The Librarian of Auschwitz

Amazon has this listed under historical fiction. I don’t think it reads that way though. I’d call it more of a biography although I realize that many of the storylines are in fact guesses and not facts. So, you see the title, and you have to know going in that this is not going to be a breezy read. I had to stop several times while reading just to process the facts presented. The book doesn’t read like The Diary of Anne Frank or The Book Thief. It has more of a documentary feel and less of a story setting, some of the narrator switches were confusing, but I think that may have lost something in translation as it looks like this was originally written in Spanish and was just published here in the States a month ago.

The Nazi’s were prepared at any time to show the Red Cross their “family camp” full of detainees (prisoners) they planned to keep just enough people there that the outside world would think that they were not committing the most massive genocide ever. At the same time, the detainees wanted the Nazi’s to believe that they were holding a kind of day camp for the children when they were, in fact, running a small school. This school had several teachers, a headmaster, and most remarkably a librarian who was only 14 years old. Dita Adlerova (now Dita Kraus) had a library of eight old books and several more “living books” which were books that other prisoners knew so well that they could perform them for the children. 

  The constant threat of being caught and executed permeates the book. The tension at times is almost unbearable. Although most readers have some sense of the history going in, this book makes you feel the will of the Jewish people not willing to give up their beliefs and their hopes that life will continue even after this dire time in their history. As a side note, some readers might feel that the story starts out a bit slow, but the back history and introduction of each character becomes relative in the end.

I highly recommend this book to mature audiences.

I borrowed this ebook from the Chicago Public Library.

The Librarian of Auschwitz By Antonio Iturbe (Author),‎ Lilit Thwaites (Translator)

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