13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
When twins Eva and Miriam Mozes were ten years old, the Nazis invaded their home in Romania and forced their family onto a train that would take them to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
When they got off the train, their family became separated. They never knew what happened to their father and two older sisters, Aliz and Edit. Their mother, in a desperate attempt to save her youngest daughters, answered "Is that good?" after a soldier asked if they were twins.
"Good" was a subjective concept, because Eva and Miriam were immediately torn from their mother's arms, and she was sent to the gas chamber while they were taken to the laboratory barracks for those who would become Dr. Joseph Mengele's experiments. This book is the story of how they survived the horrors that ensued.
Adapted from Eva Mozes Kor's self-published memoir, ECHOES FROM AUSCHWITZ: DR. MENGELE'S TWINS, THE STORY OF EVA AND MIRIAM MOZES, this book gives a heartbreaking view into two Jewish children's lives during the Holocaust. Though the subject matter is graphic and sensitive, Eva Mozes Kor's breathtaking ability to forgive Joseph Mengele for his atrocities, as well as her ability to overcome unimaginable cruelties, provide hope for all children who have gone through terrible experiences.
Keep a box of tissues at hand, because this book is one of the most challenging emotional roller coasters I have ever read. Definitely worth reading for people of all ages.
Reviewed by: Theresa L. Stowell
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 7 April 2012
I've read a lot of memoirs in the last 10 years written by survivors of the holocaust. Shocking, haunting and enough to make your blood boil, these are unimaginable stories of loss, pain and heartbreak but also inspiring and motivating.
Surviving the Angel of Death is one of the few Holocaust books that I've read aimed primarily at a younger audience, but that doesn't make it any less shocking than accounts that are more adult-focused. In fact, being lived through the eyes of 10-year-old Eva is in some ways even more heartbreaking.
The writing is honest and straightforward with no feeling of events being romanticized or dumbed-down in order not to shock the reader. As Eva fights for both her own life and the life of her sister, my admiration grew stronger by the line for this tough, spirited child who used her own experiences to help others become inspired and to understand exactly how much forgiveness can achieve.
Enjoyed is not the right word for a book about the Holocaust - enthralled, enraged, saddened and admiration are more apt descriptions, that completely sum up my feelings after I turned the last page.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 17 June 2012
This is a fascinating memoir of a survivor of Auschwitz. Eva Kor and her twin sister, Miriam were subjected to horrific scientific experiments by the 'Angel of Death' (Josef Mengele). This is a version of her biography which is aimed at young adults, although I feel that adults alike should read this as well.
The twins were born in Romania, and this tells us of their struggles as a Jewish family as Germany begin to take over their country. They lose the rest of their immediate family, including their parents and other siblings. This is an emotional and often difficult read. Eva shows her strength as she manages to survive and helps her sister to as well, such as stealing potatoes for them as Miriam almost gives up.
This is also a story of hope though as it details their journey home and subsequent life. Eva is someone to be admired as she has spent most of her life helping others and highlighting the plight of thousands and her decision to publicly forgive the Nazis who imprisoned them.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 29 May 2012
Once I started reading it I could not put it down. Eva & Miriam are jewish twins whose parents & sisters were sent straight to the gas chambers as soon as they arrived. Eva & Miriam were to become Josef Mengles guinea pigs. The horrendous treatments he tested out on them OMG. I can't believe someone could be so evil to adults He treated them bad but if you were a child it was even worse. Eva is the strongest out of the twins, it is a good job she was or they may have not survived. Miriam is/was more quite they both needed each others strengths to survive. If you have not already read this book then please do. We cannot forget all those people who died at the hands of the Nazis- men women young and old, children, the disabled, sexual orientation. Other religious beliefs, political, prisoners of war who should not have been sent to a concentration cam in the 1st place. They should have been in POW camps. Mengle had children of his own, how could he do such things. PLEASE READ
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 2 May 2011
This book is amazing. The story cuts so deep into your own emotions. This story needs to be read by everyone. This time in history should never EVER be forgotten. I have never read much about Dr Mengele but always found him fascinating. To know the evil things that he has done disgusts me. I believe that this story really doesn't explore the extent of the evil that was carried out, so now it has made me want to find out more... nevertherless Eva's heartbreaking story was so inspiring. I couldn't see through my tears to read the last sentence. A must buy!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 26 April 2015
Many of us will have seen the photographs and moving images of those 2 little girls at the head of a line of survivors walking out of Auschwitz and many of us, me included, would have asked ourselves "I wonder who they are, where they came from, how they survived that nightmare and where are they now?"; this book sheds light on all those questions and introduces you to a very brave little girl.
"At Auschwitz dying was so easy. Surviving was a full-time job."
The words that came into my head as I was reading this book was how amazing, brave and inspirational Eva was and still is. For a 10 year old to have that level of insight and an unbelievably strong will to survive is humbling. You can feel the pain, the fear but also the love coming through the words and pages. Her descriptions of the horrors she, her twin sister and the others interred in that godforsaken place were told in a non-sensationalised way and without the usual shocking, graphic details. In some ways, this made it more upsetting - it was told from the eyes of a child and those eyes should never have seen the things that she saw.
Eva was careful to ensure that she make it known that in amongst all that evil, there were people who risked their lives for others - the supervisor who gave food in the infirmary and shared her birthday cake and the barracks full of Jewish women who kept a child hidden during their entire stay - just two instances. These acts of extreme bravery and selflessness provide hope that there is still some humanity.
I don’t know if I could ever forgive anyone who systematically murdered someone in my family let alone everyone in my family but Eva is obviously made of something else and her quote:
"Anger and hate are seeds that germinate war. Forgiveness is a seed for peace. It is the ultimate act of self-healing”
tells you all you need to know about her inner strength and the type of person she is.
Eva is an inspiration and her message of hope should be a mantra for us all:
"The life lessons I have learned through all my pain and everything I have been through and survived:
1. Never ever give up on yourself or your dreams, for everything good in life is possible.
2. Judge people on their actions and the content of their character.
3. Forgive your worst enemy and forgive everyone who has hurt you— it will heal your soul and set you free"
This book is designed for Young Adults but, to be honest, I think anyone of any age could read this and should read this.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher, Tanglewood, for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I read this before I noticed that it is Teen / YA. I think it is also more than suitable for adults. I have read Nyiszli's book "I was Doctor Mengele's Assistant" and this book complements that one insofar as giving the story from the other side. It is an easy book to read language wise. It is quite childlike in parts but NEVER childish (there is a big difference!) With the subject matter, although it is relatively short, it is not a book that I could read much of in each sitting. A lot of it had to be digested and thought over before starting again. There is virtually no complicated war history to get bogged down in or detract from the story. It is simply the story of her and her sister. Matter of fact, no glossing, no glitz, just saying it how it was.
I think this is an important book. A story that had to be told. Has to be read.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
on 5 October 2015
Eva Mozes was just Ten years old when she and her twin sister, Miriam arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Her parents and two elder sisters were never seen again, presumably they were taken immediately to the gas chambers following the arrival selection process employed by the Nazis at that time.
Eva and Miriam were only saved by their genetics, and were immediately housed with other twins to be ‘looked after’ by Dr. Josef Mengele, now more commonly known as the Angel of Death.
What they suffered during their time there was nothing short of brutal. Twins were subjected to all kinds of horrific experiments by Mengele whose ultimate goal was to create blonde hair, blue eyed twins without any flaws. A goal that was never achieved. When Eva is injected with a substance that leaves her fighting for her life, she is more determined than ever to survive – she will not let Mengele win.
Her bravery is nothing short of tremendous, bearing in mind her young age, it is a determination that led to her and her twin being able to survive Auschwitz alive, when so many weren’t able to achieve the same goal.
What I really loved about this novel, was not only the authors honesty, but her willingness to share her life after the war. So often these types of autobiographical novels only deal with the events of the time and leave us wondering the author’s fate.
Eva went on to marry and moved to Terre Haute in the USA, where she (with the help of Miriam) launched CANDLES (Children of Auschwitz Nazi Deadly Lab Experiments Survivors) to try and find other survivors before going on to open CANDLES holocaust museum and education centre.
Eva is a truly inspirational lady and this is a must read.
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 for my review from NetGalley.
on 18 September 2015
Thank you to Netgalley for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is an extraordinary glimpse into the life of survivors of the Holocaust. It is written in the voice of Eva who, along with her twin sister Miriam, was experimented on by Joseph Mengele - The Angel of Death - in Auschwitz during the second world war. Both sisters survived the horrors of the death camp and lived to tell their story.
I didn't realise this was aimed at young adults before I read it, but it is an important and effective read none the less. Being written from the point of view of a 10 year old makes it even more poignant.
The horrors they suffered within the camp are absolutely horrendous, but what makes it even worse is the hostility they faced before and even after the war when they managed to make their way back to their home town in Romania.
I believe this story must be told over and over again to make people understand the horrific situation that occurred during this time and to help prevent anything like this ever happening again.