The Librarian of Auschwitz

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

Phenomenal. I had first started trying to read this on my phone, and it was tough to get into that way. I let it expire and a few months later I finally checked the book out, and I'm so glad I did. Dita's voice comes up through the pages, beyond the translation, and into the reader's heart. So many things in this book touched me, some more than any other WWII fiction story I have read. 

It's sad and hopeful and adventurous, all at the same time. This book should be paired up with The Diary of Anne Frank and a staple read in every English class.
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Fourteen year old Dita is a prisoner in Auschwitz along with her mother, father, and thousands of other Jewish people.   Dita and her family are learning to live with the terror that is living at Auschwitz, and one small glimmer of hope for Dita is Block 31 and the Family Camp.  It is here that Dita finds her place among the terror as she takes on the role of Librarian caring for the books that have been snuck in to the camp.  Disguised as an activity center for the children on Block 31, the adults are really using it as a secret school, hoping to keep some kind of normalcy for everyone.

Dita and her family were not always at Auschwitz though, when the Nazis first came to her town, her and her family were moved to a ghetto.  She could never imagine the horrors she would witness though when she is moved to Auschwitz.  On a daily basis she observes horrors that are hard to imagine, most especially those at the hands of the Mengele, one of the camp’s leaders who is known for his notorious human testing.  Worst of all, he appears to have his eye on Dita.  What will be Dita’s fate be?

I found this book to be a decent account of the horrors that millions faced during World War II.  I did not realize when I started the book that it was actually the story of a real person, in the end that really made the story hit home.  I found that with the story going back and forth in time, and switching to various people’s points of views, it was easy to get lost.  In the end, this made the story drag in some parts and it really took me a long time to get through this one.  One thing for sure though, Thwaites does a great job of capturing the horrors that people went through, which even though it is hard to read and imagine that this all happened in real life, it gives the reader a first account look of what happened which hopefully be a reminder to us all and keep us from allowing something like this from ever happening again.
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A fascinating book about life in the Holocaust through the eyes of Dita, the librarian of Block 31 in auschwitz. 
The book is based on a true and compelling story. I had trouble putting the book down. Beautifully written, I was Dita as I read, through her tenacity, moments of joy, and stretches of fear and despair.
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I absolutely adored this book, which was both a bit of a delightful surprise and the first step in laying a foundation of affection for everything that comes after this!
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"Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope." The sentence, at the end of The Librarian of Auschwitz's back cover synopsis, is the best way to describe this book. 

Dita is an amazing character because she brings life and light to a dark place. Her sense of honor and duty, despite difficult (understatement) challenges is encouraging. She was a great protagonist to some of history's most horrendous real-life villains. Knowing that Dita was based on an actual Holocaust prisoner just made me appreciate her character even more. 

There were parts of the story that had my heart thumping in my chest with anticipation. Antonio Iturbe did a splendid job of building suspense. When Dr. Mengele made an appearance, I was instantly thrust into worry for Dita. I am not a Holocaust researcher, but I know enough to know that he was a horrible person. While reading The Librarian of Auschwitz, a video popped up on my Facebook feed about the experiments Dr. Mengele performed. It really helped me appreciate how horrific these experiences were, and exactly what Dita was up against if she was discovered. 

Unfortunately, the setting was easily imagined. Maybe it's because of all the images we have seen in history books or through documentaries, but I had no trouble visualizing the horrors young Dita experienced. While the topic could easily become too much for younger readers, this story walks a straight line between two difficult tasks: keeping the story authentic without watering down what really happened.
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Compelling story of a true history that was unknown to me about WWII. I think the writing style was a bit young for teen readers and cones across as more middle grade.
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This beautiful novel is based on the true story of Dita Kraus and her time at Auschwitz. Her role of librarian for the forbidden books is a compelling and heart-wrenching story. Read with a tissue.
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Anything dealing with the Holocaust is tough to read but this book was well written and handles it beautifully. I would 100% recommend.
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The depiction of day to day life in this book was masterful - harrowing and well written.  As a librarian, I appreciated a different look at books and the part they play in history.  A beautiful book.
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Wow!  This novel is a masterpiece, in my opinion.  Iturbe has managed to tell a hard story and teach the reader at the same time.  A sign of an excellent historical novel is when a reader immediately starts to look up the characters and events to find out more.  The people and events of this book are based on Block 31 of Auschwitz- Birkenau, which managed to hide several books and have a school for children even though this was against the rules.  The writing style is lovely, and the excellent translation skills of Lilit Zekulin Thwaites no doubt helped with that.  I have read many, many books about the Holocaust, yet I learned so much more from this one, taking pages and pages of notes of interesting facts and inspirational lines.
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The book was really slow paced, there were some interesting parts that helped the story but otherwise I was really bored throughout the book. The writing style was also really dull. The secret library operation was interesting which is probably what compelled me to push through. All in all I just didn't like this book.
Rating: 2 stars
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I hate writing a negative review about a Holocaust book, because every book about that tragic time is another reminder that it happened and we cannot ever forget it. And honestly, the book might be good. I can't tell because I can't get past the unbelievably atrocious grammar and plot structuring.The author is from Spain and I feel like the translation work could have been equal or better by some of my first-year Spanish students. Or, equally likely, the translator did solid work and the original text was just awful. Tense changes, confusing pronouns, characters thrown in and out of the story like they're being juggled, mercurial moods that leave you with more questions than answers, and a lot of unneeded melodrama that is clumsily foreshadowed. I see the need for this story--what the real Dita did is amazing. I just wish that literally anyone else had told it.
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This is an absolutely amazing book.  I am an avid reader of WWII historical fiction and narrative nonfiction, and I learned so much about Auschwitz that I did not know.  This is a haunting must-read, based on a true story.  I couldn't put it down, and I can't forget the people of Block 31.  This would be an excellent companion to the Diary of Anne Frank. or Night.
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I did not finish The Librarian of Auschwitz because it was too slow. I understand that a lot does not happen in the day-to-day happenings in a concentration camp, but I just could not get invested in the story.
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Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book. The Librarian of Auschwitz tells the story of Dita, a 14 year old from Prague and then the Terezin ghetto, who is given the job of Librarian in the family camp at Auschwitz. In Auschwitz where books considered to be dangerous as weapons, guarding them is a risky task for Dita. However she does this because books and stories can give hope. The Librarian of Auschwitz is a fictional account based on actual events and the real people behind the story made it even more
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Writing a story set during the Holocaust can be really tricky and this one didn't work for me. The tone felt a bit too disconnected for some reason, possibly the translation, but I just didn't get into it.
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This book will take you on a very interesting adventure!
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This was a great novel to read about the people of Auschwitz and how a library was created.   i didn't know about The library or family camp before reading this novel.  The characters of the book, dita  particularly, show such bravery again and again.  My heart ached reading this novel and I will definitely recommend it.
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The Holocaust is always such a difficult topic to read about, but many authors have had great success in bringing this horrific time in history to readers. The Librarian of Auschwitz had such potential, but it just seemed mechanical. I don’t know if the emotion of the time and topic was lost in the translation, or if the writing was simply lacking passion. I rated it a 4 because I truly was moved by Dita and her strength. I appreciate the publisher and NetGalley giving me an opportunity to be an early reader in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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Not only is it wonderful to find a book that I know our students in grade 8 would be excited to choose for their novel study on war, it's exciting to have such a well written book to share with all the grades at the school. We have quite a number of students who are interested in books set in World War 2 so it's a win win. Great book to be able to recommend to all students that also happens to cover a year round interest of all students at the school!
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