Cover Image: The Sisters of Auschwitz

The Sisters of Auschwitz

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"The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Jewish Sisters' Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory" by Roxane van Iperen
Release Date: 8.31.2021

Jenny and Lien Brilleslipjer live in Amsterdam and join the resistance to fight the Nazi occupiers.  The sisters help save one others, even though the risk is high.  They hide people in a safehouse in the woods, called "The High Nest."

This becomes one of the most important Jewish safehouses in the country, serving a hiding place and underground center for the resistance and artists.  

The house and its occupants are betrayed, and the sisters and their families are sent on the last train to Auschwitz, which also has Anne Frank and her family on board.  

What a story of heroism and bravery!  The author spent much time researching this heartbreaking story, and their lives should be honored.  

Thank you to @netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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When I began to read this book, it felt slow. I reminded myself that I was reading nonfiction and kept going. I’m so glad I did. Janny and Lien are Dutch sisters who recognized the Nazi invasion in the Netherlands for what it was and determined to do everything they could to survive and help others survive. Read this book to see how one family attempted to survive the Holocaust. Be prepared. It is gut wrenching and heartbreaking. It is also inspiring. How many of us would risk everything for others?

This book is a translation. There were times when I felt the narrative was awkward. Word choice and order was at times confusing, but overall well done. I will be highly recommending this book to all who are interested in WWII history.  

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.
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The Sisters of Auschwitz by Roxane van Iperen ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Thank you to @harperperennial and @netgalley for this copy!

WWII is an era of history I am fascinated with. I’ve read many books - both nonfiction and historical fiction set in this time period. I feel that all these stories deserve to be told and all the heroes should be recognized for whatever act of bravery or defiance they did. When I read the description of this book, I didn’t hesitate to request this title. Two sisters who were part of the resistance with a link to Anne Frank - I was very intrigued.

Let me start with - this book is meticulously researched. It is clear the author has spent significant time studying this story. However, at times I felt that the author included every tidbit they ever learned in this book. Also, I was hoping to get more of the sisters, but I didn’t feel like we really got to them until the second half of the book. The first half was spent introducing (what felt like) everyone in the Netherlands. Finally, I thought the connection to the Frank family was going to be much stronger. However, that was such a small part in the story that I’m not sure it should be mentioned in the description.

Overall, these sisters’ stories deserve to be told, and the author did a good job telling it. While meticulously researched, the research isn’t providing anything new to what’s already out there on this topic. This is just one more example of resiliency and bravery that deserves to be read about.
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I love books that take place during the time period. This book is really well written; it’s heart breaking at times but also hopeful. The sisters bound is uncanny.  I highly recommend this book if you like books about WWII.
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This epic novel reads as though written by someone who is actually living through the horror of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, of the round ups of the Jews, of the Resistance, and  the long horror of the Camps. Nothing about this novel is maudlin, and yet it brings the reader to tears. A terrifyingly beautiful piece of writing.
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The two Brilleslijper sisters were extremely brave and resourceful during the German occupation of Amsterdam and the Netherlands. Janny had become political even during the Spanish Civil War. They are both friends with members of the Dutch Communist Party and Lientje falls in love with a German man who has fled his country in disgust and despair. They help to shelter other people when the family is forced to flee into the country. Eventually they are caught and sent to Auschwitz and then moved to Bergen-Belsen. The author includes their brother Joap and their circle of allies from all walks of life. The horrible facts of daily living in the Netherlands when there was so much betrayal and fear is hard reading. The author states that over 76% population of Jewish people were murdered. This number does not include the Dutch resisters to the Nazi occupation and some compassionate Dutch who tried to shelter people who were killed. She includes brief post-war information about  people and a bibliography. I greatly admired many people in this book and took many notes to find out more, but the writing flow is awkward..
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Bittersweet read that pretty much had me crying from page one. As novels about this point in history are want to to do. Though it was hard to read I am glad that I read it.
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I found this to be a tough read.. But I would like to state that these stories of the war need to be read generation after generation. They touch the core. I loved the idea od resilience, selfishness and bravery of the many people and of the jews thats been depicted. Written in a beautiful and expressive way..

Absolutely heart wrenching story and very inspirational to learn how people have live through this times. If you love historical fiction then this book may interest you. Though the plot isnt anything new.
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This is a well written piece of history about two Jewish sisters living in the Netherlands during WWII, complete with an Anne Frank connection. Lien and Janny grew up in Amsterdam to Jewish parents. Both became romantically involved with non-Jewish men, and, when the Nazis invaded, became involved in the resistance and efforts to save the Jewish population. Eventually, the family has to go into hiding, settling in a country house called The High Nest. They live there in quasi-hiding (both sisters and their spouses have false papers that state they are Aryan), while their house is used as both a hiding place, resistance safe house, and stop for those travelling between hiding places. In 1944, they are betrayed and arrested. Lien and Janny are sent to Westerbork with their parents, brother, and others from their hiding place. From there they are sent to Auschwitz on the last train to leave Westerbork for Auschwitz, along with the Frank family (who were arrested around the same time). Lien and Janny stay together in Auschwitz, and are then sent to Bergen-Belsen, where conditions are even worse.  It's hard to summarize the last third of this book, when the sisters are in the camps, because how can you reduce that much human suffering to just a few sentences?

I admit that one of the reasons I picked up this book was the Frank connection, but I hesitate to highlight it during this review because these sisters deserve to have their story told, even if they had never crossed paths with Anne Frank. But, if that is what gets people to pick up this book, so be it- they knew Anne Frank in the camps and were with her in her last weeks.

But that isn't why you should read this book. You should read this book to learn about two women who worked to save their fellow humans when they knew the stakes were life and death, when they knew they risked the lives of their families and children. You should read this book to understand how the Jews of the Netherlands became trapped in the Nazi net and fought to escape. You should read this book to know that people resisted, even if we don't know their names. You should read this book for the personal story of how one family lived, and died, during the Holocaust.
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