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All the Horrors of War

A Jewish Girl, a British Doctor, and the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen

Bernice Lerner

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The remarkable stories of Rachel Genuth, a poor Jewish teenager from the Hungarian provinces, and Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes, a high-ranking military doctor in the British Second Army, who converge in Bergen-Belsen, where the girl fights for her life and the doctor struggles to save thousands on the brink of death.

On April 15, 1945, Brigadier H. L. Glyn Hughes entered Bergen-Belsen for the first time. Waiting for him were 10,000 unburied, putrefying corpses and 60,000 living prisoners, starving and sick. One month earlier, 15-year-old Rachel Genuth arrived at Bergen-Belsen; deported with her…

The remarkable stories of Rachel Genuth, a poor Jewish teenager from the Hungarian provinces, and Hugh Llewelyn Glyn Hughes, a high-ranking military doctor in the British Second Army, who converge in Bergen-Belsen, where the girl fights for her life and the doctor struggles to save thousands on the brink of death.

On April 15, 1945, Brigadier H. L. Glyn Hughes entered Bergen-Belsen for the first time. Waiting for him were 10,000 unburied, putrefying corpses and 60,000 living prisoners, starving and sick. One month earlier, 15-year-old Rachel Genuth arrived at Bergen-Belsen; deported with her family from Sighet, Transylvania, in May of 1944, Rachel had by then already endured Auschwitz, the Christianstadt labor camp, and a forced march through the Sudetenland. In All the Horrors of War, Bernice Lerner follows both Hughes and Genuth as they move across Europe toward Bergen-Belsen in the final, brutal year of World War II.

The book begins at the end: with Hughes's searing testimony at the September 1945 trial of Josef Kramer, commandant of Bergen-Belsen, along with forty-four SS (Schutzstaffel) members and guards. "I have been a doctor for thirty years and seen all the horrors of war," Hughes said, "but I have never seen anything to touch it." The narrative then jumps back to the spring of 1944, following both Hughes and Rachel as they navigate their respective forms of wartime hell until confronting the worst: Christianstadt's prisoners, including Rachel, are deposited in Bergen-Belsen, and the British Second Army, having finally breached the fortress of Germany, assumes control of the ghastly camp after a negotiated surrender. Though they never met, it was Hughes's commitment to helping as many prisoners as possible that saved Rachel's life.

Drawing on a wealth of sources, including Hughes's papers, war diaries, oral histories, and interviews, this gripping volume combines scholarly research with narrative storytelling in describing the suffering of Nazi victims, the overwhelming presence of death at Bergen-Belsen, and characters who exemplify the human capacity for fortitude. Lerner, Rachel's daughter, has special insight into the torment her mother suffered. The first book to pair the story of a Holocaust victim with that of a liberator, All the Horrors of War compels readers to consider the full, complex humanity of both.

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All the Horrors of War

Bernice Lerner

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Reviews

Reviews

Lerner's approach succeeds in giving a well-rounded view of World War II that looks at both military and medical strategy alongside a human story that shows some of the best and worst of humanity... Lerner effectively balances two very different accounts surrounding a traumatic time in history. For fans of both military history and biography.

Bernice Lerner has provided us the opportunity to see what results when one woman's will to survive and one man's humanity are combined.

All the Horrors of War is a valuable addition to the body of Holocaust histories and memoirs for shining a light on a not well-known historical figure... The alternating structure of the book, where the narrative moves back and forth between the lives of the rescued and the rescuer, enables the author to tell both a deeply personal story, as well as a profoundly important historical one, reminding us that history is, ultimately, always personal.

A thoroughly-research, poignant book.

Dr. Lerner masterfully combines the fruits of her scholarly research with gripping and engaging storytelling.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
280
ISBN
9781421437705
Illustration Description
26 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Prologue
First Witness, The Belsen Trial (Fall 1945)
Spring (March, April, May) 1944
Summer (June, July, August) 1944
Fall (September, October, November) 1944
Winter (December, January, February) 1944-1945

Prologue
First Witness, The Belsen Trial (Fall 1945)
Spring (March, April, May) 1944
Summer (June, July, August) 1944
Fall (September, October, November) 1944
Winter (December, January, February) 1944-1945
Spring (March, April, May) 1945
Seasons After: Healing and Redemption
Epilogue

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Bernice Lerner

Bernice Lerner, the daughter of Rachel Genuth, is a senior scholar at Boston University's Center for Character and Social Responsibility. She is the author of The Triumph of Wounded Souls: Seven Holocaust Survivors' Lives and a coeditor of Happiness and Virtue beyond East and West: Toward a New Global Responsibility.