Always Remember Your Name
A True Story of Family and Survival in Auschwitz
by Andra Bucci; Tatiana Bucci
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Pub Date 18 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 18 Jan 2022
Astra Publishing House, Astra House
A haunting WWII memoir of two sisters who survived Auschwitz that picks up where Anne Frank's Diary left off and gives voice to the children we lost.
On March 28, 1944, six-year-old Tati and her four-year-old sister Andra were roused from their sleep and arrested. Along with their mother, Mira, their aunt, and cousin Sergio, they were deported to Auschwitz.
Over 230,000 children were deported to the camp, where Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death, performed deadly experiments on them. Only a few dozen children survived, Tati and Andra among them.
Tati, Andra, and Sergio were separated from their mothers upon arrival. But Mira was determined to keep track of her girls. After being tattooed with their inmate numbers, she made them memorize her number and told them to “always remember your name.” In keeping this promise to their mother, the sisters were able to be reunited with their parents when WWII ended.
An unforgettable narrative of the power of sisterhood in the most extreme circumstances, and of how a mother’s love can overcome the most impossible odds, the Bucci sisters' memoir is a timely reminder that separating families is an inexcusable evil.
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Average rating from 8 members
This is an exceptionally well written memoir about the Holocaust, specifically the horrors inflicted upon twins. Often singled out by Josef Mengele, accounts from twins are rare, because not many made it out.
Always Remember Your Name by Andra and Tatiana Bucci is a haunting and hopeful memoir. In 1944, the two sisters were arrested with their mother, aunt and cousin and deported to Auschwitz. Upon arrival they were separated from their mother but she reinforced the need to “always remember your name”. That their identity couldn’t be taken from them too. It was a message that not only gave the girls strength but helped them to be reunited after the war had ended. Of the 230,000 children deported to Auschwitz only a handful survived including Andra and Tatiana. The memoir is told through their eyes as they were as children which makes their story even more powerful and disorienting as we the reader try to grasp how such a place can be endured and understood by a child. It is also a book about their lives after the war how they were shaped by their experiences but also found the ability to move forward with hope, courage and understanding. It is a remarkable journey. The book beautifully explores the light and shade of the authors story as children who clasped hands in solidarity against darkness and who as adults with their own families now extend a hand to others so that history should never be repeated or forgotten. 4.5 stars ⭐️
On March 28, 1944, Tatiana and her sister Andra, six and four years old respectively, were woken during the night, apprehended by German and Italian soldiers, and banished to Auschwitz, where virtually all children were put to death upon their arrival. Their father was born in Fiume, which is where he met their mother who was Jewish, and although both she and the girls had converted to Catholicism in anticipation of growing antagonism against Jews, they had been exposed by someone. The records show that 29 males, 53 females managed to make it through that day, and for the remaining 103, including their grandmother, and their aunt, that day would be their last.
Their mother, who was separated from them in Auschwitz, managed to visit them often, instilling in them the need to remember their names, ’always remember your name,’ she would tell them each time she was able to visit. She knew it was the key to any chance of being able to find them, once the war was over, providing they all survived. Despite the statistics showing that children rarely lasted in Auschwitz for even a year, they survived. This is their story.
Reading these stories, even the fictional ones, are always gutting, but the personal aspect of this one, the ages of these young girls added another level of atrocity, despite knowing that they will survive. So many others were lost, which made me think of those parents who survived, only to ultimately find that their children did not. A neverending heartbreak. But these sisters survived, as did their memories of this time in their life, and so their stories will live on. And from their life story, others will know, and learn, hopefully.
Older now, they are able to share their stories, and share their personal truth of this time, teaching those who did not live through this time the truth of those years. And so these stories will never be forgotten, and hopefully, never be repeated.
A story of evil against the power of a mother’s love and the bond of sisters.
Pub Date: 18 Jan 2022
Many thanks for the ARC provided by Astra Publishing House / Astra House
Always Remember Your Name is a heart crushing account of two sisters who were arrested by Nazis and Italian fascists from their home in Fiume (present day Rijeka in Croatia) and taken to Auschwitz. They were only four and six so some memories have faded, others vivid of their time spent in hellish and humiliating conditions where very, very few children survived. Most were gassed immediately but for some unknown reason (they looked like twins and were there when Josef Mengele's was performing experiments) they survived. Their mother, aunt and cousin were also taken to Auschwitz where they were separated. Their mother was able to visit them occasionally and instilled in them the importance of keeping their names, Italian culture and identity rather than their tattoo numbers. They were also not "full" Jews as they were Italian Catholics which is another possible reason they were "safe". Whatever the explanation for their survival, their lives were eternally changed there and in the aftermath. After the war they lived in Trieste where they could be Italian citizens.
The photographs are as moving as the writing, gripping and personal. The stories are told by both sisters as adults, raw and unpolished, evocative and haunting. Decades after their excruciating experience, continually surrounded by death which became "normal" they returned to the camp and conduct(ed) talks there. Their goal is to "bear witness". I am very grateful they have told their story. Knowing beautiful Rijeka and Trieste very well, I can envision the topography, architecture and so on, their home they left so abruptly and cruelly.
Readers of the Holocaust ought to prioritize this book. What this family endured is impossible to fathom. Evil comes in many shapes. But so does hope.
My sincere thank you to Astra Publishing House and NetGalley for the honour of reading this breathtaking and powerful book which should be required reading.
WWII continues to deliver untold stories. Two sisters, both younger than 6, survived Aushwitz. It's a moving story, one of endurance and poignancy. Stories like this are a marvel and the fact they survived and were also reunited with their parents is nothing short of miraculous.
Books like these just hurt my heart and give me hope. I feel so connected to these people even though I am not Jewish nor was I alive at any point while this was happening. I just feel like their vulnerability allows me to connect with them and grieve with them
Great story as always very moving and very hard to assimilate what these women went through.
This is the story of two sisters who survive the atrocities of Auschwitz separated from their mother Tati and Andra are not ready to give up even if that meant doing whatever it takes to survive in such terrible inhumane conditions. they never forget their name no matter how much the evil man wanted to do that with every prisoner.
I felt really sad when Tati and Andra were separated from their mom Mira, the stories about children during ww2 were really heartbreaking, I still can't understand the level of coldness and inhumanity of the SS and the Nazis had. I just can't comprehend what they had in their heart but I guess they didn't have a heart at all. the only part that made me feel a little less sad were those times when Mira was able to visit them. always reminding them to never forget their names.
This is the true story of Tati and Andra who are now older enough to be able to re-tail their story.
I really love the book so much. the only thing that I really didn't like was the way it was written as I had a hard time keeping up, but once I was able to understand the distribution and how it was written I was able to enjoy the story even more.
I don't like to rate books that are biographies or memoirs because I think this is the personal story of a person and shouldn't be rated but this book was good and I thank Tati and Andra for telling us their story they deserve all the love and peace.
Thank you, NetGalley, Greenleaf Book Group, Greenleaf Book Group Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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