'Books such as this are essential: they remind modern readers of events that should never be forgotten' - Caroline Moorehead On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women-many of them teenagers-were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reichsmarks (about £160) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labour. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive. The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish-but also because they were female. Now, acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history.
The author did exhaustive research and used this research to reproduce conversations, events and scenes in this book to make it more realistic.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book. 5 Stars
I cannot, at this point in my life, at this time, read another book about deliberate, indefensible human cruelty, abuse, debasement, agony, wholesale murder of millions of regular people, innocents, who harmed no one. And all because of fear, misunderstanding, jealousy and irrational hate. And even worse is that many of these haters were RAISED, ENCOURAGED, COERCED, and BRAIN-WASHED into this egregious behavior. They weren't born hating, they were TAUGHT to hate others based on deceptive, false, fabricated reasons.
At the beginning in particular I noticed that too much conjecture had to be done the way this story was told. Yes in a way the account can make the
Perfectly done were the testimonies of those who survived, of the family members of those who died, and completely but unfortunately realistically the mystery of what happened to some of the females on this first transport.
Many wonderful photographs are included. There is a large section of them in the middle of the book and there are also others scattered throughout the book.
There are several helpful maps.
I’m glad that this account exists. Much of it was emotionally difficult to read but I’m glad I read it. It’s a worthy addition to non-fiction Holocaust literature and not for the first time only after I read the account did I realize it’s yet another necessary one.
I do not fully understand how some people can withstand so much pain (physical and psychological) and so much terror and that goes for the survivors and the way too many who died at some point, whether early on or toward the end. This account does not shy away from the damage that lasts in people who have been through extreme trauma.
My next book will not be but now/soon I need some lighter reading material.
I need to add that I have read hundreds of Holocaust books, nonfiction and historical fiction, and I had known nothing about this transport and I also learned a tremendous amount of information I never knew before about day-to-day life in the camp (camps and things about life before and after and after the war too) which included very diverse experiences. As far as each individual and relationship that was covered I learned a lot by reading about them.