The Choice

The Choice


In 1944, sixteen-year-old Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. There she endured unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele.

During her time there, her bravery helped her sister to survive and led to her bunkmates rescuing her during a death march.

When their camp was liberated, Edith was pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

In The Choice, Edith Eger shares her life, remarkable because her years in the concentration camp encouraged her to find a hope and resilience that most of us would never think was possible.

Our Review

The Choice by Edith Eger is a beautiful book. When she was just 16 years old Dr Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz with her parents and her sister, by that evening she was an orphan. The Choice tells the reader about the ordeals she faced at Auschwitz but also how she was ultimately able to forgive her captors and most importantly to forgive herself.

The Choice is not just a sad book it is a book filled with hope.

After Auschwitz Edith Eger was able to use her experiences to aid her in her work as a psychologist but also how her past continued to haunt her.

“My past still haunted me: an anxious, dizzy feeling every time I heard sirens, or heavy footsteps, or shouting. But over time I learned that I can choose how to respond to the past. I can be miserable, or I can be hopeful. I can be depressed, or I can be happy. We always have the choice, that opportunity for control.”

For years she chose not to talk about her past even with her children but at some point, she realised that while she held on tight to her the secrets of the past they still had a hold on her as well.

The author doesn’t want people to hear her story and think how much worse she has suffered or that your suffering is insignificant. She wants to inspire, to show that if she can survive and thrive then anyone can.

Edith emphasises that everything in her life has been about choices in one way or another and that every choice is significant.

She talks about life with her family before they were sent to Auschwitz and anti-Semitism wasn’t a construct of the Nazi’s.

“Growing up. I internalised a sense of inferiority and the belief that it was safer not to admit that I was Jewish, that it was safer to assimilate, to blend in, to never stand out. It was difficult to find a sense of identity and belonging.”

When the Nazi’s came for them they were only allowed one suitcase between the four of them. Her mother filled it with practical things like food. Before they left each other for the last time her mother imparted on her a final wisdom which would come in useful ‘No one can take away what you have in your mind.’

In the early days at Auschwitz she was asked to dance for Dr Mengele, The Angel of Death.

“As I dance, I discover a piece of wisdom that I have never forgotten. I will never know what miracle of grace allows me this insight. It will save my life many times, even after the horror is over. I can see that Dr Mengale, the seasoned killer who just this morning murdered my mother, is more pitiful than me. I am free in my mind which he can never be. He will always have to live with what he’s done. He is more a prisoner than I am.”

For the author life after the Nazis was a struggle in its own way. Not only did she have to deal with the loss of her parents and many other people she knew but she also had to deal with many other losses such as the fact that her parents would never see her walk down the aisle or meet their grandchildren.

The most important message of The Choice is one that can apply to other situations as well.

“We can choose to be our own jailors, or we can choose to be free.”

This was a well-written and inspirational book.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

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