Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope


Today's post is on Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope by Wendy Holden. It is 400 pages long and it published by HarperCollins. The cover is blue with two pieces of razor-wire and three birds on it. The intended reader is someone who is interested in World War II history, women's history, and survival against all the odds. There is no language, no sex, and some violence in this book. The story is told from third person with first person interviews, letters, and other first hand resources. There Be Spoilers Ahead.

From the back of the book- A remarkable inspirational story about three expectant mothers who defied death at the hands of the Nazis to give their children life.
Among millions of Holocaust victims sent to Auschwitz II- Birkenau in 1944, Priska, Rachel, and Anka each pass throught its infamous gates with a secret. Strangers to each other, they are newly pregnant and facing an uncertain fate without their husbands. Alone, scared, and with so many loved ones already lost to the Nazis, these young women are privately determined to hold on to all they have left: their lives and those of their unborn babies.
That the gas chambers ran out of Zyklon B just after the babies were born, before they and their mothers could be exterminated, is just one of the several miracles that allowed them all to survive and rebuild their lives after World War II.
Born Survivors follows the mothers' incredible journey- first to Auschwitz, where they each came under the scrutiny of Dr. Josef Mengele; then to a German slave-labor camp where, half-starved and almost worked to death, they struggled to conceal their condition; and finally, as the Allies closed in, their hellish train journey with thousands of other prisoners to the Mauthausen death camp in Austria.
Sixty-five years later, the three 'miracle babies' meet for the first time at Mauthausen for the anniversary of the American liberation. In
Born Survivors, Wendy Holden brings all three stories together for the first time, to mark their seventieth birthdays and the seventieth anniversary of the ending of the war.

Review- -A heartbreaking but up-lifting story about survival. I think knowing that the women and babies survived helped to make this story bearable. The story is very intense and at times frightening. These women face some of the most terrifying men and environments known and they survive. Not only do they survive during but after they go on to have lives with their children, grand-children, and great-grand-children. The odds were against the women and their babies but they did it. With help from family or friends they survived. The children were born either on the way or in Mauthausen just days before the Allies freed them. The death toll that they survived is always there in the background. Holden will give how many people died each day before the Allies arrived. The little things that went their way or against the Nazis will. Everything that added up to the impossible and one incredible story.

I give this book a Five out of Five stars. I was given this book by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.