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Five Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz [Hardcover]

Olga Lengyel
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 1983 086527343X 978-0865273436
Olga Lengyel tells, frankly and without compromise, one of the most horrifying stories of all time. This true, documented chronicle is the intimate, day-to-day record of a woman who survived the nightmare of Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was a shocking experience, it is a shocking book. In a letter to Lengyel, Albert Einstein said, "You have done a real service by letting the ones who are now silent and most forgotten speak." Of the book, actress Mira Sorvino said, "...The amazing story of a woman who survived the Nazi concentration camps. It's unbelievable yet horrifying because it's true."
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Fertig (1 Jan 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086527343X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865273436
  • Product Dimensions: 22.2 x 15.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,015,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Thank you for your very frank, very well-written book. You have done a real service by letting the ones who are now silent and most forgotten speak... --Albert Einstein --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Olga Lengye was a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. She was deported with her husband, parents, and children to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in the spring of 1944 and was the only member of the family to survive. After the war she immigrated to the U.S. Olga died in 2001 at the age of ninety-three, having battled and survived three separate bouts of cancer. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A memorable, chilling and intelligent account 4 May 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A realistic of the author's life and consience told in stark and unrelenting detail. The pangs of guilt as she persuades her Mother and son to join the ranks of the old and very young during the selection, believing them protected from brutal work only to make the shocking later discovery - their line led to death. The moral question of delivering live babies in camp - where a Mother was spared death only if the baby was declared stillborn. If not, both met their end immediately. Told with a calm sincerity. Memorable! A book worth reading- and reading again.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unbelievable 7 Aug 2004
Format:Paperback
How did it happen? Your emotions run wild when you read this book. How this woman survived is amazing. The courage and determination comes out in every page. I had to put this book down quite a few times to wipe away the tears. My own little problems are certainly put into perspective now.
This book is brilliant but horrifying to know that it is true, and the end chapter, when you think the worst has happened, knocks you back. How did it happen and why?????
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126 of 133 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN... 25 Feb 2005
By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
This is the story of a woman who spent about seven months in Auschwitz and survived to tell the tale. She wrote this book shortly after her ordeal, while her horrific experience was still fresh in her mind. It was definitely a mind numbing, life changing experience, as it saw the loss of her entire family, her parents, her children, and her husband. It should be noted that none of them, including Olga, were Jewish.
Olga Lengyel lived an upper-middle class existence in Transylvania, in the capital city of Cluj. Her husband, Dr. Miklos Lengyel, was a Berlin trained medical doctor and the director of a private hospital that he had built shortly before the onset of World War II. Olga had also studied medicine and was qualified to be a surgical assistant. She and her husband had two young sons. They were all surviving the war as best they could, with Germans an occupying force. They even had a German soldier billeted with them for a time.
Olga had begun to hear disturbing things about what the Germans were doing in occupied territories, but had discounted it. She felt that Germany, a country that had contributed so much culturally to the world, could not be culpable of some of the atrocities of which she was hearing. She felt the stories that she was hearing were too fantastical to be believable. Then her husband came under the cross-hairs of the Nazis, accused of having his hospital boycott pharmaceuticals made by the German Bayer Company. This was the beginning of the end for the Lengyel family. Shortly thereafter in May of 1944, he was ordered to be deported to Germany.
When Olga heard this, she insisted on accompanying her husband, as she thought that he would be put to work in a German hospital. She naively asked the Nazis if she could accompany her husband, and they had no objection.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Woman of Courage 29 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From almost after the 1st few pages, you find yourself actually there, and interacting with the Olga, when she is frightned about whats going to happen to her and her family you can feel it too, you cry and feel her sorrow and pain. She doesn't try to soften her words to discribe the autrocities she witnessed, nor does she ask for your pity. Well worth a read
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book was first published in English in 1947. It presents life and death in Auschwitz in great detail, and offers an excellent overview of the concentration camp world. The author's own story is gripping and heart-wrenching. The early date, 2 years after WWII ended, ensures that the author's memories of the camp are still lucid and the details very precise. Olga Lengyel studied to be a physician, and her informed analysis of the treatment meted out to inmates make this book special. I view this book as a Holocaust Studies "benchmark" - other accounts often fall short of its quality and level of detail. It is also significant as an account of a woman's experience. Until recently, women's Holocaust experiences were a rather neglected area.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE STARS FOR "FIVE CHIMNEYS" - A MUST READ!! 31 Aug 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Olga Lengyel has paid the highest price for the information she gives us all in Five Chimneys. She was there..in Auschwitz - Birkenau. What was her crime? Indeed, what was anyone's crime, to have one's life taken away from them and labelled an Enemy of the Third Reich. Her chilling testimony grips you immediately and holds your attention all the way through. Only one who was a prisoner of the infamous "Death Camps" will truly know what it was like to live the horrors shared in Five Chimneys. Everyone should read this book. Read it slowly, try to picture in your mind the sights Olga describes. Even doing so, one could never imagine the relentless fear of being 'selected' at any time without notice. No intelligent reader will feel unaffected after reading Five Chimneys. In fact one can easily see the clear message given to all of us: "All Life is Precious and none can be replaced."
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly amazing book 14 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This must be one of the most harrowing books I have ever read. Ms Lengyel is a true heroine and we must thank her for writing her story. There are lessons in this book for everyone - and please God may it never happen again.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this and appreciate life in 2001 8 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is an amazing book and should be read by all members of your family. I have passed it onto my 17 year old son - it shows courage, determination and most of all a will to live. The horrors of camp life have been explained fully in this book and it seems hard to believe that human beings had to suffer so much. I found it upsetting yet very interesting. It made me appreciate the simple things in life which we all take for granted.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
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Published 1 day ago by SHIRLEY WILLIAMS
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing book and written so impartially and without bitterness. I don't know how after all she endured.
Published 5 days ago by Lee Nelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
This is the third time I have read this book but yet it still grips front start to end.
Something's mentioned here I have never read elsewhere in the many many holocaust books... Read more
Published 6 days ago by JEANETTE
3.0 out of 5 stars I understand the authors right to be emotional but......
While I see the importance of these books to keep history alive I also believe that absolute accuracy is paramount, everywhere these days there are denials of the holocaust as it... Read more
Published 6 days ago by hugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Very touching story
I chose this book because I have been to switch and wanted to read a survivors account. The descriptions of the layout and the horrific lives the prisoners had to endure is... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Susan O'Hare
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very harrowing !
Published 1 month ago by Sandra Gillespie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five chimneys
A very no nonsense book about a very strong lady who survived unthinkable things in the worst death camp of ww2
Published 1 month ago by Daz
5.0 out of 5 stars I had read it some years ago so knew what ...
I had read it some years ago so knew what to expect. It did not fail to shock and extremely thought provoking.
Published 1 month ago by Carol Ann Lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Quick delivery. A book you can't put down.
Published 2 months ago by angela lee
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Enjoyed the book. Good story. Delivery etc. as stated.
Published 2 months ago by Neil Smith
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