And Peace Never Came
“It is Easter Sunday, April 1945, early in the morning, maybe just dawn. We stand still, like frozen grey statues. Us. Seven hundred and thirty women, wrapped in wet, grey, threadbare blankets, standing in the rain. Our blankets hang over our heads, drape down to the soil. We hold them closed with our hands from the inside, leaving only a small opening to peer out, so that we save the precious warmth of our breath. ” (from Chapter 5)
So begins the author’s sojourn, her search for freedom that begins with the chaotic barrenness in which she found herself after her liberation on Easter Sunday, April 1945, and takes her across several continents and half a lifetime.
Raab paints a brief yet moving picture of her idyllic life before her internment and the shock and the horrors of Auschwitz, but it is in the images of life after her liberation, that Raab imparts her most poignant story — a story told in a clear, almost sparse, always honest style, a story of the brutal, and, at times, the beautiful facts of human nature.
This book will appeal to a number of audiences — to readers interested in human nature under the most trying circumstances, to historians of World War II or Jewish history, to veterans and their families who lived through World War II, and to those interested in politics and the evils of political extremism.
- Short-listed, Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction 1998
- Winner, Canadian Jewish Book Award for Best Holocaust Memoir 1999
"It is beautifully written -- very powerful in its eye for detail and the stark simplicity of the narrative style. "- June Callwood
"And Peace Never Came is an arresting memoir, written with a strong voice that suggests the very act of writing was part of Raab's quest to understand her own self and the Holocaust's impact on her. "- William H. Wiley, Canadian Military History
"[Raab's] art has a taut energy, an honesty, that is persuasive and invigorating. ...[T]he high quality of this manuscript suggests a publication of considerable importance. "- Stephanie Walker
"Told in hauntingly simple prose, this autobiographical novel describer Elisabth `Boske' Raab's experiences in Auschwitz and afterwards with what sometimes seems like detachment—the reader only fully realizes the depth of Raab's pain by listening to her silences. ... In every silence and behind every word, are faces, voices, and unspoken memories. ...And Peace Never Came teaches the student and the interested reader that it is too easy, over fifty years later, to rest comfortably in the image of the Holocaust as a story with a beginning and an ending. ...It is too easy to believe that the pain ended in 1945. Raab's novel insists that we recognize, as children and grandchildren of survivors and persecutors and spectators, that the Holocaust is not simply a `story'; it does not hold a singular ultimately redeeming `message' for humanity. The painful legacy left by the Holocaust asks that we listen, that we resist, and that we remain aware. And Peace Never Came allows us that opportunity. "- Kate Wood, Canadian Children's Literature, No. 95, Vol. 25:3, Fall 1999
"Elisabeth M. Raab's haunting, terse, and beautiful memoir seeks not to impress the reader with all she has seen or heard of the momentous events of her life, but with what she has seen fit to take away. . .. Completely original, ferociously disciplined, Raab, eschewing commentary, insists only on telling her story so that the reader can come to his or her own conclusion. ...This is unforgettable writing. "- Norman Doidge, editor, Books in Canada