Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

I almost didn't read this one but I made myself. I never like reading or watching war stories and when I read this was based in Nazi Germany in a concentration camp, I didn't want to go there. But I did go there because as painful as it is to read about, I have to remember that people lived through this, people who are still alive now lived through this. And I don't I owe them to not let their horrific ordeal be forgotten?

I think this book is historical fiction - based in history but seen through the eyes of a fictional character. Rose Justice is a very young girl from Pennsylvania who wanted nothing more than to enter World War II as a pilot to help out. She ended up in London piloting planes around for the forces. She's not in the military. She's a civilian pilot. But even civilians, Americans to boot, are up for grabs if they land in the wrong place.

Rose ends up at Ravensbruck, a terrible and notorious women's concentration camp. The story here is told through Rose's writings, poems and in her journal as she tries to come to terms with what happened to her. She was held for 6 months before escaping and even the stories of those 6 months were horrible. A good deal of the story focuses on the Rabbits, young girls who were used as medical experiments by the Nazis, and how the other prisoners banded together to protect them.

Some portions were difficult to read but I had to remember that Rose is a young woman, a teenager when this all started. So her flights of fancy could be forgiven. She was incredibly lucky throughout her imprisonment. Somehow she always fell into the right hands and circumstances which is obviously not true for the millions of other prisoners. But her luck allowed Rose to tell her story. And with that, allowed the author to tell the story of Ravensbruck and the Rabbits.

I need to read more like this. We don't want history repeating itself.

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