I am Ella
Photo Credit: Tyler Leigh Vivier / Good Things Guy

Joanne Jowell captured Ella Blumenthal in such a way that we felt as if she was sitting across from us, sharing her stories in person; armed with toast and tea, we were drawn into the pages and life of “I am Ella”.


South Africa (19 June 2023) – Joanne Jowell took on the task of capturing the powerhouse that is Ella Blumenthal between the pages of “I am Ella” and she did it so beautifully, that Ella appeared to be seated right next to us, sharing her story in her own words.

One can never fully comprehend what took place during World War 2 and the atrocities that were inflicted upon the Jewish people of Europe. It takes survivor testimony to offer a glimpse into life during that time. Ella brings to life her own struggles, devastating loss, her survival and her rise while rebuilding her life in South Africa.

Ella Blumenthal is a survivor of World War 2, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto and of the camps Auschwitz, Majdanek and finally Bergen-Belsen. She chose to forge a life of positivity and focused solely on building her family, a thriving business and a life that would mean something.

In this biography, we hear how Ella lost each of her 23 family members to the Holocaust and how she was forced to process these losses. Some had taken place right in front of her eyes, while others she heard of while meeting friends and neighbours in the different camps as she was moved around. Ella and her niece Roma were the only survivors from their entire family.

“I am Ella” was a compelling read, leaving one in tears and feeling hopeful all in one sitting. Ella is a force and her story has left an imprint on our minds, and the thought that if Ella could overcome the greatest adversity, so can we!

She is an inspirational human and one we look forward to reading about time, and time again. We thank Joanne for spending all those hours drinking tea and having biscuits with Ella, building on their relationship and compiling Ella’s life into this beautiful book. Her grace, her cheek and her wit have been immortalised between the pages of this book and will bring hope to the generations that will still come.

If you are looking for a story that evokes awe, inspiration and a better understanding of the past, this is the read for you! Just make sure you go in armed with a warm drink, a plate of buttered toast and a tissue or two.

“I survived the Warsaw Ghetto, the gas chambers of Majdanek, the depravity of Auschwitz and the utter hopelessness of Bergen-Belsen. I lost my parents, my brothers, my sisters, their spouses and children… But for me, while abnormal, this is not extraordinary. That I went on to love, to talk, to write, to have toast and tea and to live my life – that is what is extraordinary” – Ella Blumenthal 

“I am Ella” was published on the 17th of April 2023 and is available as a paperback at all bookstores. For more about “I am Ella”, take a look at the website here.

Sources: Good Things Guy
Don’t ever miss the Good Things. Download the Good Things Guy App now on Apple or Google
Have something to add to this story? Please share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens, or share your good news with us by clicking here or click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes there’s good news around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

Or watch an episode of Good Things TV below, a show created to offer South Africans balance in a world with what feels like constant bad news. We’re here to remind you that there are still so many good things happening in South Africa & we’ll leave you feeling a little more proudly South African.

Facebook Comments

About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *