The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe earned the first five star rating from me in a while. This book is so hauntingly beautiful. It novelizes the brave actions of Dita Krauz and other Holocaust victims who wanted to continue the education of children in some of the worst conditions. Dita, just 14 during her time at Auschwitz, became the keeper of the forbidden books the teachers at the family camp used for their lessons.
Some reviews I read of this book says it can be difficult to follow when listening to the audiobook. I read a physical copy and didn’t have this problem. The book does jump around a bit with flashbacks into Dita’s past and between other people, but I think this mimics the broken part humanity can take when it turns from God.
Some quotes from the book I found powerful include:
“It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books, and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less somber times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns.”
“We look at the Nazis with their modern weaponry and their shiny uniforms, and we think they are powerful, invincible even. Don’t be deceived: There is nothing inside those shiny uniforms. They’re just an outer shell. They’re nothing. We’re not interested in shining on the outside. We want to shine on the inside. That’s what will give us victory in the end. Our strength isn’t in uniforms — it’s in faith, pride, and determination.”
“Our hatred is a victory for them.”
“The Nazis can strip us of our homes, our belongings, our clothes, and even our hair, but no matter how much they take away from us, they can’t remove our hope. It’s ours. We can’t lose it.”