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The review is taken from my Goodreads profile.
The Librarian of Auschwitz: Based on the True Story of Dita Kraus by Antonio Iturbe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It never decreases, the horror that a massacre of this scale by a civilised nation could have happened. That being born of a particular race can lead to systematic murder on a factory scale, using state of the art technology. That a nation so similar to our own could find enough willing participants to carry out the evil will of a nazi government.
Amidst the horror the camp inhabitants continued everyday life. Brave, intelligent souls worked hard to bring a routine to each day to keep up hope and spirits, especially amongst the younger children.
At Auschwitz the nazis set up a 'family camp' and the inhabitants of this camp worked. The intention was that this was the camp that the nazis would show the Red Cross if they visited in the hope of persuading them that they were behaving in accordance with international law. How they would explain the smoke and the chimneys is anyone's guess but the Red Cross didn't visit, nobody came until the end of the war.
14 year old Dita comes to the camp with her mother and father. Like many of the camp's inhabitants she is Czech. In the 'school' that is set up in the family camp she is the librarian, charged with looking after the 8 books that have been smuggled into the camp. She checks them out to the teachers, she repairs them and she hides them every night. The nazis know nothing of this as teaching is forbidden, books are forbidden and pencils are forbidden. But for all the evil in humanity there is a greater amount of ingenuity, of spirit, of determination and of love.
This is a novel based on the story of Dita. Many of the characters are real and the events are as described but worked in a storyline format. It is heartbreaking and sickening but also uplifting.
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