Questions I Am Asked about the Holocaust
One of the few remaining living Holocaust survivors answers the questions children ask her
"There are no stupid questions, nor any forbidden ones, but there are some questions that have no answer."
Hédi Fried was nineteen when the Nazis snatched her family from their home in Eastern Europe and transported them to Auschwitz, where she and her sister were forced into hard labor until the end of the war.
Now ninety-eight, she has spent her life educating young people about the Holocaust and answering their questions about one of the darkest periods in human history. Questions like, "How was it to live in the camps?" "Did you dream at night?" "Why did Hitler hate the Jews?" "Do you see yourself in today's refugees?" and "Can you forgive?"
With sensitivity and complete candor, Fried answers these questions and more in this deeply human book that urges us never to forget and never to repeat.
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About the Author
Hédi Fried (1924-2022) was an author and psychologist. She was deeply committed to working for democratic values and against racism. She was born in the town of Sighet, in Romania, was transported to Auschwitz in 1944, and worked in several labour camps, eventually ending up in Bergen-Belsen. After liberation, she moved to Sweden with her sister.
Her bestselling autobiography, Fragments of a Life: the road to Auschwitz, was published in English and Swedish in the 1990s.
Alice E. Olsson is a literary translator, writer, and editor working across Swedish and English. She has served as the Cultural Affairs Adviser at the Embassy of Sweden in London and is the recipient of a fellowship as well as multiple grants from the Swedish Arts Council. In 2020, she was shortlisted for the Peirene Stevns Translation Prize. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Comparative Literature at University College London, specializing in literature and human rights.
"Something like what Anne Frank might have written had she survived...Timeless lessons taught with simple eloquence."
"It is the telling detail that gives her testimony its particular power...This little book, with its reminder "there are no stupid questions, nor any forbidden ones, but there are some...that have no answer", is a moving record of one woman's experience."
--Nick Rennison, The Sunday Times
"Fried was 19 when she and her family were sent from Hungary to Auschwitz. Her parents were murdered, but she and her sister survived. They both made a home in Sweden and, ever since, Fried, now 94, has talked to students about her experiences. This slim but powerful volume, sensitively translated by Alice Olsson, comprises answers to the questions she is most frequently asked, such as: "Why did you not fight back?" and "What helped you to survive?", "Are you able to forgive?" Fried answers with humanity, candour and thoughtfulness in a book that should be required reading for all young people."
--Hannah Beckerman, The Guardian
"This is terrific in that I was utterly engrossed in not only what questions are asked of Hedi but the astute and depthful way she answers them. I began to read the other evening and went all the way to the end before putting this book down. It's also potent in the ways our author touches on current issues with how we treat 'others' as to how we become divided and in worst case hurtful to those unlike ourselves. a big thumbs up and NOT just for the younger generation!"
--Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's Books
"Through questions she has been asked most, "Questions I Am Asked About The Holocaust" is a stoically raw and deeply human account of the author's experiences throughout the Holocaust and surviving Auschwitz. An important, wise, and extremely powerful book."
--Amanda Zirn Hudson, Bethany Beach Books
"While Questions I Am Asked About the Holocaust is very easy to read, the questions it raises are very hard to answer. Fried, in simple, straightforward prose, answers questions that children have asked her about her experiences. A must-have for parents, but be prepared to answer some hard questions yourself."
--Lee Virden Geurkink, Monkey and Dog Books
"Fried, who has written a memoir about her imprisonment at Auschwitz, has complied a book with answers to some of the most common questions posed to her by students she meets during her visits with schools to inform and educate people about the horrors she and millions of others faced at the hands of the Nazis. The questions are often simple, as children's questions often are, but Fried's answers are anything but as she describes how insidious evil is and how easily the masses are fooled into falling for the lies and prejudices of a government looking for a scapegoat. Fried's words are especially important in the growing age of nationalism and ignorance. A book that belongs in every library, school and public in the country and one that should be required reading for our elected officials."
--Rosemary Smith, Williams Library, Oakland, Maine
"[S]ince these questions come from children, they quickly reach a level of intimacy that most adults would be afraid to venture into...Questions I Am Asked About the Holocaust is a collection of Hédi's gentle, honest answers to these questions over the years. With sensitivity and complete candor, Fried answers these questions and more in this deeply human book that urges us never to forget and never to repeat."
--The Jewish Standard, Ontario
Praise for The Road to Auschwitz:
"Fried's tale is not solely one of suffering. She is a survivor, and this is a testimony to the ingenuity and luck that contributed to her survival and that of her sister and friends. As Fried reminds us: 'We must tell of this inhuman thing that was done in the twentieth century. It must not be forgotten.'"
"[Fried's] grim struggle to survive death and labour camps and the start of her brave efforts to create a meaningful life in Sweden are recounted with vivid and deeply moving simplicity."