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I Remember Nothing More: The Warsaw Children's Hospital and the Jewish Resistance

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The author was a young Jewish doctor at the children's hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1940 to 1942. When the hospital was forced to close the children that had survived were taken to the death-camps. Blady-Szwajger became a reluctant courier for the resistance. She left the ghetto and began to carry paper money pinned into her clothing to those in hiding. She and her f The author was a young Jewish doctor at the children's hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1940 to 1942. When the hospital was forced to close the children that had survived were taken to the death-camps. Blady-Szwajger became a reluctant courier for the resistance. She left the ghetto and began to carry paper money pinned into her clothing to those in hiding. She and her flat-mate pretended to be good-time girls having fun and threw parties to disguise the coming and going of their male visitors. This heroic memoir pays tribute to all the men and women who paid with their lives for the safety of others.


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The author was a young Jewish doctor at the children's hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1940 to 1942. When the hospital was forced to close the children that had survived were taken to the death-camps. Blady-Szwajger became a reluctant courier for the resistance. She left the ghetto and began to carry paper money pinned into her clothing to those in hiding. She and her f The author was a young Jewish doctor at the children's hospital in the Warsaw Ghetto from 1940 to 1942. When the hospital was forced to close the children that had survived were taken to the death-camps. Blady-Szwajger became a reluctant courier for the resistance. She left the ghetto and began to carry paper money pinned into her clothing to those in hiding. She and her flat-mate pretended to be good-time girls having fun and threw parties to disguise the coming and going of their male visitors. This heroic memoir pays tribute to all the men and women who paid with their lives for the safety of others.

30 review for I Remember Nothing More: The Warsaw Children's Hospital and the Jewish Resistance

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    Adina Blady Szwajger's memoir of her life in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation reads like an interview. She was old and ill when she finally decided to tell her story and she does it without any filters or artistry often admitting to being confused about chronology and detail. There's a sense of both rawness and hurry as if she's frightened of dying before finishing her story. She was a nurse in one of the children's hospitals in the ghetto and after the deportations and the uprising worked for Adina Blady Szwajger's memoir of her life in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation reads like an interview. She was old and ill when she finally decided to tell her story and she does it without any filters or artistry often admitting to being confused about chronology and detail. There's a sense of both rawness and hurry as if she's frightened of dying before finishing her story. She was a nurse in one of the children's hospitals in the ghetto and after the deportations and the uprising worked for the Jewish underground outside the ghetto. Her young husband can't stand the strain of hiding anymore and when the Gestapo offer a limited number of Jews passage to Palestine for a large sum of money he volunteers. All these Jews were taken immediately to Auschwitz. Five stars all the way to Adina who comes across as an amazing young woman. However, I think this is a book for readers who already have some knowledge of the events in Warsaw during WW2 and not a good place to start because of its fragmented nature. She explains at the end why she didn't try to write her memoirs earlier and you realise just how heavy a burden her memories have been to her throughout her life.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Meaghan

    This is one of the most haunting Holocaust memoirs I've read, and I've read a lot of them. The author was a newly minted pediatrician at the Warsaw Ghetto Children's Hospital and went on to sneak over to the Aryan side of the city and join the resistance. Curiously, she writes little about herself -- you know nothing about her life before the war and next to nothing about her family, though she does describe her husband's death and mentions that her mother was deported to Treblinka. To mention ju This is one of the most haunting Holocaust memoirs I've read, and I've read a lot of them. The author was a newly minted pediatrician at the Warsaw Ghetto Children's Hospital and went on to sneak over to the Aryan side of the city and join the resistance. Curiously, she writes little about herself -- you know nothing about her life before the war and next to nothing about her family, though she does describe her husband's death and mentions that her mother was deported to Treblinka. To mention just one of the searing episodes in this story: During the liquidation of the ghetto, as the Nazis were shooting patients and throwing into trucks those that could still walk, Dr. Szwajger went to the tuberculosis ward and gave the children each an overdose of morphine, telling them it would take their pain away. She had promised to stay with the children until the end, so she waited until they all went to sleep, then she ran for her life. But decades later she was haunted by the thought that maybe one or two of them woke up later, alone. Though this book is frustratingly vague at times and it ends abruptly, I think if I could recommend only five books to someone who wanted to learn about what the Holocaust was like, I Remember Nothing More would be one of them. I applaud the author for her courage to finally tell her story. Very few people are left alive who remember it firsthand; Dr. Szwajger herself died in 1993.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kata Bitowt

    Książka, jak skrawki czarnych latawców, przyniesione wiatrem zza murów getta do jadących na karuzeli w czas pięknej warszawskiej niedzieli. Cieszę się, że została napisana.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Eva Marie

    This is one of the most powerful memoirs I've read in my lifetime - easily. The fact that the author didn't put much stock in her writing is amazing to me. Almost as amazing as her story. Her story is far different than the "average" Holocaust memoir in that Blady-Szwajgier's experience was not in a concentration camp. Which isn't to say her life during this time was any less terrifying. You don't want to miss this memoir! This is one of the most powerful memoirs I've read in my lifetime - easily. The fact that the author didn't put much stock in her writing is amazing to me. Almost as amazing as her story. Her story is far different than the "average" Holocaust memoir in that Blady-Szwajgier's experience was not in a concentration camp. Which isn't to say her life during this time was any less terrifying. You don't want to miss this memoir!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    When the war broke out on 1 September 1939 Adina Blady Szwajger was a 22-year-old student in her 16th term at the Faculty of Medicine, Warsaw University in Poland. She had just been married. She was a Jew. Classes continued up to 4 September 1939 when their professor dismissed them due to the turmoil of war. She and some classmates tried to offer their services to hospitals and first-aid stations but no one needed them there. Eventually, however, she landed in a children’s hospital in Warsaw. Ins When the war broke out on 1 September 1939 Adina Blady Szwajger was a 22-year-old student in her 16th term at the Faculty of Medicine, Warsaw University in Poland. She had just been married. She was a Jew. Classes continued up to 4 September 1939 when their professor dismissed them due to the turmoil of war. She and some classmates tried to offer their services to hospitals and first-aid stations but no one needed them there. Eventually, however, she landed in a children’s hospital in Warsaw. Inside the ghetto. Her description of Warsaw at that time was gripping and there is always suffering during war but consider these: a. she was a young, idealistic woman with motherly instincts; b. a doctor trained to care for the sick and to save lives; c. a Jew and therefore among the hunted; d. in a hospital for sick children, including infants whom the Nazis consider as no better than small mice which must be exterminated; and e. in an occupied country, during wartime and a long period of great want. She was in hell. And this hell she painfully tried to share with the world with passages like: “Every morning, we did the rounds of rooms which were still white but of a whiteness which had become the pallor of death. Every morning, we looked at the distended, deformed bodies, at the expressionless faces, and, with the same horror, we read the ages of those ageless creatures: four, five, six, sometimes ten or twelve. Cavernous eyes stared back at us, eyes so terribly serious and so sad that they seemed to be expressing all the sorrow of two thousand years of Diaspora. Hands lay motionless on the coverlets, children’s tiny hands with bitten fingernails, tanned or pale, those same hands which only a few months back a mother had lovingly kissed and caressed. Children’s hands, always lively and joyful, now powerless and subdued. “xxx “That same day, there was a little boy, maybe eight, maybe ten years old, who had been shot in the liver and there was nothing we could do to help him. Somehow I happened to stand next to him. Just then, he opened his eyes, looked at me and stretched out his hand in which he was clutching fifty groszy (the smallest of Polish coins). He said:’Give it to my mamma’—and died. ‘xxx “I took the morphine upstairs. Dr. Margolis was there and I told her what I wanted to do. So we took a spoon and went to the infants’ room. And just as, during those two years of real work in the hospital, I had bent down over the little beds, so now I poured this last medicine into those tiny mouths. Only Dr. Margolis was with me. And downstairs, there was screaming because the Szaulis (Polish collaborators) and the Germans were already there, taking the sick from the wards to the cattle trucks. “After that we went in to the older children and told them that this medicine was going to make their pain disappear. They believed us and drank the required amount from the glass. And then I told them to undress, get into bed and sleep. So they lay down and after a few minutes—I don’t know how many—but the next time I went into that room, they were asleep. And then I don’t know what happened after that….” Translated from the Polish by Tasja Darowska and Danusia Stok.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christina Sanantonio

    It isn't slick or graceful. It is stark memory, written as remembered, honest and disjointed. Powerful. My favorite passages: " Years have passed since then. Many years. There's no trace in this great modern city of what happened here. Yes, there is a monument. But not even a single fragment remains of the wall which separated one third of the residents from the rest; not a vestige of the stone-desert which they made of the place where people lived, fought and died- people who had been there for It isn't slick or graceful. It is stark memory, written as remembered, honest and disjointed. Powerful. My favorite passages: " Years have passed since then. Many years. There's no trace in this great modern city of what happened here. Yes, there is a monument. But not even a single fragment remains of the wall which separated one third of the residents from the rest; not a vestige of the stone-desert which they made of the place where people lived, fought and died- people who had been there for a thousand years. Not a single burnt -down house from whose windows mothers had thrown their children and jumped after them. Sometimes I walk through that new modern neighborhood, along pavements which cover the bones of those who were burnt there. I look up at the sky where my house and all the other houses once stood. When I close my eyes the streets become familiar again. A crowd of people wander among the shadows of houses and, clearly, as if they were real, I hear the voices of children, crying in that other language, " Hob rachmunes!" Have mercy! Sometimes I come to Sienna or Sliska Street. I look at the hospital gate, peer through the railings and see that the Paradise apple trees that used to blossom there have gone. the hospital does not bear the name that it should. But I close my eyes. And the gate opens-the one on Sliska Street where once the homeless child had stripped naked-and all the people who disappeared pass through it. There is the Head Doctor, in her white gown doing her last rounds,and behind her the doctors, nurses and orderlies, then the administrators and Dr. Kroszczor, who carefully closes the gate behind him. I know that they've left everything as it should be and that Dola Keilson has swept all the floors.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Noelle

    Difficult to follow the writing, but a remarkable book about the terrors we should never forget

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe Borg

    As the author herself also admits these memoirs are fragmented and incomplete. However this does not diminish from this work since I believe that this was partly because they were written after a long time and also since they evoke memories which the author does not wish to remember . Suffice to say that in the book the author mentions that apart from assisting in various abortions which she was in principle against since she was after saving life not killing babies she also had to have an abort As the author herself also admits these memoirs are fragmented and incomplete. However this does not diminish from this work since I believe that this was partly because they were written after a long time and also since they evoke memories which the author does not wish to remember . Suffice to say that in the book the author mentions that apart from assisting in various abortions which she was in principle against since she was after saving life not killing babies she also had to have an abortion herself which left a terrible effect on her .“… Did I have to explain to him that we lived in times in which children didn’t have the right to be born because they should be born to life and not for death… pg 148 On the bunks lay skeletons of children only their eyes were alive …. Until you ve seen such children you do not know what life can be like ,pg 42 The darkest spot is under the lamplight "pg 175 “Hotel Poland “ Pawiak and Gesia prisons Wola and Plocka Street massacres Hanna Maysia Hirszfeld Ascent to Heaven HS Stevens Campo dei Fiori Czeslan Milosz on the burning of Giordano Bruno whilst all around drinking and going on with their life Counter attack by Szlenzel poem on the Warsaw uprising

  9. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    A powerful and important book. Why has this been allowed to fade into obscurity? I Remember Nothing More is a brutal and unflinchingly real portrayal of one Jewish doctor's experiences in the holocaust. Blady-Szwagjer asserts many times that she isn't a writer. If not, she certainly should have been. This woman witnessed atrocities every day. Deportations. Black market abortions. Children and infants dying of starvation. And yet Blady-Szwagjer describes everything in the most detached, matter-of A powerful and important book. Why has this been allowed to fade into obscurity? I Remember Nothing More is a brutal and unflinchingly real portrayal of one Jewish doctor's experiences in the holocaust. Blady-Szwagjer asserts many times that she isn't a writer. If not, she certainly should have been. This woman witnessed atrocities every day. Deportations. Black market abortions. Children and infants dying of starvation. And yet Blady-Szwagjer describes everything in the most detached, matter-of-fact way. But the things she saw and did are sometimes beyond description. Only rated 4 stars because all the jumping around in time made it hard to know what was going on. I also had difficulty keeping track of who everyone was. But there's an appendix at the back that helped with this. It can be slow in places, and the detached tone might turn off some people, but I Remember Nothing More is a book I can't recommend enough. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the holocaust, especially the medical side of it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Leo

    It's striking how reluctant Adina Szwajger is to tell her incredible story. She informs us early on that she was pressured to write down her memories of the Warsaw ghetto late in her life and there are times when it becomes apparent her heart is only half in it. I thought this reluctance provided a constant insight into just how difficult it is for survivors of the Holocaust to speak of their experience. The impossibility of explaining how it came about that I survived when virtually everyone el It's striking how reluctant Adina Szwajger is to tell her incredible story. She informs us early on that she was pressured to write down her memories of the Warsaw ghetto late in her life and there are times when it becomes apparent her heart is only half in it. I thought this reluctance provided a constant insight into just how difficult it is for survivors of the Holocaust to speak of their experience. The impossibility of explaining how it came about that I survived when virtually everyone else I ever knew didn't. It must be profoundly discomforting to know one has been singled out for immunity to the Nazi killing machine.Obviously,luck plays a big part but I think mental resilience was also an enormous factor and this Adina clearly possessed.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Talcott

    An account that quite literally moves you- through the vast eras encompassed within a relatively short number of years that made up the terror of the Holocaust. Mrs. Szwajger conveys her experiences in a way that is so breath-taking and real - there is nothing recited here. A complex and horrifying glimpse of a brave woman. An honor to read. For those with interest in further reading on moral/ethical dilemmas faced by physicians during the holocaust see here: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/ An account that quite literally moves you- through the vast eras encompassed within a relatively short number of years that made up the terror of the Holocaust. Mrs. Szwajger conveys her experiences in a way that is so breath-taking and real - there is nothing recited here. A complex and horrifying glimpse of a brave woman. An honor to read. For those with interest in further reading on moral/ethical dilemmas faced by physicians during the holocaust see here: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/j...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    A wonderfully written memoir of survival and humanity in wartime Warsaw. The author's honesty and sorrow come through so well. I really like her voice, which is so conscious of bearing witness and yet also of helping readers understand. In order to survive, she had to hide her fear, to smile and even laugh during times of great tragedy and danger. Offering medical and crucial courier assistance whenever she could, she endured. I'm grateful that late in life she was finally able to write about wh A wonderfully written memoir of survival and humanity in wartime Warsaw. The author's honesty and sorrow come through so well. I really like her voice, which is so conscious of bearing witness and yet also of helping readers understand. In order to survive, she had to hide her fear, to smile and even laugh during times of great tragedy and danger. Offering medical and crucial courier assistance whenever she could, she endured. I'm grateful that late in life she was finally able to write about what she did and what she saw during those extraordinary times.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I think I've made the mistake of judging all books of this type against "The Diary of Anne Frank" as well as the writers. I didn't care for this book or writings as well as others that I have read like it. I completely respect and honor the writer and what she went through, but this just didn't seem to capture me the way these stories often do. I'm sure the experience of what this person went through was far more intense than how she wrote about it. I think I've made the mistake of judging all books of this type against "The Diary of Anne Frank" as well as the writers. I didn't care for this book or writings as well as others that I have read like it. I completely respect and honor the writer and what she went through, but this just didn't seem to capture me the way these stories often do. I'm sure the experience of what this person went through was far more intense than how she wrote about it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Denise DeRocher

    OMG. Anyone who debunks the Holocaust should be FORCED to read this book - I will say no more.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    The author of this book inspired the fictional character in the book "The Cats in Krasinski Square" which I read recently. The author of this book inspired the fictional character in the book "The Cats in Krasinski Square" which I read recently.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Excellent. Fascinating memoir.

  17. 5 out of 5

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  18. 5 out of 5

    Sheila

  19. 4 out of 5

    Miroslaw Grzesik

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeynifer Maria

  21. 5 out of 5

    Renae

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wiktoria

  23. 5 out of 5

    Małgorzata

  24. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gwendolyn Arral

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nance

  27. 5 out of 5

    Valerie A. Crofoot

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  29. 5 out of 5

    Neil E

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sunny Nash

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