Twins in Auschwitz. Blessing or curse?
Genre: Holocaust, non-fiction
Bookxpert Rating: 4.5/5
A huge thank you to the author Eva Mozes Kor, publisher, and tour organizer Anne Cater, for the review copy, and having me on the tour.
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.
THE NAZIS SPARED THEIR LIVES BECAUSE THEY WERE TWINS.
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. Publishing for the first time in the UK in the year that marks the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation, 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 we were twins, we clung to each other. Because we were sisters, we depended on each other. Because we were family, we did not let go.
At Auschwitz, dying was so easy. Surviving was a full-time job.
At an age when my only worry was how much I would need to study to pass the next exam, Eva and Miriam worried about whether or not they would die from the injection they would get today. Or maybe they didn’t even have enough time and energy to think about that because they were so busy protecting their ‘possessions’ from getting stolen by other prisoners and ‘arranging’ for extra food.
I’ve read a few personal accounts of the Holocaust and Auschwitz before this, so I was somewhat prepared for what was to come. What was new to me was the treatment of twins inside Auschwitz, at the hands of the Dr. Mengle, who I had been curious about since I read about him in ‘The Tattooist of Auschwitz’.
Twins were privileged in Auschwitz. They were allowed to keep their hair and clothes, they were to report to the labs for scrutiny, to be experimented on every day, and have unknown substances injected into their bodies. But, the most important thing twins had going for them is that they had each other to fall back on, which I think was a huge advantage that the other regular people didn’t have. Just having someone or something to fight for gives one unimaginable amounts of hope and energy.
When Eva was injected with a terrible injection the authorities were expecting her to die of, she ended up surviving against all odds. It was her twin Miriam secretly sending her food to Eva that probably saved her life. And when Eva came back from the death room to her old bunker to find Miriam seriously ill, she stole potatoes to nurse her back to health.
From that point forward, in my mind, we were always going to walk out of the camp alive. I never permitted fears or doubts to dominate my thoughts….I concentrated all my being on one thing: how to survive one more day in this horrible place.
After their camp was liberated by Soviet soldiers, there’s a statement in the book that would have been funny if it weren’t real. Two eleven-year old girls with no clue of their current whereabouts or how far they were from home had to return home and this is how it has been described by Eva.
At last, for the final time, Miriam and I, hand in hand, walked out of the barracks in matching striped uniforms. Miriam and I had survived Auschwitz. We were eleven years old.
Now we had only one question: How exactly would we get home?
Only. Reaching home after freedom was the easy part. Just goes on to show how terrible captivity was, that such a huge ordeal felt like nothing to them.
Eva’s words and efforts towards making more people aware of the Holocaust, and supporting as many people as she could were heart-warming. Her declaration of forgiving all the perpetrators was very kind, even though it didn’t resonate with me.
This book is recommended to everyone who likes knowing more about the Holocaust, this book showcases one more horrible aspect of it.
About the Author:
EVA MOZES KOR was a resident of Terre Haute, Indiana. Following her survival of Auschwitz, she became a recognised speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics related to the Holocaust and social justice. Eva created the CANDLES organisation in 1985 to locate other Mengele twins and found 122 twins across the world. Ten years later, she opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum to educate the public about the historic event she survived. A community leader, champion of human rights, and tireless educator, Eva has been covered in numerous media outlets and is the subject of a documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele. She passed away in 2019.
Other Stuff :
The Title:- The Twins of Auschwitz- A personal account of a twin about how twins were treated at the infamous Auschwitz during the Holocaust.
Genre :- Non fiction
Final Thoughts :- Read this one to uncover one more horrible aspect of the Holocaust.