Cilka's Journeyby Published 01 Oct 2019
|Publisher||St. Martin's Press|
From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, comes the new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.
Her beauty saved her life - and condemned her.
Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.
After liberation, Cilka is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to Siberia. But what choice did she have? And where did the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when still a child?
In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.
Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.
"Cilka's Journey" Reviews
The sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
This is the story of Cilka, which is based on the real life of Cecília Kováčová. She was a 16 year old character from book #1 The Tattooist of Auschwitz . She was a forced sex slave of a Nazi SS commandant.
I read this one as a fictional story as I'm not sure which parts are factual. Either way, her story is gripping, compelling and utterly heartbreaking. I loved Cilka's strength and courage. Every day was a struggle with new obstacles and little hope, but her instinct for survival was strong.
We follow Cilka as she is charged as a collaborator by the Russian government. She is sent to the gulags in Siberia. It was hard to read about how dire and horrific the prisoners were treated. I was invested in her story and pulling for her to make it through.
A compelling historical fiction novel with a character who felt very "real" to me and one I'll remember.
Thanks to NG and the publisher for my review copy. OUT October 1, 2019
The Year is 1942 and Cilka is only sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. She was a beautiful girl. She was raped and sexually abused by two S.S. Officers. She does whatever she has to do, to stay alive and survive.
Then she is free from the concentration camps but then she is condemned. She is charged with sleeping with the enemy and is then sent to Siberian Prison Camp for 15 years. She faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards.
She then becomes a nurse and has a little bit of freedom. She begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.
I loved loved loved this book. This is a historical novel and there are some graphic scenes that are dark. This book was a lot darker than The Tattooist of Auschwitz. This book can be read as a standalone. It is an emotional read. The S.S. Officers are monsters, they kill and hurt human beings. This is a terrible story but it also is a story of hope and courage. Cilka is so brave.
I really did love this story. This story is an emotional read, but I also found it uplifting at times.
The Holocaust was horrific and couldn't believe all the awful things that happened in the concentration camp and the Siberian prison camp was just as bad.
Heather Morris really did an amazing job on the characters. my favorite character was Cilia but I also loved Josie too. All the characters were very well done and made this novel come alive.
I felt so sad for Cilka, and everything she went through. .There are some scenes that are graphic but this is the Holocaust, a horrifying time.
I could not put this book down. It was a page turner. I loved the writing style. I am really loving historical novels more and more because I think they are needed because we need to remember what happened so that history isn't forgotten. This is an unforgettable story that will stay with me for a long time.
I want to thank Jordan, St. Martin's Press and Heather Morris for the ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.
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”Memories of her old life have faded, become blurred. At some point it became too painful to remember that life with her family, in Bardejov, existed.”
When faced with the choice between blind obedience to those in charge or death, Cilka chooses life, but never really fully commits to either choice, as physically, emotionally and mentally drained as she is. Still, there is something inside her that fights to live even when she seems to have nothing left to give.
”The rules change day to day here, she thinks. And though this camp has a different purpose—to get them to work for Russia, rather than killing them for being Jewish—in these conditions, and with constant rape, always the threat of violence and the “hole,” Cilka can see that she has gone from one cruel, inhuman place to another.”
Still a teenager when she was taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where she was first used as a tool for the pleasure of men for the three years she was there. And then released from the Nazis, she ends up in Siberia. In the Vorkutlag or Vorkuta Gulag labor camp located in Siberia, where she’s been charged with collusion – for doing what she had been forced to do by the men in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Men and women worked hard to avoid the punishment meted out to ones who dared pause in their labor, working to the point of collapsing, occasionally dropping dead from the work, or lack of food.
”What you are doing, Cilka, is the only form of resistance you have—staying alive.”
Cilka’s story is a somewhat fictionalized account of Cilka, a real woman who befriended Lale Sokolov, also a real person, in the author’s The Tattooist of Auschwitz. I am in awe of Cilka, her story, her persistence and inner strength that helped her survive what seems at every twist and turn to be unendurable – and yet – survive she must.
Pub Date: 01 Oct 2019
Many thanks for the ARC provided by St. Martin’s Press
***The Tattooist of Auschwitz #2!!!***
Having survived being the enslaved mistress of a powerful Nazi leader at Auschwitz, the story begins with Cilka charged as a collaborator, loaded on a train with other women, and taken to the now-notorious Vorkuta Gulag in 1945. After arriving at the work camp, her and the other women in her “hut” battle for trust, hope, and forgiveness. She finds herself, yet again, in a position where survival trumps ethics. Cilka grasps for a greater purpose after leaving behind her dark past and quickly finds herself in a position to work within the confines of the Gulag hospital. She struggles to justify some of the hospital policies but also questions her own intentions. Having discerned hope as only a barren illusion, Cilka takes the reader on a haunting and remarkable journey.
"Again, as she has experienced over and over in her young life, she finds herself with two choices, one, the narrow path opening up in front of her, the other, death."
Cilka’s account specifically centers around the treatment of women in a Soviet Gulag. The brutality, rape, and undernourishment are intense but are an essential part of the gulag experience for the women who were imprisoned there. Vorkuta Gulag resonated in maltreatment and violence, and the details are richly accounted for in this novel.
Although this is the second novel for The Tattooist of Auschwitz, it easily works as a standalone. This account is only about Cilka and what happens to Cilka after being labelled as a "Nazi collaborator" having left Auschwitz. The author provides the background about what happened to Cilka very early on. Throughout the novel, flashbacks spanning from 1939-1945 give additional information about Cilka that was not included in the first novel, and each flashback is beautifully coated in irony. The location and date are noted above the flashbacks and each flashback is indicated by a page break and written in italics.
A must read because not enough is written about the Gulags! I could not put this one down. The notes from Heather Morris at the end are a must. But do not read them before because they contain spoilers.
HIGHLY recommend to fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and historical fiction. This one is much darker than The Tattooist, but equally critical and a story that needs to be heard.
Many thanks to St. Martin's Press, Heather Morris, and NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
For more about the Gulags:
Disturbing Gulag Photos
A wonderful book about one woman's amazing tale, Cilka's Journey is a book where you struggle to come to terms with man's inhumanity to man. I mean, how much can one woman go through in one lifetime? Based on the true story of Cecilia Klein, first incarcerated in Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, when the camp is finally freed by the allies she finds herself arrested for collaboration with the Nazis, and sent to a Soviet gulag above the Arctic Circle.
Cilka was obviously an extraordinary young woman, only sixteen when first sent to Auschwitz, she did what she could to survive, and found she had to pay for it through the years that followed. We first met Cilka in the author's fantastic book The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, whereas Cilka's Journey is a fictional tale about her time spent in the gulags. Conditions in the camp come to the fore, Cilka having to cope with rape, coercion, and the bitter cold of Siberia. Yet through it all hope shines, hope that she will one day be free and be able to find love.
I found Cilka's Journey to be a compelling, yet harrowing read. A wonderful heroine, yet a hard subject, it leaves the reader feeling uneasy, the fact that this book is based on real life. However I have no hesitation in recommending it to all lovers of historical fiction.
My thanks to Allen & Unwin for a copy to read and review. The opinions are entirely my own.