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LSU Press

You've Got to Tell Them: A French Girl's Experience of Auschwitz and After

You've Got to Tell Them: A French Girl's Experience of Auschwitz and After

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On a quiet winter night in 1944, as part of their support of the Third Reich's pogrom of European Jews, French authorities arrested Ida Grinspan, a young Jewish girl hiding in a neighbor's home in Nazi-occupied France.

Of the many lessons she would learn after her arrest and the subsequent year and a half in Auschwitz, the most notorious concentration camp of the Holocaust, the first was that "barbarity enters on tiptoes . . . even] in a hamlet where everything seemed to promise the peaceful slumber of places forgotten by history."


Translated by Charles B. Potter, You've Got to Tell Them is the result of a friendship that formed in 1988, when Grinspan returned to visit Auschwitz for the first time since 1945 and where she met Bertrand Poirot-Delpeche, a distinguished writer for the Paris newspaper Le Monde. Sometimes speaking alone, sometimes speaking in close alternation, Grinspan and Poirot-Delpeche simultaneously narrate the story of her survival and the decades that followed, including how she began lecturing in schools and guiding groups that visited the death camps. Replete with pedagogical resources including a discussion of how and why the Holocaust should be taught, a timeline, and suggestions for further reading, Potter's expert translation of You've Got to Tell Them showcases a clear and moving narrative of a young French girl overcoming one of the darkest periods in her life and in European history.

Author: Ida Grinspan, Bertrand Poirot-Delpech
Publisher: LSU Press
Published: 08/20/2018
Pages: 200
Binding Type: Hardcover
Weight: 0.80lbs
Size: 8.40h x 6.10w x 0.80d
ISBN: 9780807169803

Review Citation(s):
Choice 02/01/2019

About the Author

The daughter of Polish Jews, Ida Grinspan was born in Paris in 1929. At age fourteen, she was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. Although both of her parents were murdered there, she survived and left the camp in 1945.


Bertrand Poirot-Delpech (1929-2006) was a longtime journalist for Le Monde as well as an accomplished novelist. He was elected to the Académie française in 1986.


Charles B. Potter is professor of history at the Institute for American Universities in Aix-en-Provence, France, and the editor of The Resistance, 1940: An Anthology of Writings from the French Underground.
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