Against All Odds: Love in the Holocaust

Based on interviews with a Holocaust survivor, Heather Morris' The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a cinematic tale of love against all odds. It's also proven very popular here at the library. If you're a fan of this shocking yet uplifting novel, I have some ideas for what else to read.

The Wedding in Auschwitz by Erich Frankl is also based on a true story. Remi is not only Jewish, he was on the losing side of the Spanish Civil War when he met and fell in love with Marga. As part of a Nazi publicity stunt, they are briefly reunited and their families let into the camp for the aforementioned wedding. Told from alternating points of view, one gets a portrait of an extraordinary, if fallible, human being.

Hanna Krall's Chasing the King of Hearts is the harrowing story of Izolda and what she is willing to do to save her husband. She escapes the Warsaw ghetto, lives as an Aryan, gets found out, imprisoned, tortured and finally is liberated from the Mauthausen concentration camp. Part of what makes this novel bearable are the matter-of-fact tone and the flash-forwards to Izolda surrounded by grandchildren in Israel. 

Georgia Hunter's debut novel, We Were the Lucky Ones, follows a scattered Jewish family from Poland and their attempts to survive and reunite. Some go to concentration camps, some to Brazil, some the Warsaw ghetto and some to the Polish army. Full of incident and based on the experiences of the author's family, Hunter keeps things moving without ever losing control of her narrative.

And, of course, there is Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List. While Schindler himself is a bit of an enigma in this fact-based novel, his heroism is not really open for debate. Both prisoner/workers and villains are well drawn in this highly descriptive novel that chronicles how, in the guise of a good-time Charley, Schindler saved about 1,300 Jews by employing them in his factories. 

Have more stories of love during the Holocaust? Tell us about them in the comments.

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