Monday, May 06, 2013

Surviving The Angel Of Death

Surviving The Angel Of Death:

The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

By Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Published by Tanglewood, October 2009

This was quite a painful book to read due to its very subject matter. Beautifully written, it captivates the reader immediately.

Born to a prosperous Jewish family, the only Jewish family in Portz, Romania, the idyllic life of  Eva, her identical twin sister Miriam, their older sisters Edit and Aliz and their parents was abruptly shattered when their province was handed over to Hungarian control. Anti-semitism became widespread and violent, with propaganda films being shown in schools to incite violence against the Jews. The situation deteriorated rapidly when Hungary entered the War, allied to Germany, and the family's attempt to escape in 1943 failed and they had to return home. Life was difficult and they were soon moved to a tent ghetto, where torture and cruelty was rife.

 In May, 1944, they arrived at Auschwitz, where Eva and Miriam were immediately selected because they were twins and sent to Dr Mengele's medical compound at Birkenau. They never saw the rest of their family again. Subjected to dreadful living conditions, near starvation and brutality from nurses and guards as well as the medical experiments performed upon them, their lives were in jeopardy from day to day.

One experiment performed on Eva made her so ill she was separated from Miriam and taken to a separate hut, where she was deprived of food, water and medicine. Her indomitable spirit and help from a tiny number of humane people helped her to recover from almost certain death, and it took all her courage and ingenuity to stay alive.

Miriam and Eva were eventually liberated by the Soviet troops when they were eleven, and they returned to Romania. Life for these youngsters was hard, living under communist rule in Romania, and eventually they managed to emigrate to Israel and later to America, which marked the start of  a totally new life which held promise and happiness as well as a desire to make sure that the dreadful events at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the other camps would never be forgotten.

This is a truly remarkable book about triumph over adversity and not allowing the horrors of what they endured to poison and destroy the rest of their lives. Very well worth reading!

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