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The Librarian of Auschwitz
Cover of The Librarian of Auschwitz
The Librarian of Auschwitz
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.Fourteen-year-old...
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.Fourteen-year-old...
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  • Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this is the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

    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 volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.

    Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.

About the Author-

  • Antonio Iturbe is a novelist and journalist. He interviewed Dita Kraus, the real-life librarian of Auschwitz, for The Librarian of Auschwitz.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from August 28, 2017
    Drawing on his own interviews with Holocaust survivor Dita Kraus, who now lives in Israel, Spanish author Iturbe describes the horrors of Auschwitz-Birkenau in unflinching, straightforward prose (smoothly translated by Thwaites) that reflects his journalism background. A fierce lover of books, 14-year-old Dita helps out in the makeshift school of Block 31, the children’s block in the family camp, and volunteers to take care of eight precious but forbidden books, risking certain death if she were to be found out. The role of librarian for Block 31’s tiny collection gives Dita a sense of purpose in a bleak camp where death, torture, and humiliation are omnipresent. As Dita’s story unfolds, alternating between her present circumstances at the camp and her memories of Prague and the ghetto of Terezín (“a city where the streets led nowhere”), Iturbe interweaves the names and stories of other survivors and victims of Auschwitz, turning the narrative into a monument of remembrance and history. All but guaranteed to send readers searching for more information, this is an unforgettable, heartbreaking novel. Ages 13–up.

  • School Library Journal

    Starred review from August 1, 2017

    Gr 8 Up-Based on the true story of Holocaust survivor Dita Kraus, this novel features a protagonist who exemplifies courage in the face of death. Fourteen-year-old Dita is imprisoned at Auschwitz along with her mother and father in the "family camp." Her work assignment is to assist the Jewish leader in charge of Block 31, a section created to entertain the children so that their family can work. This block has many secrets, but the most important is that eight books were smuggled in by Jewish prisoners. Dita has been entrusted with their care, making her "the Librarian of Auschwitz." As time passes on, she becomes aware that Dr. Mengele has taken an interest in her, and while she is terrified that "Doctor Death" is paying attention to her, she finds the courage to protect her books, family, and friends at all costs. Throughout, well-known Nazi leaders and lesser-known Jewish heroes play pivotal roles, making the connection with the historical elements of the horrors of Auschwitz, and later Bergen-Belsen more credible and relatable. Despite being a fictional retelling of a true story, this novel is one that could easily be recommended or taught alongside Elie Wiesel's Night and The Diary of Anne Frank and a text that, once read, will never be forgotten. VERDICT A hauntingly authentic Holocaust retelling; a must for YA collections.-Stephanie Wilkes, Good Hope Middle School, West Monroe, LA

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2017
    A teenage girl imprisoned in Auschwitz keeps the secret library of a forbidden school. Dita Adlerova, 14, is confined in the notorious extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Compared to her fellow inmates, Dita's relatively lucky. The several thousand residents of camp BIIb are inexplicably allowed to keep their own clothing, their hair, and, most importantly, their children. A young man named Fredy Hirsch maintains a school in BIIb, right under the noses of the Nazis. In Fredy's classroom, Dita discovers something wonderful: a dangerous collection of eight smuggled books. The tale, based on the real life of Dita Polach Kraus and the events of 1944 and 1945, intertwines the stories of several real people: Dita, Fredy, several little-known war heroes, even a grim cameo from Anne and Margot Frank. Holocaust-knowledgeable readers will have suspicions about how many characters will die horribly (spoiler alert: this is Auschwitz). Yet somehow, myriad storylines told by multiple narrators offer compelling narrative tension. Why does BIIb exist? Will Rudi and Alice have a romance? What's Fredy's secret? Will Dr. Mengele subject Dita to his grotesque experiments? Dita's matter-of-fact perspective, set in a slow build from BIIb to the chaotic starvation of the war's end, both increases the horror and makes it bearable to read. Though no punches are pulled about the unimaginable atrocity of the death camps, a life-affirming history. (Historical fiction. 13-16)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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    Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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