“Cilka’s Journey” by Heather Morris, author of The “Tattooist of Auschwitz”

Cilka's Journey

The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.

Cilka is mentioned in the first book and now we have facts of her life blended with some fiction to fill in the question of Who was Cilka Klein?

She was only sixteen when she and her mother and sisters were taken. In 1942, she arrives at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Already a beautiful young woman, her looks do not go unnoticed by the Commandant, Schwarzhuber, who separates her from the other women. Her job is to look after the sick and dying women who will be taken to the gas chamber. She knows these women hate her. She hates herself. In this place, in order to survive, you had to use whatever power you had. And hers was her beauty and ability to compartmentalize everything she had to do.

When the camp is liberated Cilka is sentenced to prison for sleeping with the enemy. Literally. This did not sit well with me. How unfair was that? At 16 you do what you need to do to stay alive. After all of the suffering and now she is being sent to Siberia for 15 years.

Once there, a young, female doctor takes her under her as an apprentice nurse. Cilka is good at this work and forms bonds with the doctor and the nurses. Using her privileged position to help the other women in her hut. She is especially taken with one man in the ward. But will she ever be free? Will she ever know the love she deserves?

This story is part true, part fictional. But the facts are there. It was difficult to read and the images in my head will always be there. The brutality of the enemy along with the equal brutality of fellow prisoners. It was heartbreaking and beautifully written and I will never forget Cilka’s Journey!

NetGalley/ October 1st, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press

 

 

 

 

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