Coming Soon to the LFHS Library

born-survivors-cover-art

Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope (Harper, 2015)

By Wendy Holden

Reviewed by LFHS Library/Media Assistant Denise Mortensen

Born Survivors is a graphic and harrowing, yet inspiring true story about three unrelated young women who fought against all odds to survive Nazi death camps and bring new life into the world.

Priska, Anka and Rachel were young, happily married women with bright futures, living in three different cities when WWII broke out. Their stories begin to overlap in 1944, when the terrified women arrive, naked, freezing, and newly shorn of all bodily hair, on the parade ground of the Auschwitz II-Birkenau concentration camp. Under the leering eyes of SS Officer and physician Dr. Joseph Mengele, the “Angel of Death,” the three women (who were in the early stages of pregnancy) were inspected and sorted into two lines: one for children, elderly, sick or pregnant women, and one for healthy, strong women. When Mengele asked,“Good morning, my pretty lady, are you pregnant?” each one answered, “Nein”; they didn’t know if telling the truth would mean they’d be condemned to the gas chamber.

Though Priska, Anka and Rachel knew nothing of each other during their captivity, they suffered the same deprivations: starvation, thirst, disease, forced labor, horrific living conditions and the constant fear that their “secret” pregnancy would be discovered by the Nazis. Yet miraculously, through their despair and suffering, they gave birth to three babies just days before their camp was liberated. After the war ended, the women counted their losses: their homes, their beloved family heirlooms and photos, their jobs and family businesses. Saddest of all, the women lost their adoring husbands, most of their relatives, and precious years of their lives.

Holocaust books are never easy to read, and this book is no exception. But in the end, Born Survivors is deeply inspiring, as the author recounts how each woman struggles to regain her health, happiness, and hope after the war, while raising their young children as single mothers.

It was not until many years later, when the “babies” were in their sixties, that they learned of each other through the website of their liberators, The 11th Armored Division (The Thunderbolts). The three were tearfully reunited in 2005 at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Mauthausen concentration camp. There, they personally thanked the men who helped liberate them.

Holden leaves you in profound wonder at the courage and indomitable spirit of these three young women. This is a book you won’t put down–and it’s a book about a subject we should never forget.

 

Advertisements

Ipad Air 2s Have Arrived!

img_1926

Our library catalog is now just steps and a keypad touch away! Through a grant from the LFHS Foundation, three new iPad Air 2s were installed throughout the library this summer. You’ll find two of these wall-mounted catalog stations in our fiction section and one in the stacks of our non-fiction section. Now, you’re free to search through our catalog for just the right book for your History project or that new book everyone’s been talking about. We’re always grateful for new technology to help make your life (and your research) much easier!

What’s New in the Library/Media Center?

The Call Me, Ishmael Phone: Connecting LFHS Students with Readers Around the World

img_1897

Have you noticed the “new” old-school phone in our fiction section? No, it’s not a vintage prop that we picked up at a garage sale. It’s actually a high-tech interactive literary device aptly named ‘Call Me, Ishmael.’ Through a grant from the Secretary of State, we are lucky enough to be one of the first libraries or bookstores in the world to have one! What does it do, you ask? Well, if you’re looking for your next great read, simply pick up the phone and press any key to hear voicemail messages about any of the ten books we’ve featured this month. Press #4 to hear reviews of Abe Winner and NY Times bestseller, I am Malala. Press * to get “Ishmael Recommends.”  Next month we’ll be featuring reviews from LFHS teachers. You’ll be fascinated to hear reviews and recommendations from people all over the world–you can even create and upload one yourself. We hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we have! Check it out here:

https://www.youtube.com/user/meishmael

http://callmeishmaelstore.com/