disclosure: we were sent the book mentioned for the purpose of review
As a child, I read the Diary of Anne Frank and it had a profound effect on me, and I’ve felt the importance of learning more about those caught up in the atrocities of World War Two ever since. It’s a period of history that I strongly believe we should never forget and the recently published Never Forget Your Name: The Children of Auschwitz by Alwin Meyer just reinforces that fact.
Never Forget Your Name: The Children of Auschwitz pulls together the experiences of thirty-one children from across Europe, who through no fault of their own would end up in concentration camps, and ultimately behind the barbed wire fences of Auschwitz with their families.
Of the 232,000 children and juveniles who were deported to Auschwitz, only 750 were liberated from the death camp at the end of January 1945. Most of them were under 15 years of age. It’s a staggering fact and this book, recounting the stories of just a handful of those children has taken decades of research to bring together into this 512-page hardback book.
You cannot fail but to be moved to tears but the human suffering within these pages, families are torn apart, murdered and treated as if their lives were totally worthless. Some children were so young when they lost their families that they couldn’t remember their names or where they’d come from. Things we take for granted. Once liberated, these survivors had to adjust to a world that many had no memory of at all, a very few reconnected with parents who they had believed to be dead and could barely remember.
This book is remarkable and heartbreaking and reminds me that even now we all have so much to learn about man’s inhumanity to man, o actually, to children. How could anyone do this to children? Never Forget Your Name: The Children of Auschwitz is not an easy read, and it shouldn’t be. But it should be read, these stories should be told and these names should never be forgotten by any of us.
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