Saturday 9 June 2012

52 in 52 - Five Chimneys

I am playing catch up on my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge
This is book four for the year

Recently while on holiday in South Africa I found this book on the mantle that called out to me to be read.

Five Chimneys

Olga Lengyel

  • Format: Paperback
  • Number of Pages: 221
  • Publishers: Academy Chicago Publishers; 2nd edition (October 1, 1995)
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • ISBN:  0897333764
  • Author Olga Lengyel
This book is an account of one of the woman who survived Auschwitz. It was first published two years after World War II ended so I was a little surprised to see that it is still in print and available for purchase from Fishpond and Amazon.  

This book is written in the first person and is a personal account of the author's experience in Auschwitz.  It was the sort of book that held my attention and let my heart witness the heart ache of Auschwitz.  Olga is a trained surgeon who looses her whole family (parents, two sons and her husband) in World War II. In her homeland she dismisses the stories of war as a figment of someones wild imagination and not true until her and her family are shipped off to Auschwitz.

Her descriptions of the processes and environ are stated as matter of fact and without emotion. As you read you follow Olga's downward emotional spiral due to the depraved circumstances and living under the 'Blond Angel" (Irma Grese), until she is recruited in the prisoner resistance underground movement and handed a motive to fight for survival.  She was assigned the role of information gather to speak for those who would loose their lives to the war.

She fulfills her assignment through writing this memoir of World War II.  I found her descriptions rather heart wrenching especially that to do with pregnancy and birth in camp.

This is an excellent book allowing the reader a 'safe' glimpse into life in Auschwitz.  It is not recommend for immature or young audiences due to it's graphic content.

For a thorough breakdown of the book you can head over to Wikipedia.

After the war Olga migrated to America where she started the Olga founded the Memorial Library and Art Collection of Second World War, chartered by the University of the State of New York.  She died in 2001.

"You have done a real service by letting the ones who are now silent and most forgotten speak." - Albert Einstein  

Rate: *****
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Linked to: BW24: RIP Ray Bradbury 

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