Sunday, January 24, 2021

Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris
The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2

Title: Cilka's Journey
Series: The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2
Author: Heather Morris
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: October 1st, 2019

In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.

Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis--with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.

I still can't fathom how some humans can endure so much pain, mentally and physically, and survive it and find happiness.

I don't think I could've survived Auschwitz-Birkenau. I couldn't have survived the Vorkuta gulag in Siberia and most definitely, I wouldn't have survived both places. 

How can a sixteen-year-old survive all of those thirteen years of misery? I have no clue. Like Lale Sokolov said: "She was the bravest person I knew".

“Everyone affected by war, captivity, or oppression reacts differently — and away from it, people might try to guess how they would act, or react, in the circumstances. But they do not really know.”

Even though this is a work of fiction, Cilka Klein was a real person. She was a Jewish girl born in Bardejov. She was a prisoner in both Auschwitz and Siberia. She endured rape, abuse, hunger, and so much death. Everyone she loved, was taken from her. Yet, she found new friendships and a doctor in Siberia who was sympathetic to her and decided to help her and train her. 

The story is devastating in the horrors humans inflict on other humans. Despite it all, it does end up with a sense of hope that all is not lost. 

Cliffhanger: No

4/5 Fangs

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