The Dressmakers of Auschwitz: The True Story of the Women Who Sewed to Survive

Lucy Adlington. Harper, $17.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-303093-0
Adlington (The Red Ribbon) presents the moving story of an obscure, but especially cruel, story from the Holocaust—the experiences of women who tried to survive the rigors and murderous violence of a Nazi death camp by making use of their talent for making fancy clothes. Hedwig Höss, whose husband Rudolf was in charge of Auschwitz, shared the Nazi elite’s desire to wear attractive garments. That led her to create a clothing workshop in the camp, comprised of Jewish and non-Jewish Communist seamstresses, who created beautiful fashions “for the very people who despised them as subversives and subhuman.” The clothing workers’ experiences are vividly recreated through the author’s extensive research, including interviews with Bracha Kohut, the last surviving dressmaker. Kohut, along with her colleagues, had been torn from their normal lives by the Nazis, separated from their loved ones, and forced to witness sadistic acts of cruelty. They persevered in spite of those torments, struggling to employ their needles, thread, and fabric to stay alive one day at a time, while fearing execution if a design did not sufficiently please their “clients.” Even those who feel that they’ve read enough survivor accounts will find themselves surprised and affected. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/06/2021
Genre: Religion
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-0-06-303094-7
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-06-303092-3
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-0-06-311888-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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