“The Choice”: A review of Dr. Edith Eger’s memoir of life in Auschwitz

By Roni Roseberg

There can be nothing but admiration for a woman who writes a book aged 90 – especially what the author terms a FIRST book.

Dr Edith Eger, Doctor of psychology, now living in California, has given us a gift.

She has woven together a chronicle of her experience as a survivor of WWII concentration camps with her own evolution as a psychologist, drawing heavily on personal experience in her long and fruitful career.

the-choice-9781501130786_hrThe first third of The Choice gives us the necessary background – young Edith’s abrupt break with her comfortable family life as an adolescent in what is now Czechoslovakia, beginning with her nightmarish arrest and internment in the camp, where her parents quickly lose their lives.

She is blessed to be able to remain with one of her two sisters but cursed to meet up with the notorious Nazi, Josef Mengele, the maniacal doctor who forces Edith to dance for him.

After surviving despite enormous odds in the hellish camp, Edith is eventually rescued, literally from a pile of corpses, by an American soldier when the camp is liberated, escaping death by a matter of hours.

The remaining parts of the book include Edith’s immigration to the US, her challenging path adjusting to her new life, and her pivotal decision to study psychology and become a therapist.

Her life experience and the integration of what Dr. Eger learns in her work, form the basis for her transformation.

She graciously and transparently permits us to accompany her in her journey, complete with vivid excerpts of case studies, and her trip back to Europe. Here she advances her spiritual homework, releasing herself from many of the burdens of war and once-necessary survival mechanisms. Thus, she liberates herself a second time.

This is a book of rebirth. From misery, ashes, and the worst degradation of the human spirit, arose Dr. Eger’s philosophy of hope and strength.

In the most dismal of times, she had the ability to see that within us are always positive signs of life. It is this realisation that gave birth to the idea that even when we are stripped of everything, something remains if we cannot recognise it: our capacity to choose how we see a situation, and how we react to it.

We can certainly hope that Dr. Eger graces us with another book!

Credits

Images: Dr Edith Eger © (2020)

Find out more

“The Choice” (2019) – an international bestseller – is available to purchase online at:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

To find out more about Dr Edith Eger, please visit her website.

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