I Didn’t Tell Him I Was Writing This Book

FOREIGN SALESPortugal (Pedra da Lua)

Very little has been heard from those born after the war to parents who had survived the camps. No doubt because until now it was too soon. And no doubt because any public expression – such as was heard most notably during the recent commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz – had to recognise the collective aspect of the event before the children of the deported could feel in their turn authorised to speak out. The book will be purposely restricted to about fifteen personal accounts gathered in the course of in-depth interviews among the most varied subjects possible in terms of age as well as social class and origins. Some, born immediately after the war, knew in their childhood nothing but things left unsaid and later could not rest until this wall of silence had been broken down. Others, born in the 1960s, were able to do this earlier and have been haunted by terrifying images. All speak of the taboo that unconsciously weighs on their own suffering which is inevitably compared to that of their parents. Whether a film-maker, speech therapist, journalist or secretary, they’ve all had to « deal with it ».

Nadine Vasseur was a producer for France Culture’s Panorama from 1982 to 1997. She is also the author of investigative books and reports including Le Poids et la voix (Le temps qu’il fait, 1996) and Il était une fois le Sentier (Liana Levi, 2000) and books on art. Today she writes for several publications: Palace, Ligne 8 (Paris Opera magazine), les Dossiers du Nouvel Observateur.


"Nadine Vasseur offers thirteen stories of children of deportees faced with the silence of the survivors. A longtime producer of France Culture’s ‘Panorama’, Nadine Vasseur, the author of this magnificent book (her seventh), is undoubtedly the best placed to tackle this [subject].  Because she herself is the child of a father who had been deported to Buchenwald (whence the title). But also for the  extraordinary subtlety of the writing with which she renders the thirteen stories that make up this book.  A read which turns preconceived notions on their head." Le Monde