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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 Joy Division. The moniker was derived from a 1955 novel The House of Dolls [...]."

245 pages

First published January 1, 1955

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About the author

Ka-tzetnik 135633

10 books24 followers
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.

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5 stars
159 (26%)
4 stars
196 (32%)
3 stars
187 (30%)
2 stars
48 (7%)
1 star
17 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 77 reviews
Profile Image for Brian.
Author 1 book970 followers
August 2, 2020
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 memory spool ends. I feel sad, but give it a few minutes, and I’ll go back to whatever I was doing ten minutes before you wanted to talk about The Holocaust.

Now you say you want to show me a violent act of torture. I’m starting to wonder what kind of friend you are but you say, “No, just stand here and look into the distance, about 500 yards in that direction.” I can faintly see two figures in the distance: one on their knees before the other, who looks to be raising his/her arm high with can only be a weapon of malice – and before I know it that standing figure has repeatedly raised and lowered that arm until it looks like the person on the ground is finished. I didn’t have to be ringside to know that a terrible, violent thing just happened. I don’t feel so swell.

You’re not finished with me just yet. You’ve now taken me to a place where two more people are so close that I can reach out and shake either’s hand. Before I can do that, however, one of the two has produced an ax and is attempting to behead the other with purpose. The first swing of the ax imbeds itself in the other’s shoulder; both of us are sprayed with arterial blood. I turn to wretch, to run away, but you hold me in place. “Watch,” you say. “Don’t turn your head.” This gruesome mise en scène goes on and on until the work is finished. The ax wielding miscreant looks down at the blood, the severed head, the twitching body. He kicks it for good measure, wipes the blade of his ax on his victim’s overcoat. You turn me to face you and say, “This. This is the Holocaust.”

This is how Ka-tzetnik 135633 (nom de plume of Yehiel De-Nur) writes about life in the concentration camps. His first hand experience of surviving Auschwitz bleeds into every character, each sentence, every scene. In The House of Dolls he explains in painful-to-read detail the creation of a place where pretty young Jewish girls (14-18 years old) were cycled through to be repeatedly raped by German soldiers on their way to the Russian front. Ka-tzetnik calls this the Joy Division, and if that sounds familiar, yes – the British band got their name from this book. Repeatedly Raped 14 Year Old Jewish Girl just didn’t have the same ring as Joy Division. I remember when I was a teenager in love with this band. I was that fool at 500 yards unable to process the horror of what that name truly meant. Now I’m just sad that anything so awful could be used for a commercial endeavor.

In his opus on violence Rising Up and Rising Down, William Vollmann points to both this book and Star Eternal as the far end of the violence continuum that bears no humanity or reason in its application. This is the book that makes a reader uncomfortably intimate with the multi-faceted hell that concentration camp inmates were made to suffer. It took me a long time to read such a thin book because I couldn’t take more than a few pages at a time. It was too real, too horrible. It makes me understand more fully that De-nur’s Adolf Eichman trial response was completely appropriate (start watching at the 6 minute mark if you don’t want to watch the whole thing). What else are you supposed to do when you are in the same room as the devil?

Allow me to ruin your day. Find this book and read it. If we never want to forget, we have to start by knowing what is that we must remember.
Profile Image for Ines.
317 reviews185 followers
August 8, 2019
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 life, her true emotions and what happens to her on a temporal level...
Devastating the part about the "House of dolls", that would be the brothel for the German soldiers inside the concentration camp, and the huge tragedy that the prisoners found themselves living, a nightmare without end...
Unfortunately this book, seems written without a thick editing, it is very sad, that in Daniella's words and during her narration, it looks to come out a kind of psychiatric suffering surely caused by the atrocities and abuse to which she was subjected....

Mi vergogno un pò a dare una valutazione così bassa, il libro è di una violenta estrema, e di libri testimonianza sull' olocausto ne ho letti molti, questo è forse il piu' crudo e violento che abbia mai letto....
Il problema è che la narrazione è molto confusa, non vi è un inizio ne una fine, non si capisce nulla dei personaggi che vengono a ritrovarsi in una descrizione senza avere un senso logico nel discorso...
Anche di Daniella non si riesce proprio a farsi una chiara idea del suo vissuto, delle sue vere emozioni e di ciò che le capita a livello temporale....
Devastante la parte sulla House of dolls" altro che sarebbe il bordello per i soldati tedeschi all' interno del campo di concentramento, e l'immane tragedia che le prigioniere si sono ritrovate a vivere, un incubo senza fine...
Purtroppo questo libro, sembra scritto senza un editing di spessore, lasciando purtroppo trasparire quasi un inizio di sofferenza psichiatrica a cui la sopravvissuta è giunta a causa delle atrocità, abusi e sevizie a cui è stata sottoposta.....
Profile Image for Ana.
805 reviews592 followers
February 26, 2017
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 that, by simply its appearance, created the basis for the Stalag genre of Holocaust pornography and extreme literature, mostly created by and read by Israeli citizens. This genre is a sick deviation on "sexual brutalization by female SS guards, and the prisoners' eventual revenge, which usually consisted of the rape and murder of their tormentors" (Wikipedia). I can see how this book can spark all of that, but to me it is a genre of literature that must die, even in collector's form, if it only exists for pornographic use. There should be no right to mock such a tragedy by sexualizing it. Such things as "Nazisploitation" should have never come into existence, but us humans have a weird way of dealing with crimes against humanity.
Profile Image for Robert Beveridge.
2,402 reviews149 followers
January 20, 2008
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 Harry and Daniella, a brother and sister living in the Jewish quarters of an unnamed town on the border of Germany and Poland. Roughly the first half of the book is a simple depiction of trying to get along day to day in the Jewish quarters, told mostly from Daniella's viewpoint. To be blunt, it's slow as molasses. The book picks up (and becomes the highly-recommended-by-the-underground book it is) when Daniella, not long after Harry, is taken to a concentration camp and ends up working in the House of Dolls, a camp brothel. Harry, in the next camp over, has been made the camp medic for no reason anyone can discern. There is little plot to the latter half of the novel; instead, Ka-Tzetnik 135633 infuses the whole mess with a painful sense of irony. Imagine an O.Henry story that runs 250 pages and has a far, far darker cast to it than anything O.Henry ever wrote.

There is much to be gained from reading this book beyond the prurient; don't get me wrong. However, I'm guessing that its audience is going to be an exceptionally narrow one; those who both revel in (or are horrified by, but cannot turn their eyes from) degradation (Daniella, I should mention, is fourteen when the novel takes place; this is the dark and ugly flip side of Duras' wonderful novel The Lover) and are willing to put up with the diction that one had thought went extinct with the death of Henry James. Still, it is the literary equivalent of, say, Shoah, the excellent and painful nine and a half hour film that still stands as the be-all and end-all of concentration camp documentaries. It is brutal and unflinching, for all its slowness, and deserves a wider audience than that which it has already captured. ** ½
Profile Image for Josephine (Jo).
618 reviews41 followers
February 8, 2017
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 the 'Joy Division', a part of the camp where the poor girls were used as prostitutes for the German soldiers. Some of the girls went out of their minds, maybe they were the lucky ones, it was over more quickly for them.
I believe that this is required reading for Jewish school children but it is so horrific that I cannot imagine reading it at that age.
As I read I was sickened and thought to myself 'I don't like this, maybe I will give up' but then I told myself not to be a coward. How can I say it was to unpleasant to read when this was the life of a little girl and six million other human beings.
I kept saying to myself "but how could the German soldiers do that"? They had wives, mothers and sisters. I still cannot come to terms with it.
An insightful piece of writing but an extremely difficult read. I shall be pleased to read something a little lighter for my next book but this one will stay with me forever.
Profile Image for Paul Ataua.
1,288 reviews120 followers
May 21, 2021
Based on the tragic life of his sister and others, Ka-Tzetnik focuses on the Joy Division and the Nazi brothels within Auschwitz concentration camp during the second world war. ‘House of Dolls’ is more of a fictionalized chronicle than a novella, with events derived from real accounts of the terror and cruelty witnessed by the author and other Jews. No punches are pulled. Even though It seems to border on pornography at times and has a tendency to being over-the-top, it does achieve its shock horror objectives.I didn't enjoy it, but I guess i wasn't expected to.
Profile Image for Mec.
59 reviews14 followers
August 17, 2017
Nella pletora di opere sui campi di concentramento questa certamente spicca su tutte. Ogni singola pagina trasuda disperazione e, contemporaneamente, squarcia il velo su diversi aspetti spesso sottaciuti dalla letteratura sul tema. L'opera si divide in due parti ben distinte. La prima si svolge nel ghetto e non sono molti i libri che affrontano la mancanza di solidarietà tra gli stessi ebrei e la corruzione dei capi. Seppure con descrizioni meno dettagliate rispetto a quelle alle quali ci siamo abituati in epoca moderna, l'autore non tace nulla, dipinge con pochi tratti qualsiasi aspetto di disumanità cui si poteva assistere in attesa delle retate (credo che non potrò mai dimenticare la bambina rassegnata alla morte per fame ed all'odio del padre che la considera una concorrente per il cibo). Gli episodi di solidarietà, di empatia sembrano più un'eccezione alla quale aggrapparsi per non perdere la ragione. Se la prima parte è dura, la seconda è agghiacciante. Ka-Tzetnik ha il merito di svelare anche l'esistenza delle divisioni della gioia (i campi di prostituzione), generalmente poco presenti nella letteratura (almeno in quella che ho letto fino ad ora). In poche pagine ci sono tutti gli orrori mai compiuti nei campi ed è tutto talmente condensato da non lasciare spazio al respiro. Ogni singolo personaggio descritto nel libro si stampa nella memoria e scava una nicchia nel petto del lettore: si va dal campo di lavoro con gli scheletri che continuano a scavare ed a spaccare pietre fino alla morte ed oltre, ai campi di prostituzione, fino ai laboratori nei quali sperimentare qualsiasi mostruosità. I tedeschi sono comprensibilmente descritti come privi di qualsiasi tratto umano, ma forse perché influenzata da libri letti in precedenza (in cui si descrivono le ondate di suicidi tra le guardie dei lager), percepisco la disperazione anche negli aguzzini. Come altro spiegare lo stordimento continuo e la pervicace ricerca della perdita di coscienza che inseguono? Lo stile complessivo dell'opera è perfettamente asservito alle necessità dello scritto. E' un continuo alternare il piano reale e quello onirico, che finiscono per intrecciarsi e conferire un senso di vertigine al tutto. E' un libro profondamente doloroso ed anche mentre scrivo ho difficoltà a ripensarci, ma leggetelo.
Profile Image for Amalie .
772 reviews217 followers
March 23, 2013
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 are tattooed as "Feld Hure" (field whore)between their breasts and are sent to the infamous "Joy Divsion" part of a camp that housed prostitues for the pleasure of Nazi officers. The story is supposed to be based on the diary of a 14 year old Daniella Preleshnik, however there's no proof of how real this is. It lacks a level of explanatory preface to indicate fantasy, fiction or a level of genuineness or authenticity, other than that I didn't have a problem with it.

I'd recommend this to specially those who are interested in WW II and Holocaust literature. Shut off your senses before turning the pages and don't read at bed time. I actually had a horrible nightmare about the experimental clinical descriptions. Those who found Anne Frank's confinement too emotional, shouldn't try this, because compared to this Anne Frank is like a walk in the park.
Profile Image for Sergio.
946 reviews7 followers
January 26, 2023
Un libro terribile che ci trasporta negli anni della II Guerra Mondiale al tempo della "soluzione finale" creata dalla mente diabolica di Hitler e dei suoi gerarchi e ci fa vivere con orrore la vita quotidiana degli ebrei, dapprima segregati nei ghetti a vivere il terrore quotidiano del trasferimento nei "campi di lavoro" e poi, una volta giunti nei campi di concentramento, a seguito delle improvvise retate notturne delle SS, spinti a lottare per la sopravvivenza alla mercé delle crudeltà inumane degli aguzzini tedeschi. Il romanzo si sofferma sulle vicende di due giovani fratelli, Harry e Daniella, che separati dagli eventi, giungono in due campi di concentramento adiacenti dove Harry nominato "medico" dal pazzoide comandante del "campo del lavoro" avrà il "privilegio" di veder morire ad una ad una tutte le persone che ama e rispetta senza poterle aiutare mentre la giovanissima Daniella sperimenterà l'assurdità del "campo della gioia" dove sarà costretta a prostituirsi alle SS mandate in licenza premio dal fronte orientale fino alla consapevole certezza di aver raggiunto e superato ogni limite...
Profile Image for Becca.
3 reviews
January 7, 2012
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 book and it is most defiantly for the faint hearted.
April 17, 2020
Ero molto giovane, iscritta al primo anno della mia scuola di Teatro. La nostra maestra selezionava testi da proporci, sia da leggere che da mettere in scena. Anche mia madre, ora in pensione, era maestra: di scuola elementare. E qui nasce l’equivoco. Le schede si compilavano a mano, i lavori si preparavano su carta, lei amava profondamente il suo lavoro: mia madre aveva spesso da fare e quindi alla mia domanda rispose in maniera un po’ vaga, senza darmi eccessiva attenzione. “Mamma, oggi a Teatro ci hanno consigliato di leggere CASA DI BAMBOLA, è una pièce teatrale di un autore ... boh ... norvegese, inglese, non mi ricordo. Dicono che è molto bello!” ... “Sì, ce l’abbiamo! Sta di là, nella libreria in sala”. Vado. Cerco. “La casa delle bambole” di tale “Ka qualcosa”. Non mi pare che fosse così complesso il nome dell’autore ... cioè quantomeno non mi pare che fosse tedesco. Ma, sempre pronta a pensare di essere io in errore, ho dato per scontato di ricordare male autore e titolo. D’altronde, quante probabilità ci sono di incontrare due libri i cui titoli sono composti da 3/4 parole di cui due sono “casa” e “bambola/e” ... la statistica parla chiaro! Così ho iniziato la lettura di un testo che non ho mai dimenticato, che mi ha lasciato segni indelebili sulla pelle e dopo il quale tutti gli incubi peggiori avuti nelle nottate più cupe hanno scelto quel ricordo per agganciarvisi. Prima o poi dovrò rileggerlo, per stratificare e rimuovere un terribile sogno ricorrente nato quando forse era troppo presto per conoscere non una parte della Storia, che già avevamo studiato più volte - dalla quinta elementare alla terza media, quando ancora in ordine cronologico si studiava tutto a più riprese, senza dividere le epoche tra i livelli di scuola - ma un aspetto di quella stessa storia che probabilmente avrei conosciuto più tardi, con maggior consapevolezza. Ma forse, invece, non me l’avrebbe mai detto nessuno. Perch�� la maggior parte della gente, forse, non lo sa. Perché non gliel’ha detto nessuno, appunto. Chissà se è proprio da lì che è nato l’interesse per ciò che della storia si nasconde: anche quando si parla dei campi di sterminio, anche quando si visitano i luoghi di quegli eventi, delle baracche femminili non si parla. Mai. Faccio fatica, in tutta onestà - ancora oggi - a mettere su carta ciò che ho letto in questo libro e ciò che ho studiato poi per mia scelta, dalle modalità con cui si descrive il modo per rendere sterili le ragazze, alle violenze da loro subite, alla disperazione che - come dicevo - sogno ancora la notte. E la vera tragedia sta nel fatto che la violenza cieca e barbara, il male assoluto, la donna come preda di guerra e come oggetto per la realizzazione di qualsivoglia perversione, c’è sempre stata e non è mai terminata. Durante la guerra dei Balcani sono state costruite altre baracche femminili: erano gli anni ‘90 e non era cambiato nulla. Quando, al cinema, mi capitò di guardare “Venuto al mondo”, film tratto dall’omonimo libro della Mazzantini che getta uno sguardo anche su questo orribile aspetto di quella guerra, io mi sono sentita male, sono stata male per giorni e quando sento nominare quel titolo non riesco a respirare tanto bene. E magari, allora, che sia benvenuto lo sbaglio: il libro che ti capita tra le mani per caso ma, siccome tu non credi al caso, sai che forse aveva un senso e per questo - seppure edulcorando la verità , vista la loro età - cercherai di evitare che tante generazioni di studentesse e studenti rimangano nell’ignoranza. E glielo dirai. Cercando di evitare loro gli incubi, questo sì, senza dubbio.
Profile Image for Emmy Uzor.
3 reviews
July 8, 2012
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 certain events, making the reader really ignorant of what really happened in that particular event. If the book were to be fictional, it would have been a much more appreciable read. The plot, setting and characters were all first-class but they all were under-portrayed, making the reader envision all the good things the author(s) could have done with these components, how the author(s) could have exploited the characters and drained them of their heavy potentials.
The book really was such a bore and thank goodness it wasn't lengthy. And thank goodness also that it wasn't fictional. For the fact that it was non-fictional, it was good but if it were to be non-fi, it would have been a gross failure and a crime against creativity.
Profile Image for Wendy.
13 reviews3 followers
January 27, 2010
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
Profile Image for Giorgia.
Author 5 books8 followers
October 12, 2017
Credo non si possa recensire un libro così.
Non si dovrebbe nemmeno commentare.
L'orrore al quale si assiste non ha eguali.
Un romanzo unico su un tema largamente presente in letteratura, ma trattato in maniera sublime, viva e senza possibilità d'appello.
Profile Image for Dolceluna ♡.
1,078 reviews69 followers
August 5, 2017
La casa delle bambole. Un titolo giocoso e allegro per una storia dall'orrore sconfinato e inimmaginabile. Quella di Daniella, una ragazzina ebrea che, dal ghetto di una città polacca occupata dai nazisti viene trasportata prima in un campo di concentramento e poi in una casa di piacere per le SS, la Divisione della Gioia, in cui sarà costretta a vendere il suo corpo per sopravvivere. O meglio, tentare di sopravvivere, poichè le umiliazioni fisiche e morali cui viene sottoposta non sono meno aghiaccianti di quelle riservate ai prigionieri di un campo di concentramento e, come in un campo di concentramento, anche lì la morte è dietro l'angolo, pronta ad arraffare le sue vittime. Ka-Tzetkin 135633 (pseudonimo dello scrittore polacco Carol Cetynski, dato dalle iniziali di Konzentration Zentre e dal numero di matricola con cui egli stesso fu internato) ci lascia una storia di una crudezza sconvolgente, la quale esplora una faccia della Shoah che ancora mi era sconosciuta: quella della prostituzione. Un orrore nell'orrore. Leggere questo libro è come ricevere un calcio in un fianco, fa male, malissimo, l'autore riesce a creare un pathos tale da far provare al lettore le stesse tremende sofferenze che provano Daniella e le sue compagne, ma anche il fratello Harry, prigioniero in un campo di concentramento e tutti gli altri disgraziati che si incontrano fre le pagine. Pagine che, oltre a delineare descrizioni lucide e precise non lesinano violenza e disperazione. E si arriva all'ultima riga col cuore gonfio di tristezza...forse all'orrore non c'è mai fine.
Profile Image for Nancy.
279 reviews10 followers
April 17, 2008
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 undergo sterilization by various experimental means, all without anesthesia, and there is clear evidence that women were forced into prostitution at a number of concentration camps including Sachenhausen and Ravensbruck, if only to serve men from the labor camps as incentives.

One of the characters, who young Danielle forms a connection to when in the ghetto, clearly survived many "aktions" due to her "entertainment" of those high-up in the Juden-rat or Jewish police who ran the ghettos quite brutally for the Germans. She teaches Danielle how to please her "clients": any girl or woman receiving three complaints for lack of satisfaction in any number of ways is sent to her death.

Apparently required reading for Jewish school children, this is a very intense book.
Profile Image for Brian James.
Author 328 books218 followers
April 25, 2011
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. In a way, it's a story in total opposition to The Diary of Anne Frank which highlights the remarkable way in a which a young girl is able to still be a young girl despite the horrible conditions of her life. As the hardships in this story mount, that hopeful spirit within Daniella is gradually crushed until she is like the others, simply a walking skeleton. Brutal, to be sure...yet there is something beautiful inside her that is undeniable.

Truly an unforgettable book.

Profile Image for Kevin.
20 reviews13 followers
April 13, 2011
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.
232 reviews12 followers
May 9, 2007
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.
79 reviews2 followers
June 3, 2019
Ho il dovere di conoscere. Ho il dovere di ricordare. Ho il dovere di tramandare. Ho il dovere di commemorare. Il campo della gioia. La forzata prostituzione, gli esperimenti sulle ragazze, la violenza su corpi e menti. L'orrore. Mi è capitata fra le mani questa prima edizione e come ogni volta che trovo un libro datato sull'argomento (1959) ho provato quella intensa emozione, e l'urgenza di sapere, il freddo nel cuore. Una muta sete di conoscenza, un sincero desiderio di donare una parte del mio cuore alla memoria delle persone e di quanto accaduto. E così.. la lettura di queste pagine mi lascia dentro orrore, ed un amore nuovo per questa bambina la cui innocenza è stata portata via all'umanità ed a noi tutti da quella orrenda barbarie. Non amo dare una valutazione numerica a questo genere di lettura ma lo farò, perchè questo non è uno dei primi libri che capitano fra le mani quando si cerca qualcosa sull'argomento. Con il cuore gonfio e gli occhi umidi, ripongo con cura questo volume fra i miei più cari.
1 review
December 21, 2021
I expected to find twisted pornography in this book written by a deeply traumatized Auschwitz survivor. The writer of this book was a literary genius. There was no pornography in this book. There was, however, memories, written in an abstract form. The memories were brutal. and real. The writer of this book is clearly trying to find truth and love in life in spite of all that happened. During the Nuremberg trials he recited poetry- to explain what happened to an audience of people that could never understood his level of literacy.
This is not a light read, but it is probably the most genuine version of what happened to someone who survived the horrors of Auschwitz. It is not for an elementary, easy reader though. You have to be able to have deep analytical abilities to understand it. Absolutely excellent.
Profile Image for Elliot Parker.
64 reviews
March 5, 2022
Again, another great encapsulation of the experience of the holocaust from Yehiel De-Nur. His writing places you in the position of his characters and it brings to life something that seems utterly surreal to those who have not experienced it. I did not enjoy this book as much as Piepel. I feel this was because in Piepel, he had lived that full experience. Whereas his coverage of House of Dolls is from the perspective of women and young girls who were forced into prostitution, something he had only heard of second hand. Regardless of that, Yehiel De-Nur can really convey the depravity and the desperation of these experiences in a way I have yet to see from another author. Moreover, his description of the callous nature of the Germans is really etched into my soul. A great book, an incredible writer and a deeply upsetting human tragedy.
Profile Image for b e a c h g o t h .
568 reviews16 followers
February 14, 2020
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 like I was banging my head into a wall.

I read books on the Holocaust to fuel my search of understanding how the world came to such a dark part in history and this didn’t aid my search, this was just a hard-to-follow story about torture.
Profile Image for Viviana López.
52 reviews2 followers
April 29, 2020
Debo reconocer que al principio me costó un poco engancharme con la historia, hacia la página 100 conecté y se volvió entretenido el libro. Me gustó explorar el tema de prostitución que se dio en los campos de concentración, durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial, que es transversal a la esclavitud, el sometimiento, la desesperación y toda clase de explotación que experimentaron los judíos. Es muy triste cómo el ser humano puede llegar a generar tanto dolor. También me gustó la descripción que se hizo de la vida en los barrios judíos y cómo fue esa vil transición hasta su reclusión a los campos de concentración.
El final es un poco confuso, corta la historia de una forma un poco abrupta. Y mi libro tenía algunos errores de traducción.
Profile Image for Parker Rush.
97 reviews
December 21, 2021
Gripping, macabre, hallucinatory. So many ways to describe this challenging gem of a book and all of them fall criminally short. Read every word, read it twice, be enthralled, appalled, sick to your stomach, I could go on forever. The bottom line is House of Dolls will be sure to leave traces, perhaps even chasms, upon your otherwise healthy psyche. It will change you. It will eviscerate and rearrange your spiritual innards according to its own hidden laws. This tiny tract is bursting at the seams with humanity pitted against the most vile darkness imaginable. Be advised: this is not light beach reading.
Profile Image for Bea De.
43 reviews8 followers
February 26, 2022
I read this book as a young teenager of about the same age as the poor girl who wrote the"diary"..It horrified me and made a huge impression..I also remember thinking how come there are no more books on this subject since it was obvious there were so many victims of this place of ultimate horror.Even the ones who managed tosurvive this were mentally scarred for life and no longer able to bear a child.Should be obligatory reading in high schools ;people have to know exactly how low the human animal can go.Never again they said after w.w.2:then came the mass-rapings in the Joegoslavian-former!-war..These horrors will exist as long as there is war and xenophobia and hate..
289 reviews4 followers
January 10, 2023
Letto incuriosita dal fatto che sia stato scelto dal gruppo di lettura della biblioteca comunale del mio paese (sorvoliamo sulla non apoliticità della scelta).
Molto "dentro": tanti libri sull'argomento narrano dal punto di vista dei sopravvissuti, e narrano al tempo presente. Qui in più si sente "l'ignoranza": il non sapere cosa davvero succede altrove, dove siano gli altri, a che punto sia il mondo fuori..
7 reviews1 follower
January 29, 2017
libro molto intenso, crudele, che racconta la cattiveria, il modo in cui neanche molti anni fa moltissime persone hanno dovuto vivere. un libro he vá letto per capire come alla crudeltà non c'è mai fine. come nella vita quando si ha tutto ci si lamenta, senza pensare che nella vita ci sono persone a cui hanno tolto perfino l'identità.
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