The Librarian of Auschwitz

The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe lives at the intersection of two of my favorite topics: books about loving books and books about The Holocaust. (I wrestled with the love of the latter in this post.) Add in that it’s based on a true story, and it’s near perfect for me.

I loved this book. It wasn’t a light or easy read, but given that there’s a foreword written by the woman the main character is based on, I felt better about jumping in.

There are beautiful lines about the importance of art in the midst of unimaginable tragedy. During this time, books were banned but the main character sees their value and risks her life to run a library. Though I know she survives, I was on the edge of my seat the entire book.

The book includes many other well-written characters that were based on real people, and throughout the book and in the afterword you learn what really happened to them, which leaves no annoying loose ends.

I highly recommend this book, but do warn about the weight of it. Obviously the subject matter itself is awful, but there are details I had never read before (or maybe I had and blocked them out). They are important because they are true and shed light on the atrocities that did happen.

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