Holocaust Educational Trust Ambassador Blog

Review - The Choice

The Choice by Dr Edith Eger is an incredible story of courage and emotional triumph. Edith was just sixteen years old when she arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau. She experienced the unimaginable, and was even made to dance for Josef Mengele (the notorious SS physician known as the ‘Angel of Death’). But so much of Edith’s story is about what happened after the Holocaust, and how she was able to rebuild her life. She writes about her healing journey after her time in Auschwitz and invites readers to reflect on themselves, to understand their experiences, and ultimately, become better human beings.

Throughout the book, Edith constantly looks beyond the self and focuses on the way in which the connections she forged with fellow prisoners in Auschwitz-Birkenau enabled her to survive. Edith uses one particularly moving image to try to help the audience understand her experiences:

“If I could distill my entire life into one moment, into one still image, it is this: Three women in dark wool coats wait, arms linked, in a barren yard. They are exhausted, they have dust on their shoes. They stand in a long line.”

It is a moment of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear. But it is also a moment of solidarity. Three women, standing together, united.

The book is full of small moments of heroism and bravery, both from herself, and from many ordinary people around her, who help to shape her journey and, ultimately, save her life. Despite the adversity that she faced, Edith too prioritised the lives of others before her own, saving the life of her sister. In the present, she shares her story not only to educate others, but to help them too. Edith works as an internationally acclaimed psychologist, primarily treating patients who have survived abusive situations, and soldiers living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She treats all of her patients with the same level of empathy, commitment and care, emphasising that everyone is deserving of healing:

“There is no hierarchy of suffering. There's nothing that makes my pain worse or better than yours.”

This book is more than a memoir recounting dark stories from the Holocaust. It is an exploration of the way in which recognising our common humanity is paramount in creating a better world.

By Evie Robinson and Aiyesha Swarnn