But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust
Available: May 2022© 2022
Imprint: New Jewish Press
Page Count: 200 Pages
Illustrations: 132 colour illustrations
Dimensions: 8.75 x 11.20
200 Pages, 8.75 x 11.20 x 0.90 in, 132 colour illustrations
Not Yet Published
An intimate co-creation of three graphic novelists and four Holocaust survivors, But I Live consists of three illustrated stories based on the experiences of each survivor during and after the Holocaust.
David Schaffer and his family survived in Romania due to their refusal to obey Nazi collaborators. In the Netherlands, brothers Nico and Rolf Kamp were separated from their parents and hidden by the Dutch resistance in thirteen different places. Through the story of Emmie Arbel, a child survivor of the Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps, we see the lifelong trauma inflicted by the Holocaust.
To complement these hauntingly beautiful and unforgettable visual stories, But I Live includes historical essays, an illustrated postscript from the artists, and personal words from each of the survivors.
As we urgently approach the post-witness era without living survivors of the Holocaust, these illustrated stories act as a physical embodiment of memory and help to create a new archive for future readers. By turning these testimonies into graphic novels, But I Live aims to teach new generations about racism, antisemitism, human rights, and social justice.
Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust:
“A Kind of Resistance”
Miriam Libicki and David Schaffer
Gilad Seliktar and Nico and Rolf Kamp
“But I Live”
Barbara Yelin and Emmie Arbel
The Holocaust in Transnistria
Surviving in Hiding from the Nazis
Surviving Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen as a Child
Nico and Rolf Kamp
In Their Own Words
Behind the Art
Charlotte Schallié, Matt Huculak, Ilona Shulman Spaar, and Jan Erik Dubbelman
"The superb, heart-rending book But I Live: Three Stories of Child Survivors of the Holocaust collects the testimonies of four survivors in a graphic narrative format for new generations. It is a powerful and indispensable educational tool not just for high school students, for whom it was designed, but for anyone. Readers can now carry these indelible stories forward."Quill & Quire
"In this beautiful, one-of-a-kind volume, Charlotte Schallié brings together three exquisitely illustrated and narrated testimonies by four child survivors of the Holocaust. Each of these ‘graphic novellas’ captures the distinct memories and experiences of its child-witnesses in a different style and register, all expertly hand-rendered by different teams of graphic artists. Together with deeply insightful reflections by the artists on their process, by the child-survivors as adults, and by historians of each region, But I Live is the most powerful collection of non-fiction ‘graphic novellas’ of the Holocaust since Art Spiegelman’s Maus."James E. Young, author of The Stages of Memory and At Memory’s Edge: After-images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, among other works on Holocaust literature and memory
"But I Live is a path-breaking book that elucidates the complex relationships between story and image in Holocaust recounting. It is equally a book about relationships themselves: between the artists and the survivors and then all of us who are – literally – drawn into their vital conversations."Henry Greenspan, author of On Listening to Holocaust Survivors: Beyond Testimony
"After I created my first comics about the war and the Hungarian uprising of 1956, my publishers, D&Q asked ‘Miriam what about color?’ I replied that I can only visualize that world of the past in black, white and gray tones. Maybe the old photographs inspired it. But of course there were colors. In the beginning I was also suspicious of any artwork or writing by anyone who did not live through the war years. So I had to adjust to Miriam Libicki’s cheerful colors to the very difficult story by David Schaffer. From the point of view of a small child, Libicki’s well known wide round eyes express well the innocence and terror of the boy. The descriptions of details, like the ‘frozen path, uneven, molded by foots of horses and men and tracks of carts’ and strong beautiful depictions of nature place you right into that time and space. Thirteen Secrets immediately grabbed me with the beautiful style of artwork by Gilad Seliktar. I love the sketchy, spars drawings, the few words that allow the wide spaces left blank to fill with the heavy silence of memories. There is a particular haze, the fog of memories of childhood long ago. Lights, shadow, the starry night, just four colors are enough to express it all. The familiarity of the brothers are anybodies next door neighbors here and now. But I Live welcomed me into the story with a warm familiarity. That I know these people. That I know their stories. I know the one spoon left from everything after the war. The lighting of innumerable cigarettes. The bit of ‘taking’ that is stealing without bad conscience. The not wanting to remember but unable to forget. The fear that left behind showing up in their walks of life, however rich and safe."Miriam Katin, graphic novelist and author of We Are on Our Own and Letting It Go
"But I Live – a beautiful title – offers the readers three different survivors stories who shared their traumatic memories with three different talented artists who have created three outstanding visual journeys. Readers discover not only the survivors personal experience but also the emotion of creation.
Libicki, Seliktar and Yelin take on the responsibility to continue the chain of transmission. Their graphic novels are an act of resistance against forgetting, denying or not willing to face the truth. Too many survivors left us taking their untold testimony to eternity. But I Live transforms memory into accessible beautiful images in one of the most popular art forms."Michel Kichka, author and illustrator of Second Generation: The Things I Didn't Tell My Father
"A unique and compelling experience, by surrounding these unimaginable tales of survival and loss through testimony, through the combined narrative power of words and pictures, and through historical facts, I got an immensity of feeling – quiet, loud, raging, pensive, but most of all, true. The art is captivating, from the bright, saturated inks of A Kind of Resistance to the subdued, almost mid-century modern graphics of Thirteen Secrets, to the rich, realistic palette and imagery that crosses the barriers of time and space in But I Live, all the stories cast a spell that bridges the ‘now’ with the unimaginable ‘then.’ When you combine these narratives (in words and pictures) with the scholarship, and the humanity of all the authors, this book provides an indispensable and true way of both confronting the past and questioning the present and the future. A marvel of cross disciplinary invention."Ken Krimstein, Cartoonist, New Yorker Magazine and author of The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt: A Tyranny of Truth
"Three candid, powerfully compelling, childhood stories about young lives blighted by Nazi tyranny, illustrated as if for children’s books, by artists whose interpretations do not waver from confronting the unbearable."Anna Porter, author of Kasztner's Train: The True Story of an Unknown Hero of the Holocaust and The Ghosts of Europe: Journeys through Central Europe’s Troubled Past and Uncertain Future
"But I Live is an essential document. Libicki, Yelin, and Seliktar masterfully use the unique narrative strengths of comics to convey survivors’ experiences with sensitivity and humanity, allowing readers to experience and understand these personal accounts with appropriate empathy and urgency."Nate Powell, artist of the March trilogy and Save It for Later: Promises, Protest, and the Urgency of Protest
"As the child protagonists take us by the hand to guide us through their memories, we ourselves turn into witnesses. Devastating, poetic, and beautiful."Nora Krug, illustrator and author of Belonging