Ana Novac (born Zimra Harsanyi, 1929, Dej, Cluj County), writer, playwright, Holocaust Survivor, author of the only record to have survived at Auschwitz, a missing piece of the Holocaust story that is not merely an artifact of horror, but a testimony that deserves to become one of the sacred books of our time.
“I was born in 1929 in Transylvania (Romania). One good morning, when I was 11 years old I woke up to be a Hungarian citizen, without having moved to another place, another street, or even without having changed my shirt. At the age of 14 I was deported to Auschwitz, as a Jew. On my release in 1945 I had become again a Romanian citizen. That is why I have the greatest difficulty in establishing my nationality, other than from my identity papers which specified that I was Jewish”. (“Les beaux jours de ma jeunesse”, Ed. Gallimard, Paris, 1996)
As a Transylvanian Jew in the Hungarian-occupied part of Romania, Ana Novac and hers family were deported in the Nazi concentration camps, where hers parents and brother were killed. Young Ana spent the months between June and November, 1994, in Auschwitz and Plaszow, two Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Ana was imprisoned in eight camps altogether throughout the war, but during that six month period in 1944, she used pencil stubs, camouflage paper, the backs of posters, scraps of newspaper and anything else she could find to keep a journal, hiding the pages she had written inside shoes. This is Ana's journal, astonishing for the maturity of its writing and the freshness and individuality of its voice, astounding for her account of the unbelievable cruelty and evil that the Holocaust embodied. Ana skill's at conveying the personalities of those around her, both prisoners and guards, and her breathtaking depths of expression, make this a rich reading experience. Ana's own personality shines in her words - her spirit, and even her humor, were not yet exhausted at this time. Ana found the pages of this diary years after she had blocked as much of her wartime experience as she could from her mind. She reconstructed the pages, often using a magnifying glass to decipher the painfully tiny script, and later worked on a French translation (J'avais 14 ans a Auschwitz, published as Les Beaux Jours de ma jeunesse).
After WWII, Ana Novac returned to Romania and became in the 1950' a renowned playwright, appreciated by the greatest Romanian writers of the time. She left Romania for Paris in 1969, where she imposed herself as a playwright and a novelist.
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