Read Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma by Leila Levinson Online


Leila Levinson's experience as the daughter of a WWII veteran speaks to a more universal experience--the trauma of war as it wreaks havoc over generations. It is a touching story of search, revelation, and recovery....

Title : Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma
Author :
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ISBN : 9781934980552
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 266 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma Reviews

  • Marcia
    2019-03-15 00:26

    Facing truth is rarely easy, and in Gated Grief, Leila Levinson faces many hard truths about her childhood, the horrors of the Nazi death camps and how silence prevents healing. The photos in the old Army trunk found by the author after her father’s death could have been thrown away or locked back away. Instead she used the pictures to inform her journey to discover the reasons for her father’s emotional distance. Today’s soldiers are aware their experiences with the trauma of war can and do cause PTSD--Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. WWII veterans had no words to describe or understand other than “battle shock”. When exposed to horrific events on the battlefield or after bearing witness to the inhumanity of Buchenwald, Nordhausen, Dachau and other sites, the soldiers hid it away, didn’t talk about it, couldn’t talk about it. They didn’t think their wives, children, fellow vets wanted to hear. The author reached out other WWII liberator survivors and listened. In listening to others tell of horrors far beyond what the human heart can process, she came to an understanding of her father’s psychic wounds. Leila Levinson has shown us her truth in this meticulously crafted, well-written book, and out of her truth we have an opportunity to see universal truths. The legacy of trauma reverberates through generations if it isn’t faced and discussed and healed. Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma is a cautionary tale for all of us and our current warriors and their families. It is not an easy read, but it is an important one. Highly recommended.

  • Scott
    2019-03-17 22:17

    I picked this up hoping to increase my understanding of the unimaginable horrors of the ‘Final Solution’, the Nazi euphemism for the Holocaust. Like most, I had a vague idea of the unbelievable carnage that occurred in the concentration and extermination camps of Nazi Germany during World War II but really did not fully understand this most horrific event. How it could be allowed to happen is beyond belief.Ms. Levinson is the Jewish daughter of a surgeon, who as an American G.I. was one of the concentration camp liberators (at Nordhausen). Her father was a sorrowful man, distant and seemingly unfeeling. After he dies she discovers photographs that provide evidence that he had witnessed the camps at the end of the war. In an attempt to understand and ultimately forgive her father for his distance, the author embarks on a project to interview other concentration camp liberators. In the end her actions lead her back to Germany to visit the camps of Nordhausen/Mittelbau-Dora where her father had been.I was very interested to read about the toll taken on the psyche of both the survivors and liberators. Their stories are staggering and heart-wrenching. That said, I felt this book turned into a very personal quest for healing, focused as much inward as on the actual victims who lived through the catastrophe. That's not a bad thing as that is the author's focus; it's just not quite what I was expecting. Levinson's angst is heavy throughout. There are depictions of her childhood sorrows, which include her mother being taken away from her at an early age, a remote and unsympathetic father, and even a sadistic nanny. Coupled with the interviews and her discoveries in Germany this is a very somber book indeed. Still it is a worthwhile and educational read that explores modern humanity at its worst.

  • Zohar -
    2019-03-24 06:21

    “Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma” by Leila Levinson who started the charity Veteran's Children is a non-fiction book about the author’s five year research to understand her father’s trauma from liberating a concentration camp in World War II. The book is filled with graphic pictures which will stay with you for a long time.“Gated Grief” by Leila Levinson is a powerful book which follows the author’s search to find the truth about her father’s World War II experience, particularly the trauma he has suffered from witnessing the human cruelty while helping liberate Nordhausen concentration camp. Mrs. Levinson travels all over the world and the US in order to get firsthand accounts from other surviving liberators of Nazi camps.Throughout her journey Mrs. Levinson learns not only about her father’s experience, but also finds some truths which she herself has suppressed.This was a very tough book to read, not only because of the graphic descriptions, but also because of the multitude of horrific photographs the author’s father and other veterans took. Unfortunately for them, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was looked down upon when they came back to the US which didn’t help them at all.All the veterans claim that they didn’t know what to expect, that they weren’t mentally ready. I don’t know how you can get mentally ready to see thousands of corpses, starvation victims, dead children, burned humans or those who have been medically experimented on. The human mind simply cannot comprehend the magnitude of this crime.In trying to work her own inner demons, Mrs. Levinson wrote a universally important and thought provoking book.For more book reviews & thoughts please visit http:/

  • Ann
    2019-03-17 02:16

    I couldn't put this book down. It is a fascinating story (by an Austin author) about discovering that her father had been among the US soldiers who liberated a concentration camp after WWII. This one is not to be missed--and should help us all remember why we have to stop wars.

  • Joyce Faulkner
    2019-03-22 23:34

    2011 MWSA President's Award to Leila Levinson!The sun was shining when I finished Leila Levinson's brave book,"Gated Grief." I turned off my Kindle and gazed into the eyes of my little red poodle dog. "You okay, Rosie girl?" She whimpered and scurried into my lap. I caressed her soft top knot and stared out the window at my neighbors going about their everyday chores. I used to think that everyone else lived normal lives--and I was the only boomer who grieved over horrors that happened before I was born. As I've grown older, I've come to realize that every family has a wound that never heals. The pain is a legacy, handed down from one generation to the next--like hatred and religion and bone china. Sometimes, we know only the faintest outline of the family trauma. Siblings and cousins handle these inherited ghosts differently. Some of us pretend there are no skeletons under the bed. Others poke into ancient sores hoping that understanding will be the balm. I cuddled the little dog in my lap and thought about the men who peopled Leila's book and about the veterans and POWs who I'd met over the years--especially those who fought in World War II. Leila Levinson decided to pursue the story behind her father's box of old pictures--browning black and whites of bodies strewn about like leaves under a dying tree. She wanted clear-cut answers--truths to balance the sad facts of her childhood. Why did her father never talk about the war and his role as a liberator at Nordhausen Concentration Camp? Why did he not tell her the details behind her mother's mysterious illness? Why did he insist that she and her brothers embrace Judaism, while he kept his distance? Why was he generous and kind to his patients but remote and silent around his family? Why? What she found was anything but clear-cut. The Holocaust was an inexplicable firestorm that left nothing but ashes in its wake. If you know what caused such a catastrophe, you can take steps to prevent it--but how does anyone understand the insane hatefulness that led to the murder of so many? How does anyone comprehend an event so vast that it changed all who encountered it--'perpetrators and victims, rescuers and witnesses--those who looked and those who looked away? Given the enormity of the ash cloud, Leila focused her research on GI liberators like her father--and on their personal reactions to the sights, sounds, and smells of the camps. Her interviews with these men and their wives were intriguing. They had faced the worst aspects of humanity'--and the results of such ugliness on the world. Leila uncovered an unhappy sameness to their generational, social, and familial interactions after their return to "normal life." Many of the men she met felt that they had to put these experiences behind them. How could their wives and girlfriends understand what they had witnessed? Did they want their children to even know about such depravity? After all, they were simply liberators. What was their mental and emotional suffering compared to the physical torment Hitler's victims endured? Most of the liberators Leila interviewed for "Gated Grief" were also Jewish. I can argue that all who saw what Hitler had wrought were also human and thus empathetic. However, there must be an added level of horror when the victims share so many social, cultural, and religious perspectives with you. When my husband and I visited Auschwitz, we were duly horrified by many things'--especially the personal effects taken from people as they arrived at the gates of Birkenau, great piles of suitcases or eyeglasses or wooden legs or baby pacifiers. However, it was a single red ponytail in a room full of black, brown, and graying manes that "freaked-out" my husband. And a picture of a Hungarian Jewess who looked like my mother reduced me to a shivering, sobbing mess. It was hard to get my mind around the idea of millions, but the death of a single young woman more than sixty years ago made it real for me. How could the experience not be magnified when the people you were rescuing or burying could be your grandparents or long lost cousins or neighbors? Leila discovered that trauma permeated the lives of the liberators. No one wanted to take war home with them'--and yet war impacted America's post-war years in so many ways. Veterans blunted their feelings in order to deal with ugly memories. Others tried to push those images out of their minds completely. Many felt that what they had to say about the Holocaust wasn't as important as the testimonies of the victims and chose not to talk about what they couldn't forget. Whatever their strategies for dealing with their scars, the results impacted those around them as well. Leila believes that PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a legacy too. She points to her own troubled childhood--made angrier by the early loss of her mother, made lonelier by her preoccupied, beloved father. After World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, veterans were not encouraged to talk. Society wanted to forget and move on. While it's not clear that we know enough about the problem now, we at least recognize it as a problem. Could Leila's youth have been happier if her father had found a way to share his grief with her? That's unknowable. However, her journey will change the arc of her future--'and the many questions she explores in "Gated Grief" will provoke thoughtful conversations in her readers and their families. I rubbed my eyes and sniffed. Rosie looked up at me with a sparkling doggie smile. I hugged her, thinking about my own father and the immense gulf between his life and mine. Some stories ring so true that our own wounds ache anew. Joyce Faulkner President of Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) Author of "In the Shadow of Suribachi"

  • Jessica
    2019-03-22 02:26

    This is an important read for anyone who is trying to understand the transition that veterans face when they return to "normal" life. It's even more poignant for those of us with family members who saw concentration camps first hand. My Pops liberated a concentration camp. I never asked him about it. My Pops sent photos of the experience to my Granny and she destroyed them. I never asked her about it. So much of our personal history vanishes quietly. Without asking our loved ones deep questions about traumatic experiences I wonder if we can ever really know those who we are closest to.

  • Julie Smith (Knitting and Sundries)
    2019-03-22 22:33

    After their father's death, the author and her brother come across an Army trunk with memorabilia from their father's WWII experience. Included in this trunk are photos of the war, and, most disturbingly, photos obviously from a concentration camp that are labeled "Nordhausen".Although Ms. Levinson's brother initially took possession of the trunk, it found it's way back to the author. When she summons up the nerve to open it again and look through the photos, it starts her on a path to chronicle military witnesses of the death camps. She proposed a Holocaust literature course at the small Catholic university she taught at. She read many works of literature on the Holocaust, and viewed interviews of both survivors and liberators. She found that of all of the questions asked of the liberators, no one asked how their lives were affected since.Through her interviews with 59 veterans, a recurring theme is that they did not want people to forget. In the days before PTSD was recognized, many of them coped by keeping their emotions and feelings about what they witnessed suppressed, by emotionally detaching themselves from it, and by not acknowledging their own grief. Many lost their faith, and even more lost a pure and innocent piece of their soul.As the author chronicles her quest to better understand her own father, who never spoke of the war, the author discovers other truths, too, including the truth about Boelcke Barracks, located in Nordhausen, which is where her father worked with survivors for two weeks before suffering a nervous breakdown that she only learned of after her father's death.In this author's search for her father's truth, she discovers her own truth as well.Recently, I've read a few books that are set in this period (The Book Thief among them), but I hadn't recently read a story that dealt with the Holocaust itself. It had been so long since I saw pictures of the camps, and seeing the photos in this book was jolting and emotional. Photos paired with words evoke so much more of the horror of the camps, and prior to reading this title, I had never really thought about how the liberating soldiers themselves had been affected. As the author finds, even 60 years later, many of the surviving liberators refuse to talk about it all. Of the liberators she interviewed, many had not spoken at length of what they witnessed for years and even decades after they came home. Most of them slipped into second-person when describing what they saw upon entering the camps. With the liberators' psyches being so damaged, their damage also transferred to their loved ones, including their children, in myriad fashion. I was surprised to learn that none of them really knew about the concentration camps; they knew the existed, but they equated them with our own Japanese internment camps (not that THOSE weren't horrid, either .. taking citizens away from their homes, work, and schools based on their ethnicity is not something that we in America can ever repeat). But we didn't KILL the people living in them or force them to do hard labor or use them in our twisted medical experiments.It's difficult for me to rate a book like this. I can't say it was enjoyable; it was very difficult to see the included photos. It DID make me think, and it DID make me finally take the time to sit with Bebe Boy James and explain the Holocaust and other horrible periods that happened based on non-acceptance. I think it's important for all of us to let our children know that these things happen - we don't need to show them pictures (James is only 10, and I didn't feel comfortable showing him pics), but we have to let them know. History can't be allowed to repeat itself, and if we forget, even with something that's as hard to think about as the Holocaust, we do an injustice to the victims and to the liberators.QUOTESPerhaps his set jaw evidenced his effort to compartmentalize the horrors he had witnessed in Nordhausen: The countless rows of disfigured, unrecognizably human bodies; the walking corpses covered with lice begging for a cigarette or a drop of water; the barracks saturated in excrement, the tunnel in the mountains from which walking dead emerged, after having excavated tunnels with no more than pickaxes.Although there had been rumors about concentration camps, which we dismissed as exaggerations, we were stunned by what we found - an absolute abomination. When I got there I just couldn't believe my eyes. I got sick to my stomach because of what I saw and smelled.No photo has ever shown what the soldiers encountered when they walked through the camp gates.BOOK RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars

  • Michelle
    2019-03-18 05:22

    I love German history; it was one of the reasons it was my major in college. The country has had such a unique perspective on its place in the world, to put it mildly, that I have always been intrigued by the thought process behind their actions. I decided a long time ago that if I were to ever have obtained my PhD as an educator, I would have studied WWII and the impact of the concentration camps on the local populations. So, when Tolly at PR By the Book approached me about reading Gated Grief, I jumped at the chance.Ms. Levinson's takes the reader on her very personal struggle to understand the trauma experienced by the liberators of the camps. Her desire to get to the bottom of their experiences and how they related to their interactions with family and friends is heartfelt. As the daughter of a liberator, much of her insight is through her own childhood with a father who never discussed what he saw. These personal observations guide her through interactions with other liberators, granting her empathy as each veteran delves into memories that still moves him or her to tears or rendered him speechless in fear.The novel is divided into chapters, focusing on one particular veteran's memories, complete with photographs taken either by the veteran or by others at the camp being discussed. Each veteran has his or her own experiences but even sixty years later, the fear and horror each person felt is palpable. Some shut down; others break down into tears. The reader knows without a doubt that while sharing his or her experiences, each veteran is experiencing the visions, smells and sounds of the camps all over again.Ms. Levinson's father once stated to her that we are all the Nazis' victims. Upon first glace, it is a sentiment that is easy to dismiss. Yet, as the reader shares the grief and guilt experienced by the veterans as they tell their stories, one begins to understand that the trauma of the camps did not stop there. In fact, the horrors discovered by the U.S. soldiers came back with them because what occurred in those camps was something that changed every single person who was witness to them. This change went down to their very psyche and had profound impacts on relationships with their spouses, their children and even their grand- and great-grandchildren.Ms. Levinson's travels and discussions with veterans lead her to some very interesting conclusions about the legacy of trauma. While her focus is on liberators of the concentration camps, her conclusions can be extrapolated to anyone who experiences senseless killings, including soldiers in today's conflicts. Her insight into this idea of trauma completely changing a person, with the idea that the soldier comes back as half a person, is profound and forced me to consider my own relationship with my grandfather.Be warned - Gated Grief is not for the faint of heart. There are images that were completely new to me and that left me profoundly affected. One photo in particular will haunt me forever. I had nightmares if I read the book too close to bedtime and often had to put down the book to get away from the feelings of profound despair and guilt I felt while reading it. Still, either in spite of or because of all that, I absolute loved Gated Grief for the fresh look it gave me on the camps and the U.S.'s handling of them and for what the soldiers experienced. It reminded me anew of the absolute horror that occurred across eastern Europe during World War II and how those horrors have completely changed society for better or for worse. If ever one needs a reminder to be vigilant and never forget what happened, Gated Grief is that reminder.

  • SwensonBooks
    2019-02-22 23:26

    How does one combine memoir, ethnography, self-discovery, and history, while contributing to two important bodies of literature—Holocaust and psychotherapy—in an eminently readable book? Do what Leila Levinson has done in Gated Grief: The Daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator Discovers a Legacy of Trauma (Cable Publishing, 2011). The breadth of her project is evident even in the awards it has won—one for women’s memoir and the other for military writing. But its reach is greater than that. Anyone interested in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and trans-generational trauma, especially as it affects veterans and their families, should find this book valuable. I gave my copy to my cousin whose father, like Levinson’s, was among the troops that liberated Hitler’s death camps. Levinson begins her story with the discovery, after her father’s death, of photographs he took at the liberation of Nordhausen—an experience he never told his children about. The photos of stacked corpses, latrine-type graves, and walking-dead prisoners were kept in a cardboard box in a trunk in the office of the formidable father’s medical practice, guarded by a Nazi helmet he had taken as a souvenir. One photo is blurred by the photographer’s hands, shaking from the shock of the horror before him. The discovery of photos leads Levinson on a journey to find the father behind the camera—how he and their family were all affected by his traumatic witnessing. She interviews a dozen elderly subjects, living in different parts of the U.S., who were also camp liberators, asking how they responded, what they did with those memories, and what they told their spouses and children. Many had remained silent throughout the years, yet had spoken up to renounce Holocaust deniers. Many cried in recollecting what they had seen. Many repeated the same thoughts and themes about feeling overwhelmed, burdened, and angry. Levinson gathers up and repeats these themes, for the benefit of the reader and herself, as she awaits a revelation. Revelation comes to Levinson, which I will not disclose here. Her story is graciously focused on her subjects and their travails more than on herself. Still the message is clear: trauma will be passed from one generation to the next unless we explore our hurts honestly with the intention to bridge the chasms that human suffering creates. This book is Levinson’s personal exploration of those hurts; it offers a fine example of how to reconcile with and understand parents who have failed us. It also offers a fine example of writing memoir and ethnography. Indeed, there is “me-search” in Levinson’s research, but her skills as a writer keep the personal and the universal in proper balance. A teacher of English and Holocaust Literature at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Levinson has studied good writing and learned her lessons well. She knows how to bring a scene to life with rich detail, both visual and emotional. She knows just how much information to reveal and when, so that her discovery of trauma’s legacy becomes the reader’s. This is a memoir with plot and pace. I can’t help but marvel at her craft, evident even in the title—Gated Grief—which captures both the iconic images of concentration camp gates and the notion of pent-up grief, summarized poetically with alliteration. Gated Grief is Leila Levinson’s only book. She is the founder of, a website that invites veterans and children to share their stories. I thank Ms. Levinson for sharing her story so selflessly and effectively. I also thank her interviewees for digging down deep to places where, understandably, no one would want to go.

  • Dachokie
    2019-03-05 02:32

    The extent of Hitler's reach ..., February 28, 2011While I am always searching for new releases of World War II books, "Gated Grief" caught my eye because it addressed a topic that I had never really considered ... the lasting impact of the Holocaust on those who liberated the concentration camps. While expecting a somewhat broad approach to the subject matter, I quickly realized the basis for the book was much more personal and deep in nature. Leila Levinson's search for answers to her own childhood misery is what leads her to seek those who liberated the camps ... one of whom happened to be her father."Gated Grief" is both a fascinating and very depressing read. Leila Levinson's effectively articulates the omnipresent melancholy in her life by letting her words generate images in black and white. What is notably sad is that the book is basically about a grown woman who is trying to find out who her parents really were ... a mother torn away from her as a child and an emotionally distant father. The dreadful shadow cast on Levinson's life is her father's experience liberating a concentration camp and the profound effect It had on the rest of his life, especially as a father. While Levinson does not have the benefit of speaking to her father about his past, she finds his voice through a variety of individuals sharing a similar experience. From these interviews with other liberators, we sense the author coming to an understanding as to who her father really was and the quiet suffering he experienced as a liberator. That Levinson and the majority of those veterans interviewed are Jewish seems to amplify the impact of her story and we feel a degree of catharsis when the author realizes that liberators (like her father) were victims of Hitler as well. Furthermore, Levinson concludes the grief these veterans suffered at seeing the death camps had a profound impact on the families these men would later have, ensuring that future generations would be victims of Hitler as well. It is these interviews and a solemn visit to the site of the Nordhausen camp that Levinson has the necessary pieces to complete the puzzle of her childhood and comes to terms with her mother's departure and her father's emotional distance. I found Leila Levinson's story is both unique and enlightening as I had no idea the extent of the trauma experienced by those who liberated the death camps and never even considered the effect it had on their families. Her book takes the reader through a very personal and cathartic experience. Although it was occassionally difficult to separate the author's flashbacks from present day, Levinson effectively ties everything together by the book's end. The pictures of the concentration camps from the veteran's personal collections are graphic and depressing; they not only justify the extent of the liberator's grief, they put the reader in Leila Levinson's dad's boots 65 years ago. A truly thought-provoking piece of literature.

  • Kathleen Rodgers
    2019-03-01 04:14

    WINNER - Military Writers Society of America 2011 President’s AwardThe writing in “Gated Grief” is so compelling and so well executed that it reads like the best fiction. Yet this is a true story. You step into the author’s shoes and take on her persona. Once I started reading Leila Levinson’s award-winning book, I couldn’t turn away, even if I’d wanted to. This first person narrative held me captive. With every page I turned, I got so caught up in the story that I felt like I was shadowing the author. When she moved, I moved. When she remembered, I remembered. Her story became mine. She states in her author bio: “The wounds of war travel far and deep. My hope for “Gated Grief” is that it brings understanding and reconciliation between parents and children as it has for my father and me. And yes, reconciliation can happen even after our parent has passed away.”Leila Levinson succeeded. This book is a MUST READ. The author is a graduate of Vassar College, Indiana University at Bloomington and the University of Texas School of Law. She has appeared on CNN, is a regular contributing blogger for Huffington Post, and has written for The Washington Post, The Austin American Statesman, The Texas Observer, WWII Quarterly, CrossCurrents and War, Literature, and Art. To read more about the author, please visit her website: Kathleen M. Rodgers ~ author of the award-winning novel, “The Final Salute”

  • Tejas Janet
    2019-03-19 22:16

    As expected, an extremely intense book. I had to approach reading this book in a single, focused time period. For me, this seemed the best way to absorb the material most effectively. It was honestly also a 'containment strategy' -- a way of limiting my exposure to the inherent pain and unbearable grief necessarily involved in confronting the incomprehensibility of this massive genocide occurring within our recent human history, having taken place within many people's current lifetimes. I find it difficult to write about what I felt while reading this book. The irony of this isn't lost on me as much of the book deals with addressing and coming to terms with the silence of American veterans who liberated the prisoners at the Nazi death camps at World War II's conclusion, a silence born of a profound horror beyond words. Gated Grief helped me understand this silence better, and to once again conclude that silence in the face of man's inhumanity to man is unacceptable. Speaking out and remembering is a way of showing respect to the victims and their loved ones, and also hopefully makes a meaningful contribution to preventing further genocides and atrocities. I highly recommend this book, and commend author Leila Levinson for her valuable contribution to both holocaust and psychotherapy literature.

  • Cheryl
    2019-03-20 04:41

    In Gated Grief, Leila Levinson shares with readers a glimpse into what her father, Dr. Reuben Levinson witnessed, while treating patients in concentration camps. As well as life for Leila growing up a daughter of a GI Concentration Camp Liberator. Be warned as the pictures in this book are not for the faint at heart. Some are really hard to stomach only for the fact that they are images of real events that took place to many innocent people. I have been fascinated by books on the subject of the Holocaust. I can remember reading The Hiding Place and The Diary of Anne Frank. Both good books. What made these books so good was the raw emotions that the authors were not afraid to show by sharing the ordeals that they had to go through to survive. While Gated Grief does touch on some of this. What I took away from this book was that this book was also a discovery of Leila Levinson finding herself and her heritage and who her father was. Hearing stories from some of the other people whom Mrs. Levinson interviewed were interesting. Gated Grief may be a little on the bleak side but this book is also about hope and not being afraid to remember the past and the many who died.

  • Margaret Klein
    2019-03-21 02:26

    I was fascinated by this book. An in-depth look at the grief and trauma that GIs who liberated concentration camps, provides an excellent manual on trauma and PTSD. Even more important is the attempt to understand what this trauma did to the children of the liberators. Like work done with children of Holocaust survivors, we learn that many children had a hard time understanding mood swings, silence, uneven parenting. However, the author really didn't uncover the answers to her question. For her, there was a more pressing question--resolving her anger at her father, and looking at her own trauma and abandonment issues. While quite promising, in the end, our book group decided that she came across as whiny. And it seems a stretch to compare going to summer camp in the Adirondacks on a train similar to going to a concentration camp on a train. While she didn't want others to be traumatized by the images her father saw and preserved, she includes lots of photos in the book, traumatizing some and causing other to cover them up with one hand or a sheet of paper. Nonetheless, the book has good information about PTSD, trauma and the role it plays in GIs and their children.

  • Carol Schultz Vento
    2019-02-27 01:15

    Gated Grief is an extremely well written book about how World War II veterans dealt with the trauma of war. The Greatest Generation paradigm has led to the misunderstanding about the prevalence of PTSD in World War II combat veterans. Just like veterans of subsequent wars, the WWII soldier came home with invisible psychological wounds. However, American society did not acknowledge the reality of psychic harm from the 'good war'; therefore few of those veterans obtained the help they needed. Not surprisingly, many buried those emotions, but that silence had a negative impact on their family and children. In Leila's book, she weaves the story of how her family was affected with the stories of other veterans, who like her father, were involved in the liberation of concentration camps. Gated Grief leaves one with the message that even victorious wars change those who fight them and America must be ready to support veterans and their families upon the warrior's homecoming with more than just yellow ribbons and parades.

  • Curt Bozif
    2019-02-26 01:17

    An honest and deeply personal memoir about the reverberating effects of a war on the child of a war veteran and Nazi death camp liberator. Levinson provides numerous insights into how traumas of the past can become manifested in the lives of the second generation, not only as a lingering depression, but also in the form of nagging question, a fantasy, an obsession, and self-reproach. As the son of a Vietnam veteran in the midst of writing about his own struggles with his father's past, Levinson's book has become a guide to my own emotions and inspiration.

  • Carolyn Schriber
    2019-02-28 06:17

    One of the most powerful examination of the holocaust I have ever read. What makes Levinson's work different from the rest is viewpoint. We've all read about the victims and their stories; Levinson looks at the liberators and the horrors of their own discoveries. As I read, I kept wondering which ones suffered most: those who lived and died in those camps, or those who discovered the camps and then had to live the rest of their lives with those scenes embedded in their minds.

  • Rena
    2019-02-28 05:25

    I did enjoy this book and am glad I read it, however it was not as good as I expected. I think the book does a fairly good job of looking at the effects of grief across generations. I learned a few things about the Jewish US Army soldiers and their efforts to liberate the camps. I would really like to give it 3.5 stars.

  • Catherine
    2019-03-22 22:25

    Excellent treatment of a topic that needs more attention. Generational trauma, dissociative trauma, secondary trauma and where they intersect. Her research with little or no academic support was impressive. My impression is that it could have been even better if a larger publishing house had gotten behind this book for the editing and for the distribution it deserves.

  • Hildie
    2019-03-13 06:16

    Really gripping and fascinating examination of the GIs who liberated the concentration camps. None of them seemed to talk about their experiences. In our tell-all day and age this is strange to me, so I read this with a lot of interest. I've always been interested the the concentration camp genre and this is an excellent addition. Lots of very graphic photos that I'd never seen.

  • Steve
    2019-03-09 06:32

    Sobering. A true journey of love and courage to understand how the horror of liberating a concentration camp molded a father's relationship with his family. It I a a good sight to them any aspects of PTSD.

  • PK Reeves
    2019-03-17 00:22

    3.5 stars Levinson's search leaves you emotionally awakened. See review Aisle B

  • Barbara Marincel
    2019-03-16 23:19

    Really helped me understand what my dad, a WWII vet and also a concentration camp liberator, went through.