Saturday, February 1, 2014

Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor, Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in AuschwitzI was a little worried when I picked up this book. Nazi experiments...children...just no. But something about it made me want to listen. Its a part of the camps we don't hear much about. And in this case, being a twin and therefore a "wanted prisoner" ultimately saved her life. Saved her, while so nearly killing her as well. Let's just say it bought her time. Time in which to fight for survival. And fight she did.

So how does one write a book about Nazi atrocities and make it suitable for YA? Somehow, Eva manages it. We as the reader feel the horror of the situation and yet we are spared the complete nightmare. So well done!

It's a short book (only 175 pages) but packs a wallop.

A few tidbits that really spoke to me...

As the political situation was heating up in the country, life was becoming more hostile in school. For one thing, the school started teaching Nazi propaganda. One day, Eva is given a math worksheet. On the paper is the word problem: "If you have five Jews and you kill three, how many Jews are left?" can you imagine the horror, being the only two Jews in your class while everyone is working out problems like this?

Another telling statement was when they were released from the camp. Eva and her twin sister were temporarily set up in someone's house where they were put in a room with toys. The toys made her angry and she had no idea what to do with them. She was 11 years old and no longer knew how to play...

And finally, on reaching their old home now dilapidated and deserted. She is met by her mother's old red dachshund, Lily. After all that time the dog was still there! She made this observation, "apparently only Jewish people were sent to concentration camps, not Jewish dogs."

 This is an extremely heartfelt memoir that everyone should read. Its not always pleasant, but if they lived it, we can read it. Its the least we can do. And make sure this never happens again.

SEX: None
PROFANITY: Jews are called 'Swine ' and 'smelly, dirty Jews '
VIOLENCE: Some disturbing imagery


Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my free ecopy to read and review

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