I Have Lived a Thousand Years



by Livia Bitton-Jackson

Published 1999

In this autobiographical story, the author recounts her perspective of World War II as a Czechoslovakian Jewess.  She was 13 years old when the Germans invaded her country (in 1944).  Her story tells of the swift disintegration of her family’s quality of life, and the eventual separation as they were sent to concentration camps.  Through a series of events, Elli was able to stay with her mother throughout their terrible adventures.  The book covers a little over a year of time–they were liberated in 1945.

It is, obviously, a sad book.  And yet, like so many books about the Holocaust, it manages to offer hope, as well.  This story was very readable, with short chapters and a flowing narrative.

Perhaps the saddest part of the book, in a strange way, came after the liberation.  Returning home to find it not home-like at all.  Eventually, Elli and her (surviving) family immigrated to the United States.  This part of her life is recounted in a sequel to I Have Lived a Thousand Years, which I have checked out of the library to read soon, as well.