In 1943 Germany, Helene is just about to wake up her children to go to school when a group of policemen break into her house. The policemen want to haul away her gypsy husband and their five children. The police tell Helene that as a German she does not have to go with them, but she decides to share the fate of her family. After convincing her children that they are going off to a vacation place, so as to calm them, the entire family is deported to Auschwitz.
For being German, they are settled in the first barracks of the Gypsy Camp. The living conditions are extremely harsh, but at least she is with her five children. A few days after their arrival, Doctor Mengele comes to pay her a visit, having noticed on her entry card that she is a nurse. He proposes that she direct the camp’s nursery. The facilities would be set up in Barrack 29 and Barrack 31, one of which would be the nursery for newborn infants and the other for children over six years old.
Helene, with the help of two Polish Jewish prisoners and four gypsy mothers, organizes the buildings. Though Mengele provides them with swings, Disney movies, school supplies, and food, the people are living in crowded conditions under extreme conditions. And less than 400 yards away, two gas chambers are exterminating thousands of people daily.
For sixteen months, Helene lives with this reality, desperately trying to find a way to save her children. Auschwitz Lullaby is a story of perseverance, of hope, and of strength in one of the most horrific times in history.
This book tells the story of Helen Hannemann, a German woman married to a man of Romani heritage, who goes with her husband and children to Auschwitz by her own choosing and is asked to organize a school and nursery in the camp. Based on a true person in history, this story was full of chilling details and shows how strong the bond is between a mother and her children as well as how scary humans can be.
The author wastes no time getting into the story, I never felt like there were unnecessary details or that the story dragged. The descriptions of the train ride and the experiences in Auschwitz were so vivid that I almost felt like I was watching a movie.
The fact that this story is based on things that actually happened in history made this story even more disturbing and terrifying. Some of the things that occurred in this book would have seemed unrealistic or far-fetched to me had I not known that they were based on true facts.
It is sad to see how mob mentality and power, along with brainwashing and a lot of satanic influence can change people. Although these types of books are not easy or fun to read, they are very important because history is something we should remember, so that we don’t allow it to repeat itself.
The writing was superb, the translation was very smooth, and the story moved at a great pace. I highly recommend this book!
I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.