The Storyteller of Auschwitz⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author: Siobhan Curham


7/1/20232 min read

Book Blurb: Auschwitz, 1942. ‘When this is all over, you will be able to tell the world what they did to us.’ The Nazis have already ended so many stories way too soon, but can a person truly die if their story lives on? I have to survive. The world needs to know what’s happening here…

Stumbling through the terrifying wrought iron gates of Auschwitz, Jewish author Etty Weil longs for her apartment overlooking the Seine, where she used to laugh with friends, her shelves full of records and her beloved typewriter by the wide window. Now she looks on in horror as a young girl, Danielle , is ruthlessly torn apart from her sobbing mother. Etty has always longed for the warm embrace of and trapped inside the maze of barbed wire, she takes fourteen-year-old Danielle under her wing and soon comes to cherish her like a sister.

Every evening, Etty tells Danielle stories, building a beautiful world of imagination and hope for Danielle to escape into. Soon, Etty realises that the other women in their cramped hut are listening too. She encourages them to share their lives, to talk about their darling children running around clutching their favourite toys, the love affairs they once had and the beloved family they’ve already lost. Etty must survive this terrible if only to keep her promise to these brave women that their stories will not be forgotten.

But the more hope Etty gives Danielle, the more chances the young girl begins to take with her life, rebelling against the brutal SS guards and forcing Etty to protect her. And one day, Danielle goes too far…

Review: I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you, NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC.

A beautiful story about a best-selling Author (Etty) staged in Paris during WWII. Her life changes drastically because she is Jewish. Her books won't be published and slowly the identity of her and other Jews are taken away. When she is arrested and sent to Auschwitz, the horror kicks in. The only thing she and the women in the barracks can do is tell stories. The stories give hope and an escape of the cruelties even if it is for a little moment. Etty promises the women that when this horrible war ends, their stories will not be forgotten.

This was a very powerful read. I'm a bit stunned by some comments that Etty (and other Jewish people) were naive and ignorant. I think the writer actually did a great job here. Let's not forget that when the war started, nobody actually knew what was going to happen. Things slowly moved in and the moment people became aware of what was going on, it was too late. If the Jewish community knew about the camps, they wouldn't have stayed. Before somebody bites my head off, my grandfather was in a camp and his stories always stayed with me, especially the ‘not knowing how bad it would be,’ part. This is one of the first books I have read that the characters acted like that. This book will take you on a journey of suffering, pain, and horrific events, but it's also a journey of resilience, bravery, love and the power of stories. There were plenty of moments when I had to put the book down for a second as the emotions could become pretty raw. A must-read, but be aware that it contains some graphic moments.