What a powerful book to follow The Tattooist of Auschwitz which is equally as powerful. We got to know a little about Cilka in The Tattooist story…how she is forced to sleep with the enemy and is friends with the main character Gita. Unfortunately after her time at Auschwitz, Cilka is branded a spy and prostitute of the enemy by the Soviet Agency and sentenced to 15 years hard labor at Vorkuta Gulag, a labor camp.
While this camp is a step up from Auschwitz, it’s still awful. The men come at night and take whatever they want from the terrified women, they are hauling coal in all kinds of weather, the winters are harsh, and there is never enough food or heat. Always looking out for others, Cilka does her best to save her extra rations of food when she gets a job at the on site hospital. Fortunately she is a fast learner, and earns the respect of one of the female doctors which turns out to be everything in the end.
This is a story of how one woman was sent to hell twice… and survived. A must read clocking in at 401 pages. While that does seem long, I felt this was a fast paced read. Cilka’s bravery and willingness to stand up to the enemy no matter the cost makes her one of the most memorable characters I have ever read about.
Thank you St. Martin’s Press for the #gifted copy! If you loved The Tattooist, don’t miss out on this one!
Book Rating: 5/5
Wine Pairing: Ménage à Trois Midnight
In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.
Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis–with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.