Nine Suitcases by Béla Zsolt

Nine Suitcases

Suppressed by the Communists for nearly forty years and never before published in English, Nine Suitcases is one of the first—and greatest—memoirs of the Holocaust ever written. Originally published in Hungary in weekly installments starting in 1946, it tells the harrowing story of Béla Zsolt’s experiences in the ghetto and as a forced laborer in the Ukraine. It gives not only a rare insight into Hungarian fascism, but also a shocking expo...

Details Nine Suitcases

TitleNine Suitcases
Release DateNov 9th, 2004
GenreWorld War II, Holocaust, Nonfiction, History, Autobiography, Memoir, War, Biography, Cultural, Hungary, Historical, Biography Memoir

Reviews Nine Suitcases

  • Buck
    Near the beginning of Nine Suitcases, Béla Zsolt recalls meeting some Jewish prostitutes from a Nazi ‘field brothel’ beside a railway track in Poland. One girl asks him and his companions if they’re Jews: “You’re going to kick the bucket like us,” she warns them. Zsolt goes on:Another girl, in the last stages of pregnancy, who was carrying some mouldy bread in a music case, asked us: ‘Have you got any German books? I’ve just fini...
  • Meaghan
    I don't know if I'd call this one of the greatest Holocaust memoirs like it says on the cover blurb, but it is good, and it is significant because it's definitely one of the earliest memoirs. It was originally published in serial form in 1946, only a year after the war ended, but it was suppressed by the Communists and languished in obscurity after that. It wasn't translated into English until recently.The author, Bela Zsolt, was the stepfather o...
  • Aubrey
    The bravery of this man. It's near impossible to comprehend how he was able to devote his life to the betterment of his beloved country and suffer such horrors as compensation. He didn't even make it to the camps, you know. He didn't need to in order to endure the worst of the atrocities that WWII had to offer to mankind. And then he was able to recount it in the most minute detail, but wasn't able to finish writing it. The irony of it all is sic...
  • PDXReader
    I'm not sure why I've never heard of this author or his works. Nine Suitcases: A Memoir is every bit as heart-breaking, horrific and important as the works of Holocaust survivors Elie Wiesel and Primo Levy. It's nothing short of amazing, and perhaps the best written account out there of what it was like to be a Hungarian Jew during WWII (without doubt the best I've encountered). If you have any interest at all in Holocaust literature, you really ...
  • Katie Beeman
    One of the most moving books I have read because of its unfiltered honesty of the holocaust. It isn't pretty, touching, or inspiring, it is merely an account of human evil. I must read because of its significance to our world and understanding our past. It isn't warm and fuzzy account, and the things that happened are so horrifying because you know they are real. Very eye openning and somewhat disturbing.
  • Linda
    An important book about the WWII. The book would have been interesting enough already if it were 'only' an account of one man's experiences during the war, but 'nine suitcases' is much more than that. Zsolt's reflections on why people did what they did in the war are fascinating and insightful. His observations about human behaviour (including his own) are matter-of-fact but not judgemental, which I think is a great achievement. The story in itse...
  • Susan Emmet
    Finished this remarkable book.Don't know where I found it, but it turned up in our library while I was culling books to give away.Struck by the detailing, the indictment of victims and perpetrators.I've never read anything in Holocaust rememberings like this book.Unlike his and his wife Agnes' families, Zsolt avoided Auschwitz, but suffered immeasurably in his Hungarian ghetto and in the Ukraine where he was deported to forced labor as a gravedig...
  • Maria Beltrami
    Una specie di lungo monologo, una presa diretta della memoria, nella quale l'autore e protagonista descrive l'orrore dell'internamento nel ghetto e la certezza di correre incontro a morte certa. Ormai la guerra è alla fine, tutti lo sanno, eppure la macchina nazista dello sterminio non si ferma, come un qualsiasi animale ottuso non può fermarsi nemmeno se morente.E l'intellettuale ebreo, l'intellettuale di sinistra che ha combattuto contro tutt...
  • Kelly Mahaney
    This was a great book on the Holocaust, one of the best I have ever read. Originally published in Hungary in weekly installments starting in 1946, it tells the story of Béla Zsolt’s experiences in the ghetto and as a forced laborer in the Ukraine. It gives one a look at Hungarian fascism and also a shocking expose to the cruelty, indifference, selfishness, cowardice and betrayal of which human beings—the victims no less than the perpetrators...
  • Sharon
    I thought this was a good read, but it was really hard to get through, for some reason.
  • Nadine
    I must have missed something in this book. A whiny man blaming the "Nine Suitcases" that his wife insisted on bringing for his fate.
  • Tress Huntley
    A second reading felt necessary after finishing The Invisible Bridge. Words don't suffice for how frightening and honest this is. The worst thing about it is it's true. Should be required reading.
  • Pam
    Nine Suitcases: A Memoir is by Bela Zsolt. This memoir was suppressed by the Communists for forty years and never before published in English. This is one of the first memoirs written and according to some, the best. He is compared to Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi, although his way of writing is not nearly as reader friendly. This memoir coves Bela’s life during the Holocaust and refers to his life before. It is very detailed and is sometimes peda...
  • Sandra
    Es de los primeros testimonios del holocausto y su autor era escritor, por tanto, es un relato bien escrito y sin filtro editorial. Además, la odisea de este hombre en la Segunda Guerra Mundial fue diferente porque no estuvo en un campo de concentración. La mejor parte y por lo que merece la pena todo lo demás, es la parte del tren en la que él, su mujer y una amiga viajan, en el 44, a Budapest. Con todo lo que había visto ya, es capaz de na...
  • Wayne Jones
    Picked this book up in a bookstore in Budapest after visiting the Holocaust Museum not really knowing what to expect but seeking an account of someone who lived through the experience rather than a historian's view of events. It makes for grim reading but it is well written as you would expect from a journalist. Personally I am glad I read the book but feel a reader needs to be 'ready' to read the accounts of the cruelty and misery that people ar...
  • Herman De Wulf
    De auteur overtuigt ons van zijn kwaliteiten. Hij beschrijft wat hij met een scherp oog ziet in mooie zinnen en graaft diep in de gedachten en gevoelens van al de slachtoffers die hem omringen. Een aangrijpend boek ook al ken je de goede afloop. De arrogantie van de Duitse bezetter, die toen de oorlog zo goed als verloren was in Hongarije nog zoveel mensen de dood heeft ingejaagd, tart elke verbeelding en wordt hier vanuit de ervaringen van de au...
  • Magill
    Written closely on the tail of WWII, this Hungarian Jew, was an author and social critic/activist (as best as I can tell), and was more passionate about social issues than his Judaism or the Jewish community (see pp 274-275, for example). But those things combined made him even more of a target as Hungary was pulled more closely into the insanity of Nazi Germany.The book begins with his incarceration in a Jewish ghetto as the eager Hungarians (ef...
  • Damián
    El Holocausto visto por el gran escritor húngaro Béla Zsolt. Es un testimonio literario y humano estremecedor que relata los días en el gueto de Nagyvarad, Hungría (hoy Oradea, Rumania), los dramas que vio durante la WW2, sus torturas y persecuciones. Zsolt viaja de Budapest a París junto a su esposa y 9 maletas, tras su regreso es deportado y enviado a trabajar en un campo esclavo en el frente oriental, confinado en un gueto y enviado a un ...
  • Dorothyd
    Neuf valises est un témoignage poignant d'un journaliste hongrois sur ce qu'il a vécu de l'holocauste lors de la 2ème guerre mondiale. D'abord publié en feuilletons dans un journal, son histoire est dans ce livre regroupé.Il y évoque sa vie de tourmente pendant la guerre, fossoyeur forcé en Ukraine puis déporté dans un ghetto, il vie toutes les abominations de l'occupation d'un pays, son pays, la Hongrie.C'est un témoignage très réali...
  • Margi
    This account was suppressed by the Communists for forty years. . It was originally published in installments in Hungary starting in 1946. I did find it interesting in the fact that it was Hungary and the Ukraine which I have not read about before. Mr. Zsolt's story is very compelling and his strength is most definitely unbelievable. His endurance and will to survive is amazing. The atrocities this gentleman faced are beyond comprehension. I loved...
  • Gayle
    Very revealing about WWII anti-Semitism and persecution in Europe. Bit of a difficult read as he jumps back and forth in time & topic as in a casual conversation. There are few people to like in this book. He is irreverent & a realist in the negative sense. All that said, it is well worth the read.
  • Adele
    Incredibly well written. Honest in a way I have certainly not read before when dealing with the holocaust. Terribly sad. I can't help constantly questioning hoe I would have fared. As a Jew I would not have survived: I don't believe I would have been physically or mentally strong enough. As s non-Jew would I have been as ignorant and evil as some of his descriptions?
  • Sarah
    Zsolt's Nine Suitcases is excellent - Zsolt writes beautifully & does not pull any punches. He gives us a window into what it took to survive Nazi occupation, the grim reality of the sacrifices that people had to make. The recounting of people trying to escape, succeeding & then returning to the Nazis was terrifying.
  • Laci
    This is a soul-crushingly painful read on the dark depths of humanity in the face of war. Blunt and clearly written, Zsolt puts the reader in his shoes effortlessly and makes you thankful that you can easily close the book and NOT have experienced the atrosities occuring within the pages. Be prepared to read something lighthearted after this one.
  • Larissa Huhn
    I only dislike this so much because it isn't so much about the Holocaust as it is the author's thoughts on the war. I greatly dislike books that are contemplating "the-meaning-of-life-type-thing". Too poetic for my taste.
  • Morgan
    I struggled with the beginning of this book. I found it hard to read, but overall it was just okay.
  • Sharon Peters
    I really enjoyed this book.I felt it was a different twist to typical books on the holocaust. So sad for the Jews who suffered so much.
    Enjoyed it "Tremendously"!"