Foreign Policy Magazine


Love After an Apocalypse

Holocaust survivor Marceline Loridan-Ivens never stopped grappling with loss—or fighting to live.

By Jean-Marc Dreyfus

GT Marceline Loridan-Ivens


MARCELINE LORIDAN-IVENS, née Rozenberg, died on Sept. 18, 2018, in Paris. She was 90 years old.

In 1944, at age 15, Loridan-Ivens was deported from the Vaucluse region of southern France eventually to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp with her father. He did not survive; she went on to become a writer, filmmaker, actress, public speaker, and, above all, a singular witness to history. Small in size, outspoken, and with a wild mane of signature red hair, Loridan-Ivens became a beloved public figure, known for her Parisian cheek, her energy, and her humor.

Loridan-Ivens frequently lectured on her experiences. As she once told an interviewer, “I know I have the duty to express myself and add my voice to those of people who have had the courage to speak before the death of the last survivor sends the camps into the realm of history once and for all.” And so she did.

Late in her long life, Loridan-Ivens published a series of memoirs that tackled the experience and subsequent impact of the war. The first—Ma vie balagan (“My Messy Life,” balagan meaning “chaotic” in Hebrew), published in 2008—is a sweeping look at her life from deportation through to the 2000s. Her second—Et tu n’es pas revenu (“But You Did Not Come Back”)—came out in 2015 and became a best-seller in France. It is an

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