Description of But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens
“You might come back, because you’re young, but I will not come back.”—Marceline Loridan’s father to her, 1944
A runaway bestseller in France, But You Did Not Come Back has already been the subject of a French media storm and hailed as an important new addition to the library of books dealing with the Holocaust. It is the profoundly moving and poetic memoir by Marceline Loridan-Ivens, who at the age of fifteen was arrested in occupied France, along with her father. Later, in the camps, he managed to smuggle a note to her, a sign of life that made all the difference to Marceline—but he died in the Holocaust, while Marceline survived.
In But You Did Not Come Back, Marceline writes back to her father, the man whose death overshadowed her whole life. Although her grief never diminished in its intensity, Marceline ultimately found her calling, working as both an activist and a documentary filmmaker. But now, as France and Europe in general faces growing anti-Semitism, Marceline feels pessimistic about the future.
Her testimony is a memorial, a confrontation, and a deeply affecting personal story of a woman whose life was shattered and never totally rebuilt.
My Thoughts On But You Did Not Come Back by Marceline Loridan-Ivens
I have read many fictional, non-fiction, and memoirs about the Holocaust. I just can’t seem to get enough of the subject. I think it is a deer in the headlights kind of thing, I keep wondering how humanity can let this happen. Yet, similar things keep happening to this day. How is shooting or bombing mass amounts of people, much different than making them work in forced labor and then gassing them to death so different? I personally don’t think it is. They are all evil.
In ‘But You Did Not Come Back’, 15 year old Marceline Loridan-Ivens is taken with her father from France to the camps during WWII and the Holocaust. They are in neighboring camps and her father manages to get a note to her which lifts her spirits. She is relieved to know he is still alive. However, by the time she is rescued, she finds out he did not make it.
When she returns to France she is reunited with her mother and other family members who were able to hide when her father and herself were taken. They can’t possibly understand what she went though and it was hard for her to relate to them the same way as before. It is hard for her to just go on as if nothing had ever happened. However, she does find a way to move on.
Marceline Loridan-Ivens writes a poetic almost meditative account of her experience during the Holocaust. It is deeply moving and had me in tears, in parts. However, She is a survivor and an inspiration to us all! She has gone on to work as an actress, a screenwriter, and a director.
I received the ebook version via Net Galley for my honest review.
About Marceline Loridan-Ivens
Marceline Loridan-Ivens was born in 1928. She has worked as an actress, a screenwriter, and a director. She directed “The Birch-Tree Meadow” in 2003, starring Anouk Aimee, as well as several documentaries with Joris Ivens.
About Sandra Smith
Sandra Smith is the translator of “Suite Francaise” and eleven other novels by Irene Nemirovsky, as well as a new translation of Camus s “L Etranger.” She has been awarded the French-American Florence Gould Foundation Translation Prize and the PEN Translation Prize. She lives in New York.”