Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in AuschwitzSurviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have read an abundance of literature written by survivors of the holocaust. Some of those books are aimed at the adult market and others, like this one, for the younger reader. The adult versions are often graphic and it is hard to digest the reality of these horrific factual accounts. The YA or childrens’ versions bring the same facts to the table, but in a more subtle and careful manner, which is easier for the younger reader to take on board.
Now some would argue that memoirs and historical accounts of this nature should be thrown at the reader, regardless of their age, like a bucket of cold water on a hot summers day. I completely disagree. I believe that it is of great importance that the younger generation learn from our mistakes and by creating a version of this book (and others of this nature) for children, we are building a bridge to the past. One that a younger reader can grasp because it is written on their level.
So this story by Eva Mozes, about her own and her twin sisters experience in Dr Mengele’s lab and concentration camp, is written through the eyes of the then ten year old Eva.
At the end of the book there is a chapter on how Eva found peace by forgiving those who murdered her family and tortured herself and her sister. I find it commendable that she advocates this for herself and doesn’t try to define or decide how others deal with their pain and memories about the Holocaust. She said she needed it to be at peace with her past. Not many of us can find that path.
In the book she decribes incidents like being separated from her mother and family, being tattooed with her number, being used as a human guinea pig by Mengele. Eva does all this with what seems like almost detached emotion, as if she knows that treading too close to the actual memory will bring back an unsustainable pain, so instead she keeps her distance.
Her or their story is one of perserverance, even more so after the events in the camp. I highly recommend this as reading material for younger readers, scholastic resources and older readers.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.

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