By Kelly Bridgewater
On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene’s worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family—sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.
After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.
Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele’s intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz—an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.
Based on a true story, Mario Escobar’s Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity—even when all hope seems lost.
World War II fascinates me. I don't know why. Maybe it is because of the cause for the young men and women who weren't afraid to take up arms and defend our country and the less fortunate. That doesn't happen anymore. Most people whine and don't stand for nothing, but the wrong things. Off my soap box. Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar is an interesting take on a different part of Auschwitz. I for one did not know that there were two of them. I have heard about the horrible things that occurred at Auschwitz. There is even a survivor living in our town who owns a Holocaust museum.
Escobar's writing was vivid and scary. Not in a sick way. But a way to show the truth. I could visualize all the horrible surroundings in Auschwitz II, and the horrible conditions made me sick to my stomach. I couldn't imagine trying to survive with my children in such deplorable conditions. He did a great job at sticking to Helene's perspective throughout the entire novel. He did not jump into the children's perspective or Dr. Mengele's.
The plot was interesting, yet sad. I have read a number of Holocaust stories, and it always makes me sick that anyone would be so cruel to others just because of the way they look or the religion they confess. Escobar's novel moved quite rapidly. I really wanted to see Helene and her five children survive. But I had a suspicion in the back of my mind that something would happen to her twins because of Dr. Mengele's widely known experiments.
Helene, as the heroine, faced a huge issue. She chose the least traveled road and stood up a number of times to Dr. Mengele in the face of adversity. I admired her courage. I feel like I would be meaner and stand up to the guards because it is wrong, but I probably would have been shot too. Helene was a brave and strong character. A true testament to the greatest generation. They were brave and stood up for what they believed while living in hell. I admire Helene for her bravery.
As a word of caution: This is a Holocaust novel that takes place at Auschwitz, so there are a number of graphic scenes that might make some readers uneasy.
Overall, Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar is a heart-wrenching look into how far a mother would go to protect her children. With true bravery, Escobar has written a tale in honor of the mountains of innocent lives lost to the Holocaust. I truly enjoyed this novel. Fans of Joel Roseberg's The Auschwitz Escape, Kate Breslin, and Kristy Cambron's World War II novels should pick up this novel.
I received a complimentary copy of Auschwitz Lullaby by Mario Escobar from Thomas Nelson Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
About the Author:
Mario Escobar Golderos (Madrid, Spain) has a degree in History,
with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written
numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant
Reformation, and religious sects. He is the directs the magazine Nueva
historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist
in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries,
Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different
sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and
colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox
Spaniards and Americans. Books. (Taken from Amazon)
About the Author: