All But My Life Characters

All But My Life Character List

Gerda Weissmann Klein

She is the main person of the novel as it is an autobiography written by Gerda Weissmann Klein and she recalls the story of her life during Nazi occupation of Poland and how she survived the Holocaust and World War 2. Gerda's story shows that the Nazis took everything from her but her life and the story showcases her bravery and optimism even after losing so much. She eventually is rescued after the efforts of the Allies and goes to marry Kurt Klein, a soldier.

Julius Weissmann

He is Gerda's father and at the time of Nazi occupation of Poland, he was very edlerly and ill but does what he can to make his family's life better. He only lives in part one of the book but Gerda consistently prays for his survival.

Helene Weissmann

She is Gerda's mother and was born in Bielitz, Poland. She would sacrifice anything for her family and is shocked by the Nazi occupation. She is seperated from Gerda after part one of the book and Gerda never sees her again but remembers her and prays for her. She is referred to as 'mama' in the book.

Arthur Weissmann

He is Gerda's older brother and is forced to leave with the other young men in the town. He urges Gerda to be strong for their parents and Gerda never sees him again but always remembers him through her memories. He is described as being witty and a brave young man.


She is Gerda's childhood friend back in her hometown in Poland. Erika writes a letter to Gerda describing the situation of the holocaust and everything that has happened and this is what really makes Gerda realise the terrible situation that they are in. Erika also mentions her finace whom she loves very much but is killed by the Nazis.

Kurt Klein

He is an American soldier who helps liberate Gerda from imprisonment and visits and looks after her in the hospital. His love and patience help Gerda to recover and he knows how to make her feel better as his parents were victims of the Holocaust. He and Gerda fall in love and they later marry in Paris, France and have children together.

Ilse Kleinzahler

She is Gerda's childhood friend and her and Gerda are forced to march between different camps. Ilse eventually dies during a march as she cannot handle the walk anymore. Ilse is a good friend to Gerda and sacrificed her food and risked a lot for Gerda. Ilse is a key motivator for Gerda in her story.

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