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Extended Audio Sample Let Me Go, by Helga Schneider Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (487 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Helga Schneider Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Helga Schneider was four when her mother suddenly abandoned her family in Berlin in 1941. When she next saw her mother, thirty years later, she learned the shocking reason why. Her mother had joined the Nazi SS and had become a guard in the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, where she was in charge of a “correction” unit and responsible for untold acts of torture.

Nearly thirty more years would pass before their second and final reunion, an emotional encounter in Vienna where her ailing mother, then eighty-seven and unrepentant about her past, was living in a nursing home. Let Me Go is the extraordinary account of that meeting and of their conversation, which powerfully evokes the misery of obligation colliding with the inescapable horror of what her mother has done.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Only a versatile, sensitive reader like Rosenblat could narrate such emotionally fraught terrain, exposing the pain of a woman abandoned by her mother and forced to find her own moral compass.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Rosenblat is completely believable. She is by turns sly, boastful, strident, angry, confused, and pitiable. When the elderly woman describes her participation in ghastly medical experiments and other tortures, Rosenblat’s matter-of-fact reading makes the conversation particularly chilling and disturbing…This unforgettable memoir is a gripping and moving listening experience.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Mothers come in all shapes and persuasions: this one enthusiastically joined the Waffen SS, abandoned her children, and embraced her tasks at Auschwitz…Survivor’s tales come in as many shapes as mothers. This one, from the dark side, is as affecting as a kick in the stomach.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “The story will bring tears to most listeners’ eyes…Barbara Rosenblat’s reading is astounding…When Rosenblat reads Schneider’s mother’s words, the listener is chilled by the evil in her voice, and when she reads Schneider’s words, the listener feels the anger and confusion that permeate the book.”


  • “Schneider packs…[an] emotional punch into this brief but tremendously cathartic memoir.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “For the duration of these pages, the old, mad Germay that we had thought dead comes to life again.”

    J. M. Coetzee, Nobel Prize–winning author

  • “An exceptional document, an autobiographical testimony of the first order, this essential book confronts the reader with an absolute truth.”

    La Razón (Spain)

  • “A courageous and terrifying document.”

    Télérama (France)

  • “Schneider writes with words that burn on the page…with a love and pity that could leave no one indifferent.”

    Oggi (Italy)

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award
  • Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice, April 2004

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Denis | 2/19/2014

    " An important, emotionally intense and difficult book, which should be requisite reading for anyone trying to understand what happened in Germany during the Nazi era. It is, basically, the portrait that a daughter makes of her own mother, an unrepentant and ferocious jewish-hater Nazi who, decades after the fall of the regime, still hangs on to her despicable beliefs. The frankness and discomfort of the author are heartbreaking. She tries to reach out to her mother when the latest is gravely ill, despite the fact that she despises her, and also tries to come to terms with her own guilt. She partly fails, of course, because it is impossible to come to terms with pure evil - although one can imagine that writing this book has been a necessary cathartic experience for her. It is a courageous book: writing about your own parent like this is not easy. It also illuminates one of the most troubling aspect of the Nazi era - which is actually universal: how evil lies in the most ordinary people, and how anyone, really, can become a monster. It is chilling and horrifying - some gruesome revelations are even shocking. Schneider's writing is simple and direct, as it should be with such a subject. It's the kind of book that haunts you for a long time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Kirsty | 2/18/2014

    " I first read this whilst I was in Milan in 2007, and I've just re-read it whilst in France. It's not the most cheerful holiday reading, but it's a marvellous book. It's shocking, harrowing and heartbreaking, and is filled with the most horrendous scenes about what went on in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. It's such a courageous account to have written, and I think that Schneider has been so brave in detailing her estranged mother's part within the concentration camp system. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Karen Kimball | 2/7/2014

    " This is a quick but spectacular read. Considering the topic, quick is best, as it can be hard to digest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kris | 2/4/2014

    " A true story about a young girl whose mother was active extrremely committed to the Nazi party, so much so that she essentially abandoned her husband and young children because of it, joining the SS and becoming a concentration camp guard. This narrative is written by her daughter and tells some of her mother's story and also their final meeting at a nursing home, nearly 60 years after she left in 1941. Her mother's lack of remorse is chilling. The language in the book is a bit stilted at time, perhaps because it is translated from Italian, but the story of the daughter's struggle to deal with her mother's actions is interesting and poignant. "

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About the Author

Helga Schneider was born in 1937 in Steinberg, now in Poland, and spent her childhood in Berlin. She has lived as a freelance writer for many years in Bologna, Italy.