Friday 31 August 2018

Book Review: Auschwitz Lullaby

Book Description

Auschwitz Lullaby brings to life the story of Helene Hannemann—a woman who sacrificed everything for family and fought furiously for the children she hoped to save.
On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.
After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.
Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.
Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.

My Reflections: 

This book was such a heavy, saddening read. Of course, I knew it going in but the author's vivid writing was able to capture the events in such explicit detail that the very darkness and evil of this horrendous time shook me to the core.

The pure light in this book is Helene Hannemann. Though this book is fiction, the character is based on historical events and real people who showed courage in the face of the most terrifying time under the rule of Hitler.  

I often find myself drawn to fluffy, feel-good books, there is quite enough suffering in the world around me to not want to read about more. However, I believe that we must know the atrocities of the Holocaust in order to not let this be a mere time in history that is forgotten. This is not a feel-good book, it is, however, a must read. Its story and events must be retold. 

Helene Hannemann is a real hero, along with the many others who endured the atrocities. She managed to hold tight to her love for family, and those in her charge. She shows such dignity and courage!
Helene made a difference in the midst of horrors I hope we never know. Through it all, we see her humanness, a truth to self that anyone would experience.  

Escobar is able to tell the story with such power that I was literally sobbing and broken for these people and their realities. 

Surprisingly this book was first published in Spanish and then later translated. I encourage you to delve into the stories of Helene. 
Hitler was not the only sick individual read up on Dr. Mengle. The doctor who essentially experimented and tortured many innocent children. I read an article where to this day they don't fully know what he was injecting into these people. Some of his tactics were pure evil!

I would recommend this book to individuals over the age of 12 due to the graphic content. I will be sharing this book with my 16-year-old. I will certainly be looking at more from this internationally best selling authour!

I received this book free of charge from Book Look Bloggers in return for my honest review. Thank you, Book Look!

Mario Escobar Golderos has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the executive director of an NGO and directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

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