Wednesday 24 August 2016

Book ~ "The Seven Year Dress" (2016) Paulette Mahurin

From Goodreads ~ One of the darkest times in human history was the insane design and execution to rid the world of Jews and “undesirables.” 

At the hands of the powerful evil madman Adolf Hitler, families were ripped apart and millions were slaughtered. Persecution, torture, devastation and enduring the unthinkable remained for those who lived. 

This is the story of one woman who lived to tell her story. This is a narrative of how a young beautiful teenager, Helen Stein, and her family were torn asunder, ultimately bringing her to Auschwitz. It was there she suffered heinous indignity at the hands of the SS. It was also there, in that death camp, she encountered compassion, selfless acts of kindness and friendship. 

Myra is a nursing student who is renting a room from Helen, a Holocaust survivor.  After seeing the number tattooed on her arm, Myra is curious to hear Helen's story.  The opportunity arises one day ... and this book is Helen's story, which is based on a true story.

Helen was born in 1919 in Germany.  She had a happy childhood, growing up the youngest of four children.  As Hitler started getting more powerful, they found it hard to believe and tried to carry on with their lives, even after her father lost his job as a lawyer with the government because he was Jewish and restrictions were placed on Jews (they couldn't go to school, businessmen were hassled, etc.).  Things get worse and their Christian friend and neighbour, Max, who was forced to become a SS soldier, hides Helen and her brother, Ben, at their farmhouse with the intent of bringing the rest of her family there for safekeeping.  Helen eventually ends up at Auschwitz concentration camp where her will to live kept her going, despite all the brutality.

Needless to say, this is a heavy story.  We all know about what happened during Hitler's rule but this book provides a lot of insight on how it was day-to-day.  The author obviously did a tremendous amount of research.  As a head's up, there are many descriptions of violence and sexual activity/thoughts.

As an animal lover, I like that profits from the author's book sales go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.

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