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The House of Dolls

(כרוניקה של משפחה יהודית במאה העשרים #2)

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  517 ratings  ·  65 reviews
The novel describes "Joy Divisions", which were allegedly groups of Jewish women in the concentration camps during World War II, who were kept for the sexual pleasure of Nazi soldiers.

According to Wikipedia: Ian Curtis, the band Joy Division initially the band "was called Warsaw, but as their name conflicted with that of another group, Warsaw Pakt, the name was changed to
245 pages
Published 1955 by Simon & Schuster (first English edition)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ruard_referred
Let’s say you want to talk to me about The Holocaust. For however long you want to speak, I’ll look down at my shoes, shake my head in sadness and try to get a frame of reference to the horror of that event. I’ll try to recall grainy images of skeletal humans at Dachau, Auschwitz, Buchenwald; those haunting rooms filled with human hair, glasses, coats. I try and get a bead on six million slaughtered. I can’t picture six million anything, so my mind wanders to Schindler’s List - and then the memo ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m a little embarrassed to give such a low rating, in this book the violence is at its extreme, and book testimonies about Holocaust I’ve read many of them, this is perhaps the most raw and violent I’ve ever read...
The problem is that the narrative is very confusing, there is no beginning or end, you don't understand anything of the characters you 'll find in the narration and in the descriptions without having a logical sense in the speech...
Even about Daniella, i can’t get a clear idea of her
As a fictionalized version of the story of the camp whore houses in Nazi Germany, this is brilliant. However, I say fictionalized because this is to be taken with a grain of salt. At Eichmann's trial, Ka-tzetnik wasn't a very reliable witness, and he even broke down during questioning. It seems as though a lot of the details in his book are real, but then a lot of them are not. The writing really impressed me.

The one thing that disgusts me though, is that, based on my research, this is the book
Robert Beveridge
Jan 20, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: finished
Ka-Tzetnik 135633, House of Dolls (Simon and Schuster, 1955)

Ka-Tzetnik 135633, Nazi-assigned pen name of an Auschwitz survivor (oddly, there seems to be some controversy as to who Ka-Tzetnik 135633 was; some say it was Yehiel De-Nir, others Karol Cetynski), here gives an account of life in a Nazi prison camp, but in the most roundabout of ways. This seemingly autobiographical novel (viz. Shvitti: A Vision, where he speaks of his own sister in Daniella's role) deals mostly with the stories of Har
Mar 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are interested in Holocaust literature
It looks like this book is either out-of-print or people are horrified and don't read it, or on one really knows about this. I found a copy at the library by chance and this is one of the most graphic and disturbing books I've ever read along with Dave Pelzer's My Story, both which I picked up without a clue of what I'm about to learn.

Probably one of the most disturbing Holocaust books I've read. It's about a Nazi prostitution camp where young Jewish women were forced into sexual slavery. They
Josephine (Jo)
I don't know where to begin with this book. It is a story taken from the true diary of a young Jewish girl, called Daniella in the book. She is a child of fourteen when she is put into a ghetto for Jews. She is a beautiful innocent child with such hopes and dreams. She is taken from the ghetto to a concentration camp where she is branded on the chest with a number and the words "Feld Hure" (field whore) and sterilised without anaesthetic. Daniella then faces another form of Hell as a member of t ...more
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is simply the most harrowing book I have ever read. I discovered it in a holiday cottage in Whitby of all places and the memories of reading this book have stayed with me ever since.

It charts the experiences of Daniella in both the ghetto and concentration camps and descriptions of some of the events are still burnt in to my brain years later.

Despite my rating I would not recommend this book to anybody. I feel that you would need to be an emotionally very strong person to cope with this bo
Emmy Uzor
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
When you read this book's blurb, your mind prepares itself to get head-on dive into the all-known, well-documented Nazi brutality, inhumanity, under the Reich. Then you start reading the book proper, you feel nothing but disappoint at the fact that what it really contained fell short of the high expectations of your mind; the irregularities and inconsistencies in the stream of events, the under description of the mental and physical anguish inflicted upon the prisoners, the blurry-ness of certai ...more
Remember it was shocking at the time I read it..brought home to re-read. I have the 1961 Panther edition.
This novel is thought to be based on the experiences of the younger sister of the author, although that has not been verified. It tells the story of a group of Jewish women, and one young girl in particular, who selected to serve as prostitutes to German guards and soldiers in a concentration camp. While German law clearly forbade sexual relations between Jews and Germans, the concern seems largely to have been related to the concern of pregnancy. The women described here were all forced to unde ...more
Brian James
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The power of this book comes from the way it captures the feeling of utter helplessness in the Jewish ghettos and labor camps under Nazi rule. Told through a kind of stream of consciousness narrative, much of the text feels as if it could easily be a dispatch from Burrough's Interzone. It's so stark in the realism of an insane world that it feels surreal in many passages.

The story is that of a brother and sister, stripped their homes, freedom, and family, who refuse to surrender their humanity
Jan 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An obscure yet graphic and haunting account of a fourteen year-old Polish Jewish girl who is imprisoned within the “Joy Division” (inspiring the band of the same name) camps – forcing Jewish women into sexual slavery for Nazi officers. Surreal and visceral, Ka-Tzetnik’s novel is not intended as Nazi exploitation, but as an examination of human depravity and suffering that is definitely not for the faint-hearted.
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
I feel a bit strange rating a book that is actually based on fact , so instead I'll just say it was an enlightening read for me - as someone who has read a lot of Holocaust history I was shocked I had never heard of these Joy Divisions before . The last few chapters were a bit difficult to follow but I honestly think this book should replace Night by Elie Wiesel on most school book lists . ...more
May 09, 2007 rated it did not like it
Oh dear. The average review for this was five stars before I stuck me oar in. It's the book that supposedly inspired Joy Division's name. I really wanted to like it, but the writing style was just turgid. The cover was very nice though. ...more
Aug 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite possibly gonna be one of the most depressing books I've ever read, but I think it is important to do that sometimes.

Reading it because it was the inspiration for Joy Division's name, and one of their songs has quotes from it
Dec 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The gate slammed shut behind them"
By sally tarbox on 27 December 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Very harrowing Holocaust novel, following young Polish Jew Daniela, as she's seized by the Nazis while on a school trip.
From slave labour in a ghetto, 'processing' the vast quantities of clothes brought in from their victims, Daniela finds herself on a transport to a labour camp... and ultimately to the 'Joy Division', where the prettier girls are used as state whores for the German troops - three complai
b e a c h g o t h
Gnarly, grotesque and disturbing - this instills exactly the kind of terror of nightmares. And the fact this actually happened??? My god.

I read this because Ian Curtis credited the naming of their band Joy Division to this book and... it fascinated me because I love reading books on The Holocaust. Or I thought I did. This was an exception to the rule, because this sucked.
The characters are flat, 2D and draining and there is so much of the book that is repeated and repeated and REPEATED I felt li
Jody Nicholson
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
It was ok. Started well, but the end just seemed to be a lot of incoherent rambling.
Maddy Slater
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Horrific story... read it and weep.
raymond cook
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This one was simply heartbreaking. It's hard to believe this actually happened. ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read about 25 years ago - never had heard of this part of the Holocaust.
Stephanie Molnar
Apr 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Kind of a confusing ending, but I liked the book overall.
Freddie Barr-Smith
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Read this book due to Joy Division's name. Horrifying. ...more
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The content is haunting enough to leave a brand on the reader's memory and being based in reality, that's exactly what it should do. Hard to read at times but well worth it. ...more
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
There were moments of beautiful and heartbreaking writing; however, there were also many moments where the story lagged and got repetitive. Unfortunately, this inconsistency affected my appreciation of this book somewhat negatively.

The plot took a while to get going, and was difficult to understand at first. Eventually, by the second half of the book, it became extremely interesting and the language penetrating and perfectly put -- really devastating at times, and a lot of quotes and moments st
Apr 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: war
I first heard about this book many years ago from the band Joy Division. It's a hard book to track down especially when I first heard about the book, now this is available for free online. Translated from Hebrew.

The book is very slow in the beginning and focuses on a brother (Harry) and sister (Daniella) and their life in the Ghetto then at concentration camps, mainly in the German Doll House, under a Joy Division. I warn you it's very slow for the first half of the book. It doesn't have descri
Sep 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: holocaust
I read all of Ka-Tzetnik books when I was a child. It was forbidden for me because children were not allowed to read holocaust literature. It triggered my curiosity, and I wanted to know all about it. Even some adults couldn’t bear reading his books. I had tears in my eyes when I read his books. After surviving the holocaust Ka-Tzetnik has dedicated the rest of his life for writing authentic stories about his experiences in the concentration death camps. In this story, which many believe is the ...more
Johann Manstein
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book is strange to say the least and quite difficult to read. I had a hard time following the thiughts of the writer and the flow of the text. It got so bad I finally googled it to see what the hell was going on. Apparently, this book in particular and its author are known for wandering in his writing. When it was written back in the 1950's, it was considered concentration camp porn. Such a description would never have entered my mind after reading it any more than calling Michelangelo's Da ...more
Satya Anon
Aug 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
For some reader, this book may be too violent. And for others, like myself, it's only a small fraction of reality. I was not put-off by it and appreciated the rawness. In fact, in my personal reading-preferences, I tend to seek writers who are not afraid to take me to the unknown or where most people are afraid to venture. So if you're drawn to work like Carl Jung, Sade, Dante, etc., you will likely enjoy this piece. Or if you're a person who have had experience life outside the normal-scope; su ...more
Alicia Thomas
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
I found this book at a garage sale and became very intrigued after reading the blurb.

But the entire story fell short of all expectations.

I'm not sure if it's the fact that I had prepared myself for a gruelling story of survival and it had not been portrayed as I expected, or that the way the author had portrayed the story made it hard to read. But the thoughts of the narrator were difficult to follow and only made me want to finish the book as quick as I could.

Nonetheless, I did have the desire
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Yehiel De-Nur or Dinur, known by his pen name Ka-tzetnik 135633 (also Ka-Tsetnik, ק. צטניק in Hebrew) was a Jewish writer and Holocaust survivor best known for his 1955 novel "The House of Dolls", which he claimed was inspired by his time as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp. ...more

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