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Reviewed by Heather Osborne for Readers' Favorite
I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust by Mathias B. Freese is a unique compilation of short stories, taking the reader on a psychological journey through the emotions elicited by the Holocaust. Beginning with a man calling out to a golem, a Jewish monster from folklore, for assistance in escaping his tormentors, the stories provide a different perspective on the Holocaust. There are ones told from the perspective of prisoners in the concentration camps to a mock radio interview with Hitler’s lover, Eva Braun. The author offers the perspective of a Holocaust revisionist, someone who does not believe the Holocaust happened the way it is described, in the form of a letter. The collection concludes with the golem questioning his reason for existence.
I have read many books about the Holocaust as I find the subject very interesting from a psychological standpoint. I have to say though, that Mr. Freese has placed an entirely new twist on the subject. I will admit to being perplexed at first, having expected something a bit different. As the collection unfolded, I was drawn into the raw emotion. I particularly enjoyed the story, “Cantor Matyas Balogh.” Matyas found love so late in life, only to have it ripped from him. Freese does not just tell a tale, he creates a basis for reflection. I believe that he is completely correct when he states that someone can never truly understand the Holocaust. We can write about it, but the lasting impact on the people that survived can never be put into words. I Truly Lament is a remarkable collection that will leave the reader speechless.