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Archive for December 1st, 2017

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The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

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Antonio G. Iturbe 

Author’s Bio

Antonio González Iturbe (Zaragoza, 1967) grew up in the port district of Barcelona and graduated in Information Sciences at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. He has been dedicated to cultural journalism for twenty years. He has been the coordinator of the El Periódico television supplement, editor of the Fantastic Magazine, and has been working for the magazine Qué Leer for sixteen years, of which he is currently director. He has collaborated, among other media, in the book sections of Protagonistas, Ona Catalana, La Cope or ICat FM and in newspaper culture supplements such as La Vanguardia or Avui.

He has published the Straight twisted novels and Days of salt, and is the author of the series of children’s books “Cases of the Inspector Cito”, published in six countries. He has taught as a visiting professor at the journalism faculties of the Universitat Blanquerna, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya and Abat Oliva. He has also been guest professor in the Master’s Degree in Publishing at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and is currently a professor in the Master’s Degree in Publishing at the Faculty of Arts of the Autonomous University of Madrid. He has been a member of the Selection Committee of the Library Network of the Diputació de Barcelona and is currently a board member of the Associació de Periodistes Culturals de Catalunya. (Translated through Google)

My Review

5 stars

Dita Kraus was fourteen when her parents and she were taken from the Terezin ghetto to Auschwitz. After being transported with the railcars, they get to sorting and then her mother and she finds themselves in an overcrowded building that they have to fight to get a bed. From there her parents are sent to work and Dita finds herself in a warehouse where they have started an improvised school. There Dita is offered the position of librarian of eight pitiful books, the greatest treasure in the whole camp.

Dita survives doing whatever she can. She dodges Mengele’s attention, she avoids the pneumonia that kills her father, starvation, beatings, and so much more. Then, just when it seems they are all about to die like a group of 3,000 people three months earlier, Dita and her mother are sent to another camp to die.

What happened to those sent to the concentration camps is horrible and a dark period in humanities history. But this is something that we need to learn from if we hope to never experience this again. It’s heartbreaking to follow along as Dita remembers her life before the war, her time in Terezin, and the things she endures in Auschwitz.

I love how being headstrong kept her strong and that she refused to give in to the fear. The chapter at the end where the author talks about meeting the real life Dita Kraus had me in tears of joy. To hear the story of this amazing woman and to know what she lived through us very touching.

This is an amazing story of endurance. This book is narrated by Marisa Calin. She does an amazing job with all the accents. You will be drawn into this story of horror and survival. This is one book that should be a must read, especially when you learn about the real life survivors.

I received The Librarian of Auschwitz from Macmillan Audio for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

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