With unique personal photographs and documents supporting the text, this eyewitness narrative covers little-known topics and provides a revealing historical account of the period. The book helps clarify and render accessible the complexities and contradictions of conflict and genocide in wartime Yugoslavia.
Eastern Europe, 1944: Three women believe they are pregnant, but are torn from their husbands before they can be certain. Rachel is sent to Auschwitz, unaware that her husband has been shot. Priska and her husband travel there together, but are immediately separated. Also at Auschwitz, Anka hopes in vain to be reunited with her husband. With the rest of their families gassed, these young wives are determined to hold on to all they have left—their lives, and those of their unborn babies. Having concealed their condition from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, they are forced to work and almost starved to death, living in daily fear of their pregnancies being detected by the SS.
In April 1945, as the Allies close in, Priska gives birth. She and her baby, along with Anka, Rachel, and the remaining inmates, are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp on a hellish seventeen-day train journey. Rachel gives birth on the train, and Anka at the camp gates. All believe they will die, but then a miracle occurs. The gas chamber runs out of Zyklon-B, and as the Allied troops near, the SS flee. Against all odds, the three mothers and their newborns survive their treacherous journey to freedom.
On the seventieth anniversary of Mauthausen’s liberation from the Nazis by American soldiers, renowned biographer Wendy Holden recounts this extraordinary story of three children united by their mothers’ unbelievable—yet ultimately successful—fight for survival.
When Auschwitz was liberated, Eva and Fritzi began the long journey home. They searched desperately for Eva's father and brother, from whom they had been separated. The news came some months later. Tragically, both men had been killed.
Before the war, in Amsterdam, Eva had become friendly with a young girl called Anne Frank. Though their fates were very different, Eva's life was set to be entwined with her friend's for ever more, after her mother Fritzi married Anne's father Otto Frank in 1953.
This is a searingly honest account of how an ordinary person survived the Holocaust. Eva's memories and descriptions are heartbreakingly clear, her account brings the horror as close as it can possibly be.
But this is also an exploration of what happened next, of Eva's struggle to live with herself after the war and to continue the work of her step-father Otto, ensuring that the legacy of Anne Frank is never forgotten.