I loved this book. It's such a fun read, you never know what's going to happen next. The main character is so sympathetic and it's easy to understandI loved this book. It's such a fun read, you never know what's going to happen next. The main character is so sympathetic and it's easy to understand what he's going through with his family and how he's feeling. When he lands in a land completely devoid of anyone he knows and only has himself to depend on he quickly gets his wits about him.
This is a really interesting coming of age tale and I really loved how all the different fairy tales were weaved in, in a unique way. The Book of Lost Things is a book you won't forget, it's one of those page turners that makes you cheer for the main character. All the other characters you're not sure if they're entirely trustworthy or what exactly is going on in this different world he's landed himself in.
I think most readers just won't be able to help but LIKE this book if not LOVE it. ...more
Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness was often a hard book to read, and yet hard to put down at the same time. It's not easy reading abut these atrocitiesAuschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness was often a hard book to read, and yet hard to put down at the same time. It's not easy reading abut these atrocities.. knowing how real they are, that they actually happened. Yet, it's important to get the many various viewpoints from people who survived in order to see the entire picture (as best as we can, since no one can who hasn't lived through it in my opinion.)
This is an important book to read because Miklos is probably one of the only survivors of the Sodderkommando from Auschwitz. The Sodderkommando (special command) were in charge exclusively of the crematoriums. That meant they did the dirtiest work of the Third Reich. They lead their own people to the gas chambers, then they had to clean those same people off, remove any gold teeth they had, go through their possessions for things worth keeping and then finally loading them off to the ovens (all in the same building.) Those who went in, even the workers themselves, hardly ever came out.
You see the Nazi's knew that if people realized the situation in Auschwitz and other camps, about the crematoriums that they denied existed, if word had gotten out, then the world would come down on them (harder than they already did in the end but it would've stirred much more outrage much sooner) and so they decided that the Sodderkommando workers would live every 4 months and then a new Sodderkommando would take it's place.
Miklos was sure this fate was his own until time and again Mr. Mengele saved his life from these executions. It wasn't because Mengele had a heart, Miklos new he was only saving him because he was the only one with his kind of expertise in the entire camp. The expertise that was allowing him to get on with his "most important" research.
And so Mengele had Miklos running a dissection room that was connected to the crematorium, thus Miklos got to know the other Sodderkommando and their SS guards as well. He got to witness all the forms that death took at the crematorium and all the ways the Nazi's got rid of the thousands and thousands of bodies.
Sometimes I have to be honest, I loathed Miklos' recollection, it seemed the way he phrased things like it meant nothing to him, the things he saw. Then there were other times that it was obvious things had an effect on him. But I guess if you saw horror day in and day out, you would have to become numb to it to survive, not just in body but mentally. Especially with someone like Mengele constantly looking over your shoulder he had to keep his wits about him. At any moment where he was no longer "useful" to Mengele the execution would've been called for.
So, this is not an easy book to read, but nor should it be. It's one of the viewpoints rarely heard about in the books I've read about the Holocaust. It's important the world remembers these things - they happened once, they CAN happen again. ...more
I listed this as a young adult book because the author is in her childhood when she writes her diary (and after the war as she recounts all that she wI listed this as a young adult book because the author is in her childhood when she writes her diary (and after the war as she recounts all that she wasn't able to write in the moment, she writes her recollections as if they were happening right then, because she's so easily transported back (and it's so fresh in her mind) only like 15 and a half when the war ends.) However, this is a book EVERY person should read to get a feel for what it was like for kids during the Holocaust.
Helga Weiss is such an incredible witness to these events. She not only writes but also draws pictures that while not incredibly detailed, they remind us of the vividness and immediacy of events. No matter how much we'd like to believe the Holocaust couldn't have happened, it's irrefutable.
I feel like this should be mandatory reading as a follow up to reading Anne Frank's diary. Unfortunately Anne's diary ends with them being discovered in their attic hideaway and we only imagine the story from there. Helga's diary describes life in Terezin, the ghetto often used for propaganda purposes and then as she's transported from one concentration camp to the next until liberation.
I daresay that she might be one of the singular children to live through their experiences in so many camps, including Auschwitz, Birkenau and Mauthausen.
The kindle edition has a great interview with the author at the end of the book, complete with more of Helga's hand drawn pictures and more pictures of the Holocaust in general.
It's a very moving book that you can't ignore once you start reading. Helga has a great writing style - once again it reminds me of Anne Frank. She's so optimistic and wise beyond her years. You won't walk away from this book without a better understanding of the costs of the Holocaust and what it meant for everyday Jews who were just trying to live their lives until Hitler came along and decided their lives weren't worth living. ...more