A poignantly illuminating Holocaust memoir.



A Holocaust survivor’s daughter chronicles how her mother used her influence as a prisoner functionary to save lives at Auschwitz.

In 2003, Lee’s mother, Hellinger, printed and sold copies of a memoir that detailed her experiences as a concentration camp survivor. But it was only after she died that Lee fully appreciated the “complexity of my mother’s story,” which Lee amplified through academic research and by drawing on the extensive recorded testimonies that Hellinger—and those who knew her—left behind. Retaining her mother’s first-person perspective throughout, Lee traces Hellinger’s life from her childhood in eastern Czechoslovakia and reveals that her mother showed an early gift for organizing Jewish community projects. She studied to become a teacher and then opened a kindergarten that Nazis allowed her to continue operating after Hitler’s takeover of Czechoslovakia in 1938. In 1942, she was deported to Auschwitz with other Jewish women from her town. Using her organizational skills, Hellinger helped keep order among her fellow inmates and quickly earned the respect of female Nazi guards. Her German captors began to give her small but important prison jobs and then promoted her to prison leadership roles, which put her in direct contact with high-ranking Nazi officials. Lee shows how her mother deftly negotiated her difficult position to keep both herself and many of her fellow inmates alive. When Nazi officials chose sick prisoners to die, she used her influence to spare lives. When new prisoners arrived, she helped them learn “the ways of the camp so they would have the best chance of survival.” Written in part to clarify Hellinger’s true relationship to her captors, this book offers a much-needed perspective on the roles many so-called collaborators played in helping fellow concentration camp inmates survive the Holocaust. “Magda has been misrepresented and judged unfairly by some survivors simply because of the positions she was forced to hold,” writes Lee, who provides a solid corrective.

A poignantly illuminating Holocaust memoir.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982181-22-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 10, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.


Longtime sports journalist Posnanski takes on a project fraught with the possibilities of controversy: ranking the 100 best baseball players of all time.

It would steal the author’s thunder to reveal his No. 1. However, writing about that player, Posnanski notes, “the greatest baseball player is the one who lifts you higher and makes you feel exactly like you did when you fell in love with this crazy game in the first place.” Working backward, his last-but-not-least place is occupied by Japanese outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, whose valiant hitting rivaled Pete Rose’s, mostly a base at a time. As for Rose, who comes in at No. 60, Posnanski writes, “here’s something people don’t often say about the young Pete Rose, but it’s true: The guy was breathtakingly fast.” Thus, in his first pro season, Rose stole 30 bases and hit 30 triples. That he was somewhat of a lout is noted but exaggerated. Posnanski skillfully weaves statistics into the narrative without spilling into geekdom, and he searches baseball history for his candidate pool while combing the records for just the right datum or quote: No. 10 Satchel Paige on No. 15 Josh Gibson: “You look for his weakness, and while you’re looking for it he’s liable to hit 45 home runs.” Several themes emerge, one being racial injustice. As Posnanski notes of “the greatest Negro Leagues players....people tend to talk about them as if there is some doubt about their greatness.” There’s not, as No. 94, Roy Campanella, among many others, illustrates. He was Sicilian, yes, but also Black, then reason enough to banish him to the minors until finally calling him up in 1948. Another significant theme is the importance of fathers in shaping players, from Mickey Mantle to Cal Ripken and even Rose. Posnanski’s account of how the Cy Young Award came about is alone worth the price of admission.

Red meat, and mighty tasty at that, for baseball fans with an appreciation for the past and power of the game.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982180-58-4

Page Count: 880

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: today

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?