Book Review: Surviving the Angel of Death by Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

18898968Title: Surviving the Angel of Death

Authors: Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri

Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography, Memoir

Age Group: Young Adult and older

Rating: 5 stars

Purchase: Amazon

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Eva Mozes Kor was 10 years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Mengele’s twins were granted the privileges of keeping their own clothes and hair, but they were also subjected to sadistic medical experiments and forced to fight daily for their own survival, as most of the twins died as a result of the experiements or from the disease and hunger pervasive in the camp. In a narrative told with emotion and restraint, readers will learn of a child’s endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil. The book also includes an epilogue on Eva’s recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.

I requested a copy of Surviving the Angel of Death, even though I was worried I might not be able to stomach it. But considering the source material, considering this is a real life account of what atrocities happened during World War I, I felt like I just had to read this. I’m glad I did.

Surviving the Angel of Death is a horrifying book. Some of the stories detailed in here…they made me squirm, made my stomach turn upside down, made me want to throw up. But at the same time, it deserves to be read just because of the stories it tells, so we know we should do whatever we can to never allow this to happen again.

Eva was ten years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, but Eva and her twin sisters, Miriam, were sent to the care of Dr. Josef Mengele, although “care” is the entirely wrong word here. They were forced to fight for their lives every single day ,and to witness the terrible experiments Dr. Mengele performed, not just on them, but on others – twins, dwarfs, pregnant women. What was truly inspiring about this book, was the girl’s strength. The things they could do in the face of danger, the horrors they could survive, their will to live. It was heart-wrenching, and heck, it damn near broke my heart to read this book.

The thought that people might still be going through something of the sort, even today, is horrible. We may deluce ourselves into thinking no one is getting tortured anywhere at this moment in time, or that we’ve somehow gotten rid of most of the evil in the world, but we must not kid ourselves. We must not stay blind for the horrors of this world.

This writing fits the audience – YA – and I can only imagine how hard it must’ve been to write a book of this caliber of horrendousness and make it suitable for a YA audience.

A testament to the courage of two young children, and to the power of hope.

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