaningless. For the one word that sums up everything within me, the overflowing and rich sense of life.
But perhaps You did, and so I shall wait patiently until the words have grown inside me, the words that proclaim how good and beautiful it is to live in Your world, oh God, despite everything we human beings do to one another.
The few big things that matter in life are what we have to keep in mind; the rest can be quietly abandoned. And you can find those few big things anywhere, you have to keep rediscovering them in yourself so that you can be renewed. Mar 28, Lorraine rated it it was amazing Shelves: reading-list , reading-list If I could only take 10 books with me to a deserted island, this would be one. She is brilliant and outgoing and living life to the full, when Hitler's ugly shadow begins to fall over her world.
The struggles and dramas that ensue highlight the development of her soul into a loving and courageous being,who was able to write, even as the net drew tighter around her: "I know that those who hate hav If I could only take 10 books with me to a deserted island, this would be one. The struggles and dramas that ensue highlight the development of her soul into a loving and courageous being,who was able to write, even as the net drew tighter around her: "I know that those who hate have good reason to do so.
But why should we always have to choose the cheapest and easiest way? It has been brought home forcibly to me here how every atom of hatred added to the world makes it an even more inhospitable place. And I believe, childishly perhaps but stubbornly, that the earth will become habitable again only through the love that the Jew Paul described to the citzens of Corinth in the thirteenth chapter of his first letter.
Shelves: nonfiction , diaries , wwii , letters. They are devastating, uplifting, and above all distinctive. Her voice comes through so clearly and powerfully, as she initially describes her daily life in Amsterdam and then in the Westerbork labour camp.
Her final letter was a postcard thrown from the train that took her to Auschwitz, where she, her parents, and her brother were killed in As circumstances for Jews in The Netherlands deteriorated, she attempted to protect her family and friends, while retaining an incredible inner strength.
Her spirituality appears from her writing quite bible-centric, yet her view of suffering recalled Buddhism. How strange that a book chronicling one of the most horrific crimes against humanity should remind me of such a title!
In that dialogue, the essential similarity between Christian prayer and Buddhist meditation is emphasised. Etty Hillesum cultivated habits of introspection and prayer that seem a lot like meditation and her acceptance of suffering while rejecting hatred echoes the Dalai Lama. For example, she wrote in Does this mean I am never sad, that I never rebel, always acquiesce, and love life no matter what the circumstances?
No, far from it. I believe that I know and share the many sorrows and sad circumstances that a human being can experience, but I do not cling to them, I do not prolong such moments of agony.
They pass through me, like life itself, as a broad, eternal stream, they become part of that stream, and life continues. And as a result all my strength is preserved, does not become tagged on to futile sorrow or rebelliousness. Her diary and letters confront the reader with complex questions about the nature of resistance in extreme circumstances. Etty refused opportunities to potentially escape or hide, despite knowing that if she stayed in Westerbrok she would almost certainly be transported to Poland and killed.
Her love of life, even the horribly degrading life inside the camp, did not prevent her accepting death. Etty wrote this extraordinary passage shortly before being sent to Westerbork: I shall always be able to stand on my own two feet even when they are planted on the hardest soil of the harshest reality. And my acceptance is not indifference or helplessness.
I feel deep moral indignation at a regime that treats human beings in such a way. But events have become too overwhelming and too demonic to be stemmed with personal resentment and bitterness. These responses strike me as being utterly childish and unequal to the fateful course of events.
It is not as if I want to fall into the arms of destruction with a resigned smile — far from it. I am only bowing to the inevitable, and even as I do so I am sustained by the certain knowledge that ultimately they cannot rob us of anything that matters. They keep telling me that someone like me has a duty to go into hiding, because I have so many things to do in life, so much to give.
But I know that whatever I may have to give to others, I can give it no matter where I am, here in the circle of my friends or over there, in a concentration camp. And it is sheer arrogance to think oneself too good to share the fate of the masses.
An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941-1943; and Letters from Westerbork
Esther "Etty" Hillesum 15 January — 30 November was the Dutch author of confessional letters and diaries which describe both her religious awakening and the persecutions of Jewish people in Amsterdam during the German occupation. In she was deported and killed in Auschwitz concentration camp. Esther Etty Hillesum was born on 15 January in her family home in the town of Middelburg , the oldest of the three children — she had two brothers, Jacob or 'Jaap' — and Michael or 'Mischa' — — of Levi Hillesum — and Riva Bernstein — After completing school, in she moved to Amsterdam to study law and Slavic languages. There she met Hendrik Hans J. Wegerif with whom she had a relationship that she describes in her diaries.