Always Remem­ber Your Name: A True Sto­ry of Fam­i­ly and Sur­vival in Auschwitz

Andra and Tatiana Buc­ci, Ann Gold­stein (Trans­la­tor)

  • Review
By – February 7, 2022

Always Remem­ber Your Name tells the sto­ry of two sis­ters, Andra and Tatiana Buc­ci, who sur­vived Auschwitz as young girls, reunit­ed with fam­i­ly, and rebuilt their life amidst the ash­es. The plain lan­guage cap­tures the ter­ri­fy­ing inno­cence of being a small child dur­ing the Holo­causts’ dark­est days.

Although their mem­oir begins with a short account of their family’s his­to­ry and their ear­ly child­hood in Fiume, in only a few short pages the girls are dis­cov­ered and sent first to the Rice Mill of San Sab­ba and then to Auschwitz. The Buc­cis’ account of their time in the camp is unique; the way of their writ­ing mim­ics the very process of memory.

Per­haps the most poignant part of the nar­ra­tive comes in describ­ing the Buc­ci girl’s rela­tion­ship with their moth­er. They tell in detail how their moth­er would sneak into their bar­racks and remind them again and again to tell her their names. She knew that one could eas­i­ly lose one’s iden­ti­ty in the camps and become sim­ply a num­ber. To this defi­ant act of main­tain­ing their sense of self, along with a host of oth­er small kind­ness­es by oth­ers in the camp, the authors cred­it their survival.

The book also devotes a great deal of time to explor­ing what hap­pened to the sis­ters after they were lib­er­at­ed. We learn how the girls end­ed up in a home for girls in Lon­don, how they then were reunit­ed with their par­ents, and what it meant to them to start over in Italy with the ves­tiges of the Holo­caust still around them. We also learn about how they fell in love with their hus­bands, what it meant to them to start a fam­i­ly, and what the lega­cy of the Holo­caust still means to them today.

Always Remem­ber Your Name is a pow­er­ful, yet sim­ple, telling of a har­row­ing peri­od in two young girl’s lives. The Buc­ci sis­ters will stay with the read­er long after the book is closed.

Rab­bi Marc Katz is the Rab­bi at Tem­ple Ner Tamid in Bloom­field, NJ. He is author of the book The Heart of Lone­li­ness: How Jew­ish Wis­dom Can Help You Cope and Find Com­fort (Turn­er Pub­lish­ing), which was cho­sen as a final­ist for the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award.

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