Book review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Well hello to you my reader chums! One of the types of books I absolutely adore is when they're set in significant periods of history or based on a true story - and that's what The Librarian of Auschwitz is. After finishing the Tattooist of Auschwitz and loving every word, I was intrigued to see how this book would differ and the insight it would give.

Book review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Plotline

Based on the true story of Dita Kraus, the plotline follows Dita's life as she enters the horrors which are Auschwitz. Dita is only 14 when she gets sent with her parents to the camp and soon becomes the camp's secret librarian, taking charge of the small collection of precious books the prisoners managed to sneak past the guards. Books are a dangerous thing in Auschwitz where the slightest hint that the prisoners have them could lead to any horrific punishment. Dita was in Block 31 which was also known as the family block and where lots of the younger children were housed - and had lessons from teachers who were also other prisoners. In camp 31, the adult prisoners did everything they could to make things normal for the children ad Dita's library was one of the most heartwarming things in there - the children could learn and imagine other things whilst the horrors were going on around them.

The plot follows Dita's life over the few years she's imprisoned in the Auschwitz camp and gives a raw perspective of what life is like, the relationships she makes and how she pulls of the mission off, being the librarian. It's that task which inspires so many - and inspired the book itself.

Characters and relationships

I always say the characters are the best part of a novel as they really bring the entire plot to life. As this book is set in such a time of sheer horror and inhumane activities, the characters really are everything and the emotion that pours out is intense. Dita is like any other teenager in this book, and that's how she comes across - she's honest, pushes the boundaries and wants to have fun - even though she's stuck in the camp. Her bond with everyone is a huge part of the book and expresses how she is as a person.

Her relationship with her mother is incredibly powerful and it seems like the pair of them are two of the strongest beings you'll ever come across and they've always got each other back. I particularly love the relationship between Dita and her best friend Margit as it shows what every teenage friendship is about - and reminds me of what I would do for my best friends. Dita is friends with so many people in the camp from her bunkmates to those who look after her block and it's really insightful to read about as you get a feel of what their life was like. The people in the camp only had each other and that's why relationships are so powerful - and make the retelling of the story so real and important.

Book review: The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Thoughts on the book

This book left me feeling inspired, heartbroken, educated and sad; a whole mixture of emotions - I absolutely loved it. It's one of those books which takes you on a complete journey and is packed with plenty of knowledge that I was left with so much insight into the horrors of Auschwitz. The way it was written was completely honest and gave that first-hand experience to help the reader understand the truth that went on. It also shared so much about humanity - and how people in the camp helped each other. Overall, I'd recommend it to literally everyone, whether you're a reader or not - as it will leave you feeling so moved.

Ending

Considering the book is set in such a tragic time, I didn't know what I'd expect the ending to be, however, it was somewhat of an inspiring and bittersweet ending which left the story the way it should.

I hope you enjoyed this review! Have you read this book?

Thank you for reading <3

2 comments

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