Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar

My thoughts:  I have mixed feelings about this book. In truth, it is a heartrending story of the desperate plight of prisoners in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. And it is told in a manner that lends credence to the veracity of the story and is rife with the desperation of the prisoners. Being based on the life and experience of a real woman, Helene Hannemann, held captive in Auschwitz one tends to accept the story and details as reality. It is, though, a novel. A biographic historical novel based on Helene Hannemann's experiences at Auschwitz.

While I respect the writing and research of the author, Mario Escobar, I found it hard to accept the graces extended to Mrs. Hannemann by the despotic SS officer Dr. Mengele. Experiences recounted heretofore of life in Auschwitz have not attested to any form of grace, even constrained grace. But perhaps there are records or journals that recount such accounts and thus give authenticity to this story.

I still found this book a compelling read. The bravery of Mrs. Hannemann as she stayed with her young family and as she entered the unbearably brutal and filthy confines of Auschwitz is inspiring and touching to one's very innermost soul. Further, her love for others and especially the children of others held in this captivity speaks to a brave, compassionate soul.

I recommend this book to anyone who desires to read about those brutal times in the German concentration camp Auschwitz. I recommend it because it shows the scope of hatred for others different from the pure race that the Nazi's felt themselves to be.

About the book: 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.

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from the BookLook Blogger Review Program on behalf of the publisher and author to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! This sounds like a powerful book! It's great to have you back at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com after our month's vacation! Thanks for sharing!


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