de Bertodano, Isabel

Isabel de Bertodano
1 December 2004Review

Sessions of York, 2001; ISBN 1 85072 271 4; 100pp

Otto Grunfeld was a teenager when he was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration for the crime of being a Jew. He spent two years living in a Jewish ghetto in Czechoslovakia before being transported to Auschwitz and later to Kaufering. During that time all other members of his immediate family were killed.


It took him fifty years to find the strength and the distance to be able to write about his war experience and the result is a slip of a book - just 100 pages. The weight of…

1 September 2004Review

Walker & Company, 2003. ISBN 0 7434 3036 0; 347pp; see

For hundreds of years Chechnya has been an itch on the underbelly of Russia - awkward to reach and irritatingly persistent. The most recent episodes of a shadowy and confused conflict are related in this autobiography of a Chechen surgeon who worked through the wars of the 1990s, armed only with a scalpel.

Khassan Baiev treated the wounded tirelessly and indiscriminately, faithful to the Hippocratic Oath to which the title refers and under which he had pledged to help anyone in need…