The Librarian of Auschwitz

The Librarian of Auschwitz


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…

Our Review

As soon as I first saw the title of this book, I knew I had to have it. The Librarian of Auschwitz was a birthday gift back in May, but this week has been my first opportunity to read it.

The Librarian of Auschwitz is a fictionalised account of the true story of a young girl named Edita. Edita was a very brave young girl who recognised the escapism that books could offer in such a terrible place and voluntarily put herself at risk to ensure others could share the temporary reprieve they offered.

Dita Kraus and her mother Liesel are brought to Auschwitz from their native Prague. Dita sees those around her, even her mother, submit meekly to the Nazi’s but she chooses to fight back the only way she knows how.

“Two teachers look up in anguish. They are holding something that’s absolutely forbidden in Auschwitz. These items, so dangerous that their mere possession is a death sentence, cannot be fired, nor do they have a sharp point, a blade, or a heavy end. These items, which the relentless guards of the Reich fear so much, are nothing more than books: old, unbound, with missing pages, and in tatters. The Nazis ban them, hunt them down.”

After one inspection Dita puts herself at great risk by hiding the books on her person and in doing so happens upon a brilliant idea for transporting the books secretly during the day.

Some people may not think that hiding a few books is that courageous an act, but the account of this little girl blew me away.

Each character in The Librarian of Auschwitz was described in rich detail and I felt as if I knew them all and felt their losses like they were my own. There were many times this book moved me to tears.

I found this book fascinating and incredibly richly detailed and a really felt for this young girl who had her childhood taken away from her by the Nazis.

Our Final Rating...

Our Rating

  • Currently 5/5

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