The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
Source: Owned (Gift from friend)
Publisher: Ebury (Penguin)
Genres: Historical Fiction, World War II
Publication Date: 4th April 2019
Synopsis/Blurb (Taken from Goodreads):
“For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Choice: this is the story of the smallest library in the world – and the most dangerous.
‘It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less sombre times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns…’
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.
But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…
The Sunday Times bestseller for readers of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Choice. Based on the incredible and moving true story of Dita Kraus, holocaust survivor and secret librarian for the children’s block in Auschwitz.“
My Thoughts & Review
Like The Tattooist of Auschwitz this was another hard and sad book to read but one I’m glad I picked up.
In The Librarian of Auschwitz, we follow Dita a 14 year old girl who along with her family have been taken to the concentration camps of Auschwitz. While at the camp she is chosen to be the Class librarian. This is not as easy as it sounds as books are banned in Auschwitz and if anyone is caught with them they are killed.
This is one book where you need to take your time in reading to fully understand and absorb the plot and the large number of characters. It took me a little while to get my head around all the characters and work out who was who, but once I got over this hurdle everything started to fall into place. There was a mix bag of characters in this book, some I liked very much and some not so much. Dita was my favourite. Although only 14 and not knowing if she would ever leave Auschwitz alive she is so incredibly brave, and very loyal to those around her.
Iturbe has done a great job in writing such an atmospheric and heart breaking story. There were a few minor issues I came across while reading but the overall story kept me captivated and I really couldn’t put it down as I really wanted to know what Dita’s fate would be.
Although this was an emotional and hard hitting book, I’m so glad I picked this one up. This is definitely another book I won’t be forgetting about in a hurry. I highly recommend that everyone should read this one at least once.
Since reading the physical book, I have been told by a few friends that the audiobook is really good, so I will be giving it ago. But I will have to wait until June as there is a 6 month waiting list for the audiobook from the library.
(Read for the prompt Historical Fiction for the 2020 TBR Reading Challenge created by Mina @ Stacked Reviews)
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Leave a comment below and let’s have a chat.