Book Reviews

To Auschwitz and Back: My Personal Journey
Ruth Bindefeld Neray
No. 75912

Sudbury Press, Sudbury, Massachusetts

ISBN 0-9660026-0-1

Prologue by the author:

The Germans didn’t kill me; nobody ever will.

I guess I had that thought, unconsciously whispering in my mind, growing louder and louder, until one day, years later, out of sheer confusion and pain, I screamed it out loud at the sky. A piercing cry that came from the deepest part of my soul.

That agonizing yell set me free! Free from any kind of bondage. My liberation truly began.

I was alive but my mind was overwhelmed. My thoughts were far away. While I was traveling back home, and even when I was arriving at my parents’ apartment, I didn’t feel liberated or free. I was still in prison. I was back with my family and I was doing all the things my family was doing. I was eating, sleeping, going to places but I was not really participating. I was listening to their conversation but I did not understand. I was eating the delicious food prepared by my mother and it was hard for me to swallow. I was no longer accustomed to sitting at a table with all the decorum attached to it. I was sleeping in my bed and it was too soft. I would toss and turn; I was afraid to close my eyes. The vision kept coming back. Memories were too fresh.

Reviewed by Robin Neray.

The Holocaust. For years this word has evoked images of gas chambers, crematoria, senseless killings and feelings of despair, sorrow and terror.

How can a human being emerge from the depth of hell called Auschwitz and still believe in love and the beauty of humanity on the world?

This is the story of my mother-in-law, Ruth Bindefeld Neray, who was a young girl in Paris in the 1930s. It is also the story of Ruth’s deportation as a teenager to Auschwitz in the winter of 1944.

What makes this personal account extraordinary is Ruth’s ability to maintain her self-esteem in the face of abject humiliation and unrelenting brutality. She sees herself as someone caught in a web of events that she cannot control. Yet, in spite of the fear and danger, Ruth believes that she is the master of her own integrity.

Ruth’s love of life itself, her sense that she is entitled to live, as well as many strokes of good luck, kept her alive through these unimaginable times.

Ruth intimately shares with us how she sustained hope and dignity. Her candor and insightfulness offer us a glimpse into her life then and a sense of her journey forward, reconciling her past and building a life filled with love, family and purpose.

To Auschwitz and Back – My Personal Journey is profound, moving, warm, and at times even humorous. It will enrich your life and leave you inspired with Ruth’s courage and dignity.

In Ruth’s words, “They could take everything away from me, but they could not take away my dreams.”

“Ruth Bindefeld Neray takes us on the ultimate human journey – to face the most horrible death and return with the greatest reverence for life and love. Her testimony is chastening, terrifying and spiritually uplifting. A classic of Shoah remembrance and Jewish hope.” Lawrence Kushner, author of Invisible Lines of Connection.

"Robin Neray is Ruth’s daughter-in-law, married to her son, Philippe. She was born in Montreal and now lives in Boston with her three wonderful children, supportive husband and devoted standard poodle. She holds a B.S. in Mathematics from McGill University and a S.M. in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."


This book can be purchased now from the author Ruth Neray.

She can be reached:

Telephone: 416-927-8242
Mobile:       416-574-1678






Copyright © 2006 Judy Cohen, all rights reserved.