Title: The Twins of Auchwitz
Author: Eva Mozes Kor
Published: August 11th 2020
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Non Fiction, History, War
Rating: 4 stars
The heart-breaking and inspiring memoir of a 10-year-old Auschwitz twin
The Nazis spared their lives because they were twins.
In the summer of 1944, Eva Mozes Kor and her family arrived at Auschwitz.
Within thirty minutes, they were separated. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, while Eva and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man who became known as the Angel of Death: Dr. Josef Mengele. They were 10 years old.
While twins at Auschwitz were granted the ‘privileges’ of keeping their own clothes and hair, they were also subjected to Mengele’s sadistic medical experiments. They were forced to fight daily for their own survival and many died as a result of the experiments, or from the disease and hunger rife in the concentration camp.
In a narrative told simply, with emotion and astonishing restraint, The Twins of Auschwitz shares the inspirational story of a child’s endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil.
Also included is an epilogue on Eva’s incredible recovery and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and worked toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.
‘Because of those matching burgundy dresses because we were identical twins so easily spotted in the crowd of grimy, exhausted Jewish prisoners, Miriam and I had been chosen. Soon we would come face to face with Josef Mengele, the Nazi Doctor known as the Angel of Death.’
The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor with Lisa Rojany Buccieri is the emotional true story of a young girl’s devastating experiences in Auschwitz under the experimental work of Doctor Josef Mengele. Written in clear and simple terms, this affective memoir reminds us of the sheer endurance, resilience, determination and resolve of the human soul when faced with unspeakable horrors.
The Twins of Auschwitz unmasks the devastating story of twins Eva and Miriam, who along with their family were taken to Auschwitz. Upon arrival, the family were cruelly separated and the twins never saw their parents again. While the twins were subjected to many harrowing experiments at the hands of Doctor Josef Mengele, the rest of Eva and Miriam’s family were gassed. Eva’s remarkable account exposes the atrocities committed by the medical section of Auschwitz. The twins were given certain allowances in terms of hair and clothing, but this didn’t excuse these children from the horrific experiments performed by Mengele and his team. From disease injections, to starvation and dehydration, the twins were not immune to these daily tests of survival. Eva Mozes Kor recalls the events of this time under Mengele’s care with a factual gaze.
The Twins of Auschwitz is a collaboration piece told through the first-hand testimony of Eva Mozes Kor, in conjunction with Lisa Rojany Buccieri. Relayed over 240 pages, The Twins of Auschwitz includes a prologue, epilogue, afterward, author’s note, biography, picture credits and additional resources. What stems from all these supplementary layers is a full account of Eva and Miriam’s astounding experiences. The format this book takes lends itself to being highly a readable and accessible text. There were times where I felt (small criticism) that it was just a touch too simplistic, so an adult reader may find that this text is best suited for a younger audience. However, the impact of the experiences relayed by the author still cuts deep, offering up a devastating eye witness account of the horrors experienced by the twins imprisoned in Auschwitz.
A significant portion of The Twins of Auschwitz is based on the recovery process. We learn of Eva and Miriam’s eventual escape from Auschwitz, along with the devastating loss that hits home to the twins when they realise they are orphans. The resettlement process is presented to the reader, along with the emotions associated with being a survivor of Auschwitz. The long-term impact of the horrors of these experiences leaves a clear and lasting impression on the audience. What is remarkable about this particular story from Eva Mozes Kor is the fact that Eva chose to go down the forgiveness path, rather than the blame and anger route. Eva’s sense of humanity, peace and acceptance is admirable, given what she endured. This was a touching final message.
If ever you need a powerful reminder of a child’s ability to withstand great adversity with a sense of courage, conviction and endurance, The Twins of Auschwitz delivers this mighty message. I recommend this title to both adult and young adult readers.
The Twins of Auschwitz by Eva Mozes Kor is published by Hachette Australia on August 11th 2020. $32.99.