This week, I took a diversion from my usual reading – Science Fiction, Fantasy, Thrillers, Mysteries etc. – and read something very different. This book has also made me come to a difficult decision.
As a former Librarian, I couldn’t resist a book with the title: The Librarian of Auschwitz! Written by Antonio Iturbe, it is based on a true story. Here is the blurb:
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 books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.
But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…
Here is my review as shared on the Goodreads website:
The Librarian of Auschwitz: Based on the True Story of Dita Kraus by Antonio Iturbe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was not without flaws, as other Goodreads’ reviewers have written. Perhaps this is something to do with the author not being certain of his audience? Was the book intended for teenagers or adults? I am not sure. I’m not going to add more criticism as Holocaust books must be so difficult to write.
As a retired Librarian, I felt compelled to read the book. The idea of a young girl caring for and hiding a few precious books in such terrifying circumstances was very disturbing. I found the sections describing this very moving. Although parts of the book dragged, it became impossible to put down as the story progressed, whilst at the same time being very upsetting. As books about this subject must be.
The updates on the main characters was very interesting and I loved the author’s description of Dita’s character as an old woman. What a wonderful person!
I have, however, come to a decision after finishing the book. Having read so many on this subject over the years and now being so ill mentally as well as physically, this is the last book on the Holocaust that I will read.
There is no more to say.
There is no more to say…
Happy Reading to you all!
Love and best wishes,