Monday, November 14, 2011

Surviving the Angel of Death - Eva Mozes Kor, Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of A Mengele Twin at Auschwitz
by Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri
Hardcover141 pages
Tanglewood Press


* This is a Net Galley review. I received no compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.*

Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele's twins were granted the privileges of keeping their own clothes and hair, but they were also subjected to sadistic medical experiments and forced to fight daily for their own survival, as most of the twins died as a result of the experiements or from the disease and hunger pervasive in the camp. In a narrative told with emotion and restraint, readers will learn of a child's endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil. The book also includes an epilogue on Eva's recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.


My Opinion:
This is a very moving story. The courage and love of Eva and Miriam is incredibly touching. Eva's decision to forgive is remarkable. I am big on forgiveness as a way to move forward but I think I would have trouble forgiving this. I admire Eva so much. She took something horrifying and did all she could to plant peace in its place. As difficult as this subject matter is to read it is a book I recommend be read by all.    It is one of the most important books I have read. The Holocaust should never be forgotten. When history is forgotten is can be revived. We must do all we can together to insure that it will never be repeated with any group of people. I highly recommend this to middle grade readers and young adults who may not be as familiar with The Holocaust. I know many would say that middle grades may be to young, but, in my opinion we need to remember that Eva and Miriam were just 10 years old when this nightmare happened to them. I do recommend an adult read it with the middle grade reader to discuss it.  We need to share it responsibly with our children. A highlight to this book is that is does not just end with the war. Eva goes on to tell of her journey to finding peace from the horror. It is an awesome message. 
I believe the story to be well written. The vocabulary used is not to difficult for the middle grades. Lisa did a phenomenal job translating this book. The length of the book I feel is just right. It provides enough details without being overly graphic. I do not want to say that I enjoyed this book as it is difficult to enjoy reading something so horrifying. I did find it an interesting testimony of love, strength and determination to survive against all odds. With the message that Eva spreads we have a book that could have left us depressed but  instead leaves us a message of hope. It is an astounding testimony that dreams can come true if we never give up and that forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It means moving forward in love and remembering for peace.


I would like to thank Net Galley and Tanglewood Press for the privilege to read this book.