My Enemy's Cradle
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My Enemy's Cradle

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  3,579 ratings  ·  565 reviews
A powerful story of love and deception set against the true events of one of the most secret and terrifying of Heinrich Himmler's wartime projects - the Lebensborn Nazi breeding programme.
Paperback, 387 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Harper Torch (first published 2008)
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I picked up Sara Young’s My Enemy’s Cradle after reading a review in USA Today a few weeks ago. The book centers around the German Lebensborn, and I was intrigued.

Despite inundating myself with “Third Reich” literature over the last several years, I’d never before heard of the Lebensborn, homes for women impregnated (both willingly and unwillingly) by German soldiers.

Fair-haired Cyrla, the book’s protagonist, has a Dutch mother and a Polish-Jewish father. For five years, she lives with her mothe...more
I’m quite sure that I say this entirely too much, but I could not put My Enemy’s Cradle down. I was completely riveted, enthralled with the characters, and sucked into a part of Nazi Germany I knew nothing about. It’s a strong book, all the way through. Beginning to end.

My Enemy’s Cradle is love story filled with tragedy, heartbreak, and devastation. Which sounds incredibly contradictory, but it contains so much hope and love that the contrasting feelings pull the reader in one hundred direction...more
This was an interesting book about a part of WWII that I knew little about. The story highlights the Lebensborn, a birthing center for Aryan children. The story is about Cyrla, a half-Jewish young woman who is finding that life in the home of a Dutch relative is getting increasingly more difficult as the Nazi's impose stricter and stricter laws on anyone Jewish. Cyrla is best friends with her beautiful blond cousin, Annika . Not only are they best friends but they look quite alike. Without givin...more
I really wanted to like this book because I am a fan of historical fiction, particularly that dealing with Jews and WWII. Unfortunately, I found the plot predictable, the characters flat, and the tone of the book to be too light for such a serious issue as a half Jewish woman living as a fraud in a Lebensborn (home for women pregnant with children of Nazi fathering to add to the "Master Race.") Although I do not know enough about Lebensborn, I feel as though the author paints too glossy of a pic...more
This novel has the most irritating protagonist I’ve ever encountered in fiction. Completely self-absorbed, oblivious to what’s happening around her in Nazi-occupied Holland, utterly unconcerned with anyone’s feelings but her own…God, what a useless wench. The only reason I kept on reading was that it concerned the mysterious Lebensborn program during World War II. Little is known about it, and that little is still not talked about very much. It concerns illicit sex and unmarried motherhood, both...more
Judi/Judith Riddle
Cyrla and Anneke are cousins who look enough alike to be twins. Cyrla, who is half Dutch, has been sent by her father to safely live with her mother's Dutch relations in Holland as Hitler's army occupies Poland. Being half Jewish from her father's side life is any thing but safe for Cyrla as the neighbors are afraid to associate with her when it is apparent that Holland is about to be occupied by Hitler's army. In the meantime, Anneke falls in love with a Karl, a German soldier. He shortly aband...more
This is an amazing story about a little known Nazi plan to create babies for the Third Reich. A great read!
A very memorable story of young ladies and how they suffered during WWII. They weren't put in concentration camps, but they were victims of cruelty just the same. The author uses the backdrop of Hitler's maternity homes as she paints the story of one girl's search for safety during the war.

I enjoyed this book because it's a very interesting plot line that keeps you constantly on your toes as you read it. And the author does a wonderful job developing the characters, peeling away layer after lay...more
This book is incredibly powerful. I tend to have a difficult time reading books set during the Holocaust. Both my husband and I have German heritage and it makes the atrocities so much more real to me knowing what I do about family history and conscription.

That being said, I couldn't put this book down. I was hooked from the start. The storyline is intriguing. The Lebensborn is a home for mothers pregnant with German babies. Cyrla's cousin, Anneke, is pregnant and has passed the admissions requ...more
Sarah Gruwell
3.5 Stars

The story for My Enemy's Cradle was very intriguing. I've never read a novel that centered on the Lebensborn program until now. And to have Jewish girl hiding in that setting?!?! Definitely a unique story. Once Cyrla got into the center, I was on pins and needles working my way through the novel. I desperately wanted to know how, or even if, she survived the ordeal and what ever happened to her baby. The actual story was the strongest part of this novel. It sucks you in, all the way thr...more
Anytime I can read about something new in well-written historical fiction, I'm all for it! The author of this adult novel taught me something and had me googling before I had even finished the book. It's a tale of the Lebensborn, a home for girls who were breeding good German stock to carry on the work of the Fuhrer. Wow.[return][return]Cyrla is 1/2 Jewish and her father sends her to the Netherlands before Hitler starts raising too much heck. But the war catches up with her in the Netherlands. N...more
Initially I was interested in this book because it told a different side of the Holocaust story. I knew little about the Lebensborn project, which means well spring, or fountain of life. Nazi scientists cooked up this crazy scheme to populate Germany with racially pure children. After WWI the male population in Germany had plummeted. What Hitler wanted was a country, and subsequent conquered and occupied countries, to be filled with the ideal Aryan race. Sounds like something out of a science fi...more
This is a very compelling book about World War II, told from an entirely different perspective. It is told not from the point of view of the war and the soldiers or the camps, but rather the innocent citizens caught up in the turmoil and terror.
The main character, Cyrla, is a mischling, which is what Germans called a person of mixed heritage, one not totally Aryan. She is young, barely 19, and often because of her pride she is careless and foolish. Her mistakes endanger others. She might even b...more
Beautifully written, this story of Cyrla and Anneke covers not only the choices they make but also how actions - particularly within war - are often layered with emotion, decisions, moral choices, and conflicting loyalties. Which is more important: to be half-Dutch or half-Jewish, to serve your country or to follow your dreams, to be a niece or a cousin, to be a friend or a lover, to be an advocate or a father, to be a mother or a wife? It's never clearcut, and although one character might perce...more
My Enemy's Cradle chronicles the Nazi Lebensborn Project or, at least gives a fictional account of a girl who uses it for protection. Cyrla is half-Jewish and living with her Gentile relatives in Holland during the occupation. When her cousin (who could be her twin) turns up pregnant, she's referred to a facility for girls carrying German babies. Tragedy ensues and Anneke dies, leaving Cyrla with a decision. Things are getting seriously bad in Holland for Jews and it's becoming more and more dan...more
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This is a historical fiction about a young woman who is half Jewish and have German, and is trying to hide her Jew identity. After the death of her pregnant cousin she becomes pregnant and takes her place in the maternity home. In other words, Cyrla, the protagonist, takes on the identity of her cousin Anneka. Reason why she had to do that is because the maternity place is where German girls are so its her only way to hide safely and to survive. The setting of the book takes place during the Hol...more
Prior to reading this book I knew nothing of the Lebensborn -- Nazi-sponsored homes for German or "suitably Aryan" women carrying babies fathered by German men -- yet another atrocity of the Nazi regime. These babies were treated as a commodity -- more future soldiers or future mothers of soldiers -- and the women were encouraged to produce as many children with German soldiers as possible. Against this backdrop we are offered the story of Cyrla, a young woman of partial Jewish parentage who ent...more
An historical fiction taking place during the Holocaust. It is about a young woman named Cyrla who is half Jewish and half German who is living with her aunt's family, trying to hide her Jewish side in order to survive. Her cousin, Anneke, is one of the most important people in her life. Anneke is pregnant with a baby, whose father just left, and passes an exam for a maternity home for German babies. But before she could go, Anneke commits suicide. With the increase of restrictions on Jews, Cyrl...more
I am one of those people that love books on the Holocost, true or not. (Call me morbid if you have to). This was a novel, but focused on Lebensborns, which are an aspect of the Holocost that has never been focused on before, and something that I didn't even realized existed. The characters in this book were so well-defined that I felt like I knew them and could understand all of their thoughts and feelings. I was so touched by this book. I loved the characters, I loved the ending, and I really r...more
This book is about Cyrla who must assume her cousin Anneke's identity to keep herself safe and enter a Lebensborn (Wellspring of Life). Lebensborn were German baby factories basically where women from Germany and other occupied countries with the right Aryan look could give birth in comfort and safety. Women at the Lebensborn were given the best food and comforts that no one else had during the war. I know the author mentions some WWII atrocities, but this is mostly about Cyrla and her struggle....more
This has been on my "to read" list for a long time and I am kicked my self for not reading it earlier. Story takes place during WW2 in Holland and Germany. A Jewish girl gets herself pregnant so she can take the place of her dead non-Jewish cousin in a maternity home set up by the Nazis. It is a riveting tale that I read is two sittings. (It would have been one sitting except I had to work early the next day and I'm getting to old to handle the late nights and early mornings.) There were passage...more
Couldn't put it down! In Nazi Germany there were homes, called Lebensborn, for pregnant girls who were carrying babies for the preservation of the Aryan race. The Lebensborn program was restricted to individuals who were deemed to be "biologically fit" and "racially pure", "Aryans", and SS members. Girls, married or unmarried, would have babies that they would give to a good German family to be raised. This book is another example of an historical fiction that keeps true to the horror of the tim...more
I read this book really quickly and I enjoyed it the whole time. I have read a lot of books about the holocaust (and I even took a Holocaust & Genocide Studies class) but never knew about the Lebensborn. It was really interesting.

Cyrla's character is well-developed and you really feel for her. At times the plot was a bit soap opera like, but I didn't really mind it because the book held my attention really well and I was emotionally invested in the story. The love scenes were kinda intense...more
This was an easy read book. Based on things that happened during the war, things that one doesn't hear of while being taught social studies in school. This book is based on young girls that became pregnant by german soldiers, either by accident or purposely. They were sent to maternity homes in hopes of delivering healthy baby boys to keep the the army filled with men. The story focused on the life of one girl, Cyrla, who went to great lengths to keep herself safe because she was half Jewish. Sh...more
I learned a lot about the Lebensborn program during the Nazi regime. I didn't know such a thing existed. I'm left thinking about the stolen children and the long lasting consequences of war. I'm also reminded of how precious my own children are. This author has a really nice writing style, with flashes of insight into how human beings act under pressure, and the talent to put that insight onto the page, but without being too "cerebral". One love scene with quite a bit of detail...
Great war-time romance. I really enjoyed reading this one, and I was very happy with how things worked out. I was not thrilled with her initial love interest from the start, and I kept worrying how his character could possibly be changed to make him more appealing.

It was also very interesting to read about the Lebensborn program organized by the Nazis and its implication for many women during the war, both in Germany and in occupied countries.
I picked this up at the library, and based on the reviews, expected it to be along the lines of "Anne Frank". While the subject matter is similar, this is more adult, and I really felt that the "love scenes" took away from the story. I also did not come away from this book with the same feeling as I did - probably because this book, while set around some horrific events, comes across as purely fiction.
Andrea Fife
Dressed up as historical fiction, at its core this was more of a coming-of-age type romance novel. Set in Nazi-occupied Holland and in a Nazi-run lebensborn (a place for mothers who met the strict standards of racial purity to give birth to babies who would then be given to the SS), the plot followed Cyrla, a woman from Holland hiding her half-Jewish lineage, as she kept herself safe and free. However, Cyrla's search for freedom often took a backseat in plot lines to her search for love and happ...more
This book had a very promising subject matter, but I think it became more of a cliched love story. I would have liked to have more historical significance in the book. I think I'll try to find a good non-fiction book about the Nazi Lebensborn program.
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