The Librarian of Auschwitz
By Antonio Iturbe
Godwin Books, 2017. 423 pages. Young Adult
Fourteen-year-old Dita was sent to Auschwitz with her family when Nazis took over Prague. They were placed in the “Family Camp,” built under the pretense that Auschwitz wasn’t actually an extermination camp. In the children’s block Fredy Hirsch ran a small school to help bring a sense of normality to the children’s lives. When Dita becomes one of his assistants she is honored to be chosen to protect a secret stash of books. However, life is hard and brutal in the camp and Dita must use all of her ingenuity to protect the books, her friends, and her family.
This book is only semi-fictional and is based on real people and events. Dita is clever and observant, and her story is heartbreaking and powerful. Much has already been written about the struggle to survive in Nazi concentration camps, but this takes a relatively unknown story and brings it to light. I would easily recommend this if you liked Markus Zusak’s THE BOOK THIEF, Elie Wiesel’s NIGHT, or THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK.