The Nazis spared their lives because they were twins.
In the summer of 1944, Eva Mozes Kor and her family arrived at Auschwitz.
Within thirty minutes, they were separated. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, while Eva and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man who became known as the Angel of Death: Dr. Josef Mengele. They were 10 years old.
While twins at Auschwitz were granted the ‘privileges’ of keeping their own clothes and hair, they were also subjected to Mengele’s sadistic medical experiments. They were forced to fight daily for their own survival and many died as a result of the experiments, or from the disease and hunger rife in the concentration camp.
In a narrative told simply, with emotion and astonishing restraint, The Twins of Auschwitz shares the inspirational story of a child’s endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil.
Also included is an epilogue on Eva’s incredible recovery and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and worked toward goals of forgiveness, peace, and the elimination of hatred and prejudice in the world.
The writer Lisa Ronjany Buccier has written this account of Eva Mozes Kor’s imprisonment in Auschwitz with her twin sister in Eva’s voice and it makes for a very moving and affecting read. Eva and her sister were one of Mengele’s twins, subjected to inhuman tests and experiments under the Nazi regime.
It has been written to be read by young adults, though for me it could be easily read by an adult as well and both would find it informative and moving. The true horror is laid bare about the brutal treatment suffered by those in the camps, though the way the writer weaves in the theme of the twins brave fight for survival, stops the reader being overwhelmed by the horrific reality of the genocide pursued within the walls.
Given this I would urge caution as some of the scenes are deeply upsetting and parent’s might want to read it before, if they are worried their children might be badly affected. Having said that, it is written in as sensitive a way as possible given the subject matter. To try and brush over such events would lesson the aim of this book. Reading this book is important, to educate the next generation so such horrors are never repeated. I just feel parent’s may need to be ready to discuss the themes in this book and reading it before hand would help with that.
What comes across is that Eva was a remarkable women and I loved how the writing brought across not only her determination to survive the camps, but not to allow the nightmare to blight her future. This book is as much about her incredible journey as it is about the horrors she and her sister survived in the concentration camps. It talks about her work with young Germans, telling them about what she went through, also telling them that as children, they were not responsible for the sins of previous generations: but that they had a duty to ensure it did not happen again, as we all do! She was a brave and resilient person and this is what this book celebrates.
It is an important read I feel, to act as a memorial to those that died. We owe them homage and remembrance and that should never change.
The writer has a remarkable gift, she gives us Eva’s voice and and you really feel as if your hearing a first hand account, as if Eva had written the book herself. Not once do you feel as if the writer’s views are influencing the narrative. She tells us about events with searing clarity and it makes for a powerful read.
For me as an adult it feels like I will never forget the what happened to Eva and so many others and that is testament to the writers skill.
About the author
Eva Mozes Kor was a resident of Terre Haute, Indiana. Following her survival of Auschwitz, she became a recognised speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics related to the Holocaust and social justice. Eva created the CANDLES organisation in 1985 to locate other Mengele twins and found 122 twins across the world. Ten years later, she opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum to educate the public about the historic event she survived. A community leader, champion of human rights, and tireless educator, Eva has been covered in numerous media outlets and is the subject of a documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele. She passed away in 2019.