Cover Image: Surviving the Angel of Death

Surviving the Angel of Death

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

For those who do not know, Dr Mengele conducted cruel experiments on prisoners chosen because they held special interest to him and his research.  Identical twins were, unfortunately, of particular interest to him and Eva and her sister Miriam came to his attention when they, along with their family, arrived at the concentration camp. 

The experiments included exposing his “patients” to diseases, extreme living conditions, and, to suggest that these children were treated better, provided better food and living conditions, is to dismiss the trauma of being separated from family, knowing that death is constantly imminent.  Amputations, deprivation, and more would be performed on one twin, using the “chosen” twin as a sort of control. 

As I read Eva’s memoir, I was both engaged by her story, always curious about whether her sister survived the war or not.  At the same time, it felt as though the author was glossing over facts, blurring the harshest brutality.  For me, this narrative choice was a bit off-putting, as if the memoirist were trying to white wash the horrors.

It wasn’t until I finished the book.  This is what comes of not paying close attention when choosing a book because this memoir is not written for the adult reader.  It’s a young adult memoir.  So glossing over the brutality while not scrutinizing each and every horrific experience makes perfect sense.  There is enough that is not avoided and the reader would have to be callous beyond reason to not be appalled by what personal experiences this woman shares, leaving the rest to the imagination.

The sisters have an indominable will to survive, clinging to one another, fierce in their determination to outlive the horrors of their reality.  These stories must be shared and never forgotten.  Humanity, with its capacity for compassion and kindness is equally capable of a brutality we are inclined to forget because it is shocking even to imagine such things.  And Eva and Miriam have a shared story worth reading and remembering.
Was this review helpful?
The detail and respectful narrating in this memoir is incredible. The author does an incredible job of combining impactful prose with the real impact of the events and it is stunning to read. I recommend to everyone.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and respective publisher for sending me copy for honest review.

Comprehensive ! Splendid !
It was exceptional piece of narration regarding this theme.
As many writers have described thoroughly in Historical fiction and Historical events.
Although, it's quite innovative and true story as the author foreseen and arranged herself.
It was precisely expressed the events and hardship of author and her family.
Was this review helpful?
I like to consider myself an avid reader of Holocaust literature, both fiction and nonfiction. This book, while short, has been among the most impactful books Ive ever read in my life. Eva Mozes Kor was born in pre- WWII Romania, and then the world changed. Eva and her twin, Miriam, along with their parents and older sisters, were transported to Auschwitz, where Eva and Miriam were subjected to horrendous medical testing and the rest of the family perished. This story is one of survival, of hope, of strength even in the most dire circumstances, and most especially- of forgiveness. I just read that Eva died this month, at the ripe old age of 85. May we all live such a long life, with even half of the grace, strength, and humility that Eva lived with.
Was this review helpful?
I read this book over the course of one evening.  I couldn't put it down.  Very well-written and heart-wrenching.  

There is a need, especially now, for more of these books to be published.  As there are fewer and fewer survivors alive to give first hand accounts, their stories need to be recorded and published.  We should never forget.  These stories should never fade from the collective memory of society.  If they do, we are in danger of repeating these atrocities.
Was this review helpful?
Surviving the Angel of Death is an important book as it is the true story of twin girls who had the misfortune to experience the horrors of Auschwitz, survive, and even come to embrace forgiveness for the Nazis. I would recommend this one for anyone wanting to learn more about the Holocaust through a firsthand account.
Was this review helpful?
This book is absolutely fantastic. I had my rhetoric students read this as their book in common last semester. The students engaged really well with the text. Excellent writing and narrative.
Was this review helpful?
I am glad more survivors are coming forward to write their stories. Each of their books is so individual in their experience, not just a crowd all experiencing the same atrocities.Does that make sense? Each person survived in their own desperate way, under different horrendous circumstances. This book should be added to school assignments. I think 5th grade up could probably handle the book. It should be another option along side Night and Diary of a Young Girl. All are different views of same Hell.
Was this review helpful?
Stories of Auschwitz survivors are always so strong and painful that can only have an impact on you. In this case, Eva and her sister Miriam were two of Mengele's twins, children that suffered greatly of a mad man's experiments. 
All the atrocities they had to go through, when they found themselves in the concentration camp of Birkenau were more than a child can handle. Especially when they had no one else from their family around to look after them. They had lost touch of their parents and sisters as soon as the set foot on the train platform. Mengele picked his patients first and twins had priority for his monstrous job.
This book will break your heart, but it will also remind you that you have to fight for your existence and your dreams. To quote the author, the learning one can get out of this memoir is:
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.
Was this review helpful?
In a way, this is a hard book to review. Eva Mozes Kor’s story is amazing. Her will to survive, to keep herself and her sister alive, at 10 years-old(!) is extraordinary. If it were fiction, I would say that it is completely unbelievable. The entire thing. Rounding up entire populations for incarceration or elimination? Twins saved by a deranged doctor intent on performing dubious medical experiments on them? This is the stuff of third-rate dystopian fiction. But it isn’t fiction. This is a true account of what humans can do to other humans. Remembering that Kor’s account, and the innumerable other holocaust accounts, are real is what’s meant when we say never forget.

According to the epilogue, Surviving the Angel of Death is a YA version of Kor’s previous memoir, Echoes from Auschwitz. To me, it didn’t feel “YA” while I was reading it. The writing and organization of the book and clear and good, though maybe not stylistically outstanding. Kor felt that getting her story into younger hands was important. After her marriage and immigration to the US, she relates that it was difficult to tell her story because most people didn’t really have a frame of reference for the holocaust. It wasn’t until the 1978 TV miniseries The Holocaust that she had a basis from which to speak. To me, it seems strange that people might not know, but even I, who read The Diary of Anne Frank and Elie Wiesel’s Night in school, don’t know all the stories.

I read Surviving the Angel of Death right after finishing a book called The Coddling of the American Mind. The authors of that book present three fallacies that they believe people (Americans especially) are falling victim to. One of these fallacies is “the world is a battle between good people and evil people.” It would be easy to read Eva Mozes Kor’s memoir and say, “That isn’t a fallacy. Look at the evil she overcame!” But the antidote to the good/evil fallacy is to remember that we have everything in common as humans.

"In 1993 I traveled to Germany and met with a Nazi doctor from Auschwitz, Dr. Münch. Surprisingly, he was very kind to me. Even more surprising, I found I liked him."
    Eva Mozes Kor, Surviving the Angel of Death, pg 131

That Eza Mozes Kor was able to forgive what had been done to her, that she found peace in that forgiveness, is maybe what shouldn’t be the most extraordinary thing of all.
Was this review helpful?
Quick read. Probably best for someone with limited experience with holocaust literature. This one left me wanting so much more.  I expected to read about the horrors imposed by Josef Mengele but this story just glazed over it.
Was this review helpful?
I thought this book was excellent.  It was very detailed and the story made you feel like you were actually there.  This is a bit of history that shouldn't be forgotten.
Was this review helpful?
Surviving the Angel of Death is one of the few Holocaust books that I've read. Its a shocking  account, and is made even more horrific being lived through the eyes of 10 year old.

The writing is honest and straightforward with no feeling of events being romanticized 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.

I was, enraged, saddened and had full admiration for Eva' history teaches us all sort of things and this book should be on the reading list of all schools.
Was this review helpful?
"At Auschwitz dying was so easy. Surviving was a fulltime job. We gave them our blood, our bodies, our pride, our dignity, and in turn, they let us live one more day." 

There is something to be said about this book; I read it several years ago and it still remains in my mind. Mengele was a monster, truly. Even if his intentions had been to learn, there were humane ways to go about it. Sadly, he was a Nazi and his subjects didn't matter. They had no rights, they had no say. He tested upon them and did so carelessly. 

"I was given five injections. That evening I developed an extremely high fever. I was trembling. My arms and my legs were swollen, huge size. Mengele and Dr. Konig and three other doctors came in the next morning. They looked at my fever chart, and Dr. Mengele said, laughingly, 'Too bad, she is so young. She has only two weeks to live ..'"

Sometimes a review is long and it doesn't need to be. This book is one everyone should read if possible. I cried, I was filled with joy and heartbreak..the Holocaust survivors who have written their stories or spoken them...I am thankful for their courage and endurance, in that they can reach inside of themselves and go back to that place in their lives and relive it so that no one forgets. And we shouldn't forget because it shouldn't happen again. (Yet, it does in other countries and will likely continue for all time.)

I don't want to reveal anything for this because, at 175 pages, you can finish it within the day if you wanted and have the time. Eva writes honestly and with a great deal of honesty and love. Her candor or us refreshing an there is nothing pretentious about her. You'll love her and feel for her.

And you will remember her because this is that sort of story. 

Read, learn, share and remember.
Was this review helpful?
★★★★☆½ rounded up because the novel went by quickly and was rather short but still managed to pack so much information!
Was this review helpful?
This is a short book, but an amazing account of Eva’s drive to survive Auschwitz, and to look after her twin sister Miriam. Both were ripped from the rest of their family and forced to endure the experiments of Dr Mengele.

The book is written for a young adult audience, so is simple to follow, yet gives a detailed and harrowing account of the conditions and experiments the girls had to survive. We know from the start that they escape as it is Eva’s memoir, but there are still points in the book when the obstacles seemed insurmountable and death was imminent. However against the odds, Eva works to keep both girls alive and they are freed. The account of how they adjusted to life after the concentration camp is also sobering, as life continued to be a challenge. This book will keep me thinking for a long time. 

This review is based on a free copy of the book that I received from NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I have read many books about the Holocaust but this is the first regarding the experiments on twins. Eva's story is one that needs to be shared far and wide. As children, herself and her twin sister Miriam arrived at Auschwitz with her family. At only 10 years old they were separated from their mother at the request of Mengle a sadistic scientist. The two young girls were routinely injected with diseases, had blood drawn all while struggling to survive. 

The courage and determination that Eva had at such as young age is what kept her and her sister alive. Of course, there were times that without outside help the girls would have surely died. This was an important reading experience but it is heartbreaking to think of such vulnerable children being treated this way. 

An important read and this got 5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Read this one in one sitting. Have watched a number of documentaries about Eva Kor so I thought I knew what to expect, but this was a real emotional read. Thoroughly enjoyed it and won't be forgetting about it for quite some time. Highly recommend for history fans and readers of non-ficiton
Was this review helpful?
Surviving the Angel of Death The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri tells the point of view of ten year old Eva and her experience as a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz with her twin sister Miriam. Dr. Mengele himself selected them because they were twins and through his sadistic medical experiments, he wanted to know the reason how twins came to be. He wanted to crack the code and didn’t care who lived or died to get it. Eva struggled daily to keep herself and twin sister alive. They only had each other, the rest of their family never survived Auschwitz. They got free but it took years for their recovery. Even then, the medical experiments ruined their lives. Miriam’s kidneys never grew past being ten years old. This is an excellent book about a chapter in the Holocaust that I’ve never really knew about. It’s a heart breaking account, but it shows how Eva and Miriam survived and hoped with each other. Its necessary read for everyone.
Was this review helpful?
I was hoping for more from this book but that's not to say it was bad. It just wasn't as good as some other Holocaust titles out there.
Was this review helpful?