Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In this follow-up to The
Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true
one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away
again. Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated
by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced
to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis--with no
consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found
themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in
Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her
wits, charm, and beauty to survive.
It's a struggle to find the right words to write about books like this. It seems wrong to say I liked it or enjoyed it given the subject matter. I'm going with compelling, especially as I read it in one day. I wanted to see how Cilka's journey ended. Although it's a work of fiction there is enough reality in there for it to be shocking. It made me aware of how ignorant I was on how the Soviet Gulag's were set up and run so the notes at the end of the book were helpful in filling in some gaps in my knowledge. We need books like this to make us aware of the terrible atrocities that were carried out and are still going on. We should not forget.
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