My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time take to read - 2 days
Publisher - Bookouture
Source - Netgalley & bought a treebook copy
Blurb from Goodreads
Millions of people walked through Auschwitz’s gates, but she was the first woman who escaped. This powerful novel tells the inspiring true story of Mala Zimetbaum, whose heroism will never be forgotten, and whose fate altered the course of history…
Nobody leaves Auschwitz alive.
Mala, inmate 19880, understood that the moment she stepped off the cattle train into the depths of hell. As an interpreter for the SS, she uses her position to save as many lives as she can, smuggling scraps of bread to those desperate with hunger.
Edward, inmate 531, is a camp veteran and a political prisoner. Though he looks like everyone else, with a shaved head and striped uniform, he’s a fighter in the underground Resistance. And he has an escape plan.
They are locked up for no other sin than simply existing. But when they meet, the dark shadow of Auschwitz is lit by a glimmer of hope. Edward makes Mala believe in the impossible. That despite being surrounded by electric wire, machine guns topping endless watchtowers and searchlights roaming the ground, they will leave this death camp.
A promise is made––they will escape together or they will die together. What follows is one of the greatest love stories in history…
This is apparently based on a true story, the first female escapee from Auschwitz and an unlikely place for two people who fall in love. The book is set in Auschwitz and we follow Edek and Mala's story, each having their own chapters and it flipping between the two.
Through Edek we see the horrors in the camp, the utter disregard for human life and some of the worst atrocities. It is very hard hitting, hard to read and very emotional. Mala has things better than most prisoners there, she works in an office for the Nazi's, has clothes, food, warm, decent sleeping quarters and yet she risks everything to try and do what she can to save those she is able to and ease suffering to the others.
Edek and Mala work together to do what they can to help the resistance, their people and of course the more they see of each other a friendship begins. These kinds of books always knock you in the feels, fiction or non fiction, as they are often well researched so have an authentic voice. I went to Ann Franks house/museum in Amsterdam and reading this brought back that experience too. Your heart hurts and you are horrified to contemplate how people could do these murderous/vile/inhuman acts. Despite this being a relatively short book (under 300 pages) it manages to cover a lot of what happened there and the book has plenty for the reader to follow up reading once you finish the book. 4/5 for me this time, prepare yourself for anger, tears, horror and an emotive rollercoaster.
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