Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sala's Gift: My Mother's Holocaust Story - Ann Kirschner

This book shed light on an aspect of the Holocaust that I don't remember reading much about - the Nazi work camps. These camps were really meant to be work camps, and were not set up for the assembly line murder of thousands of people at a time, but were meant to be a source of income for the Nazi empire, as the inmates performed what amounted to slave labor. People did in fact die, and get shipped to death camps, and the conditions were not good by any means, but there was no apparatus for extermination like there was in other camps. 

The author's mother spent five years in seven work camps, and managed to save letters and other personal papers and artifacts at great personal risk. She survived the war and only came forward with this treasure trove of documentation after a health scare, when she gave them to her daughter (the author) and opened up about her experiences. 

The letters and the book that presents them perfectly displays the human side of the Holocaust, showing people's emotions at having a loved one be imprisoned, and be cut off from family and loved ones. It's an important story, and an often overlooked aspect of the Nazi machine. Recommended.

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