The Nazis murdered their husbands but concentration camp prisoners Priska, Rachel, and Anka would not let evil take their unborn children too—a remarkable true story that will appeal to readers of The Lost and The Nazi Officer’s Wife, Born Survivors celebrates three mothers who defied death to give their children life. Eastern Europe, 1944: Three women believe they are pregnant, but are torn from their husbands before they can be certain. Rachel is sent to Auschwitz, unaware that her husband has been shot. Priska and her husband travel there together, but are immediately separated. Also at Auschwitz, Anka hopes in vain to be reunited with her husband. With the rest of their families gassed, these young wives are determined to hold on to all they have left—their lives, and those of their unborn babies. Having concealed their condition from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, they are forced to work and almost starved to death, living in daily fear of their pregnancies being detected by the SS. In April 1945, as the Allies close in, Priska gives birth. She and her baby, along with Anka, Rachel, and the remaining inmates, are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp on a hellish seventeen-day train journey. Rachel gives birth on the train, and Anka at the camp gates. All believe they will die, but then a miracle occurs. The gas chamber runs out of Zyklon-B, and as the Allied troops near, the SS flee. Against all odds, the three mothers and their newborns survive their treacherous journey to freedom. On the seventieth anniversary of Mauthausen’s liberation from the Nazis by American soldiers, renowned biographer Wendy Holden recounts this extraordinary story of three children united by their mothers’ unbelievable—yet ultimately successful—fight for survival.
Inspired by a true story, My Mother’s Secret is a captivating and ultimately uplifting tale intertwining the lives of two Jewish families in hiding from the Nazis, a fleeing German soldier, and the mother and daughter who save them all. Franciszka and her daughter, Helena, are simple, ordinary people...until 1939, when the Nazis invade their homeland. Providing shelter to Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland is a death sentence, but Franciszka and Helena do exactly that. In their tiny home in Sokal, they hide a Jewish family in a loft above their pigsty, a Jewish doctor with his wife and son in a makeshift cellar under the kitchen, and a defecting German soldier in the attic—each party completely unknown to the others. For everyone to survive, Franciszka will have to outsmart her neighbors and the German commander. Told simply and succinctly from four different perspectives—all under one roof—My Mother’s Secret is a testament to the kindness, courage, and generosity of ordinary people who chose to be extraordinary.
Author: Rochelle G. Saidel
Publisher: Terrace Books
Release Date: 2006-03-09
Ravensbrück was the only major Nazi concentration camp for women. Located about fifty miles north of Berlin, the camp was the site of murder by slave labor, torture, starvation, shooting, lethal injection, "medical" experimentation, and gassing. While this camp was designed to hold 5,000 women, the actual figure was six times this number. Between 1939 and 1945, 132,000 women from twenty-three countries were imprisoned in Ravensbrück, including political prisoners, Jehovah's Witnesses, "asocials" (including Gypsies, prostitutes, and lesbians), criminals, and Jewish women (who made up about 20 percent of the population). Only 15,000 survived. Drawing upon more than sixty narratives and interviews of survivors in the United States, Israel, and Europe as well as unpublished testimonies, documents, and photographs from private archives, Rochelle Saidel provides a vivid collective and individual portrait of Ravensbrück’s Jewish women prisoners. She worked for over twenty years to track down these women whose poignant testimonies deserve to be shared with a wider audience and future generations. Their memoirs provide new perspectives and information about satellite camps (there were about 70 slave labor sub-camps). Here is the story of real daily camp life with the women’s thoughts about food, friendships, fear of rape and sexual abuse, hygiene issues, punishment, work, and resistance. Saidel includes accounts of the women's treatment, their daily struggles to survive, their hopes and fears, their friendships, their survival strategies, and the aftermath. On April 30, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated Ravensbrück. They found only 3,000 extremely ill women in the camp, because the Nazis had sent other remaining women on a death march. The Jewish Women of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp reclaims the lost voices of the victims and restores the personal accounts of the survivors.
These were the times and places where humans descended to a level lower than animals. Ravensbrück was one of those times and places where human dignity became an unimaginable luxury. This is a true story of prisoner 44667 and the routine horror that systematically denigrated and stripped 132,000 women of their humanity. It is the story of true love. The details are historically accurate. None of the characters are fictional. Aline Virmoux and her husband were active members of the French Resistance. After three years of successful activities, they were caught in 1944 by the Gestapo. He was deported to Dachau. She was deported to the women’s concentration camp of Ravensbrück. Aline’s last few days in Nazi Germany were nothing short of a breathtaking and unforgettable case of survival and bravery.
Author: Tilar J. Mazzeo
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2017-06-06
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The "extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler--the "female Oskar Schindler"--who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II"--Dust jacket.
Author: Sarah Helm
Release Date: 2015-03-31
A masterly and moving account of the most horrific hidden atrocity of World War II: Ravensbrück, the only Nazi concentration camp built for women On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 867 women—housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes—was marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded in through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards. Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Holocaust. By the end of the war 130,000 women from more than twenty different European countries had been imprisoned there; among the prominent names were Geneviève de Gaulle, General de Gaulle’s niece, and Gemma La Guardia Gluck, sister of the wartime mayor of New York. Only a small number of these women were Jewish; Ravensbrück was largely a place for the Nazis to eliminate other inferior beings—social outcasts, Gypsies, political enemies, foreign resisters, the sick, the disabled, and the “mad.” Over six years the prisoners endured beatings, torture, slave labor, starvation, and random execution. In the final months of the war, Ravensbrück became an extermination camp. Estimates of the final death toll by April 1945 have ranged from 30,000 to 90,000. For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain, and today it is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War and interviews with survivors who have never talked before, Sarah Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved. Far more than a catalog of atrocities, however, Ravensbrück is also a compelling account of what one survivor called “the heroism, superhuman tenacity, and exceptional willpower to survive.” For every prisoner whose strength failed, another found the will to resist through acts of self-sacrifice and friendship, as well as sabotage, protest, and escape. While the core of this book is told from inside the camp, the story also sheds new light on the evolution of the wider genocide, the impotence of the world to respond, and Himmler’s final attempt to seek a separate peace with the Allies using the women of Ravensbrück as a bargaining chip. Chilling, inspiring, and deeply unsettling, Ravensbrück is a groundbreaking work of historical investigation. With rare clarity, it reminds us of the capacity of humankind both for bestial cruelty and for courage against all odds. From the Hardcover edition.
Author: R. D. Rosen
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: 2014-09-09
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The story of the generation of hidden child survivors told through the true experiences of three Jewish girls—from Poland, Holland, and France—who transcended their traumatic childhoods to lead remarkable lives in America. Only one in ten Jewish children in Europe survived the Holocaust, many in hiding. In Such Good Girls, R. D. Rosen tells the story of these survivors through the true experiences of three girls. Sophie Turner-Zaretsky, who spent the war years believing she was an anti-Semitic Catholic schoolgirl, eventually became an esteemed radiation oncologist. Flora Hogman, protected by a succession of Christians, emerged from the war a lonely, lost orphan, but became a psychologist who pioneered the study of hidden child survivors. Unlike Anne Frank, Carla Lessing made it through the war concealed with her family in the home of Dutch strangers before becoming a psychotherapist and key player in the creation of an international organization of hidden child survivors. In braiding the stories of three women who defied death by learning to be “such good girls,” Rosen examines a silent and silenced generation—the last living cohort of Holocaust survivors. He provides rich, memorable portraits of a handful of hunted children who, as adults, were determined to deny Hitler any more victories, and he recreates the extraordinary event that lured so many hidden child survivors out of their grown-up “hiding places” and finally brought them together.
Author: Emmy E. Werner
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2009-04-20
The people of Denmark managed to save almost their country’s entire Jewish population from extinction in a spontaneous act of humanity - one of the most compelling stories of moral courage in the history of World War II. Drawing on many personal accounts, Emmy Werner tells the story of the rescue of the Danish Jews from the vantage-point of living eyewitnesses- the last survivors of an extraordinary conspiracy of decency that triumphed in the midst of the horrors of the Holocaust. A Conspiracy of Decency chronicles the acts of people of good will from several nationalities. Among them were the German Georg F. Duckwitz, who warned the Jews of their impending deportation, the Danes who hid them and ferried them across the Oresund, and the Swedes who gave them asylum. Regardless of their social class, education, and religious and political persuasion, the rescuers all shared one important characteristic: they defined their humanity by their ability to act with great compassion. These people never considered themselves heroes - they simply felt that they were doing the right thing.
Author: Peter Grose
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Release Date: 2015-04-15
The untold story of an isolated French community that banded together to offer sanctuary and shelter to over 3,500 Jews in the throes of World War II Nobody asked questions, nobody demanded money. Villagers lied, covered up, procrastinated and concealed, but most importantly they welcomed. This is the story of an isolated community in the upper reaches of the Loire Valley that conspired to save the lives of 3,500 Jews under the noses of the Germans and the soldiers of Vichy France. It is the story of a pacifist Protestant pastor who broke laws and defied orders to protect the lives of total strangers. It is the story of an eighteen-year-old Jewish boy from Nice who forged 5,000 sets of false identity papers to save other Jews and French Resistance fighters from the Nazi concentration camps. And it is the story of a community of good men and women who offered sanctuary, kindness, solidarity and hospitality to people in desperate need, knowing full well the consequences to themselves. Powerful and richly told, A Good Place to Hide speaks to the goodness and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
Author: Marie Jalowicz Simon
Publisher: Little, Brown
Release Date: 2015-09-08
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
A thrilling piece of undiscovered history, this is the true account of a young Jewish woman who survived World War II in Berlin. In 1942, Marie Jalowicz, a twenty-year-old Jewish Berliner, made the extraordinary decision to do everything in her power to avoid the concentration camps. She removed her yellow star, took on an assumed identity, and disappeared into the city. In the years that followed, Marie took shelter wherever it was offered, living with the strangest of bedfellows, from circus performers and committed communists to convinced Nazis. As Marie quickly learned, however, compassion and cruelty are very often two sides of the same coin. Fifty years later, Marie agreed to tell her story for the first time. Told in her own voice with unflinching honesty, Underground in Berlin is a book like no other, of the surreal, sometimes absurd day-to-day life in wartime Berlin. This might be just one woman's story, but it gives an unparalleled glimpse into what it truly means to be human.
Author: Eugene L. Pogany
Release Date: 2001-10-01
In My Brother's Image is the extraordinary story of Eugene Pogany's father and uncle-identical twin brothers born in Hungary of Jewish parents but raised as devout Catholic converts until the Second World War unraveled their family. In eloquent prose, Pogany portrays how the Holocaust destroyed the brothers' close childhood bond: his father, a survivor of a Nazi internment camp, denounced Christianity and returned to the Judaism of his birth, while his uncle, who found shelter in an Italian monastic community during the war, became a Catholic priest. Even after emigrating to America the brothers remained estranged, each believing the other a traitor to their family's faith. This tragic memoir is a rich, moving family portrait as well as an objective historical account of the rupture between Jews and Catholics.
"In 1939," Julian Padowicz says, "I was a Polish Jew-hater. Under different circumstances my story might have been one of denouncing Jews to the Gestapo. As it happened, I was a Jew myself, and I was seven years old." Julian's mother was a Warsaw socialite who had no interest in child-rearing. She turned her son over completely to his governess, a good Catholic, named Kiki, whom he loved with all his heart. Kiki was deeply worried about Julian's immortal soul, explaining that he could go to Heaven only if he became a Catholic. When bombs began to fall on Warsaw, Julian's world crumbled. His beloved Kiki returned to her family in Lodz; Julian's stepfather joined the Polish army, and the grief-stricken boy was left with the mother whom he hardly knew. Resourceful and determinded, his mother did whatever was necessary to provide for herself and her son: she brazenly cut into food lines and befriended Russian officers to get extra rations of food and fuel. But brought up by Kiki to distrust all things Jewish, Julian considered his mother's behavior un-Christian. In the winter of 1940, as conditions worsened, Julian and his mother made a dramatic escape to Hungary on foot through the Carpathian mountains and Julian came to believe that even Jews could go to Heaven.
Author: Sarah Helm
Release Date: 2016-01
On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 800 women - housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes - were marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards. Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Nazi genocide. For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain and today is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War, and interviews with survivors who have never spoken before, Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved.