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Friday, October 26, 2018
I have a few suggestions before reading this book. You should find a quiet place, grab a blanket and something to drink. Get a pillow so you can use it to scream in. For me these were must necessities to get through this harrowing account of history that was deplorable.
Helene Hannemann was a special woman who loved her family deeply. She was of Aryan German descent while her husband was a Gypsy. The story seems relatively tame until one day when everything seemed normal, walking up the stairs to their place were SS guards. Helene's worse fear was coming true. They were there to take her husband and children away. Oh how I cried as I pictured Helene clutching her children with all the strength she had. There was no way she was staying behind while her family were going to face an unbearable future.
The author pulls no punches as the camp is described in deplorable condition. Men were separated from their family and the story focuses on Helene and her children. I have read many books about the concentration camps were Jews were sent. The book has now made me aware that other nationalities were targeted as well. The book is based on a true story and the author has done an admirable job of showing us what a mother will do to protect her children.
I was sickened when Dr. Mengele was introduced into the story. He was such a heartless and ruthless person. This is where my pillow came into play. I stopped reading half way through the book, and screamed into the pillow as long as I could. The senselessness of this man's actions made anger take me over. How can anyone send innocent women, men and children to death while smiling the whole time? The author goes into vivid details of the torture, mistreatment and inhumane actions taken on these people. I will never understand how a person can declare himself king of the world and dismiss human life with a wave of a hand.
This book is a hard one to read, but important because it gives us a glimpse inside a world where death was an odor that lingered in the air twenty-four hours a day. You could screams of agony from children who were starving and shivering from the cold. The women there with the children grew weary as one by one a life was taken . Helene was a mother who was willing to stand up for what was right, did not worry about her safety and never gave up hope.
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. The review is my own opinion.