The Librarian of Auschwitz
Author: Antonio Iturbe
Published: October 10, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
XXX’s Rating: 5 Stars
Description from Amazon:
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.
First book of 2018!!! And why I decided to pick a book that would pull my heart out of my chest and stomp on it, I’ll never know! I got this book for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to pick it up. The cover is gorgeous, its based on a true story, and its all about books. As much as I’ve studied the Holocaust and Auschwitz, I don’t think I’ve ever read about the family camp or the children’s school. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve read an account of day to day life in Auschwitz, other than the constant stream into the gas chambers. This book does a great job of capturing the feelings of the prisoners. In other accounts, it seems that all you can feel is the fear and despair. But in The Librarian, there’s a sense of hope that never seems to be extinguished.
Dr. Mengele could easily fit in as the villain in any horror story and be completely believable and terror-inducing. Yet Dita refuses to be cowed. Fredy, instead of looking out for his own interests and well-being like most leaders of that time did, successfully ran a school for hundreds of kids, in the middle of the most deadly extermination camp the Nazis ever set up! How our youth of today manage to “survive” in this world of mean, offensive people, I’ll never know! *cough*sarcasm*cough*
There were so many feelings in this book! I was inspired, heartbroken, excited, scared, frustrated, angry . . . I thought I was going to burst. This is another fiction book that reads like non-fiction. Iturbe researched extensively and spent a lot of time with Dita before writing. The Postscript was actually my favorite part of the whole book because it was wonderful to hear about what kind of person Dita grew up to be. Pretty sure she is my new hero and will remain in that position forever!
I would save this for slightly older teens, keep it in high school classrooms and libraries. But every single high school history teacher should have this book on their shelves. I absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, history, or just an inspiring story. I would also suggest that every single high schooler read this book. An easy 5 stars! “Books are extremely dangerous; they make people think.”