Before We Were Yours- Book Review

This book is written by Lisa Wingate.

“A woman’s past need not predict her future.  She can dance to new music if she chooses.  Her own music.  To hear the tune, she must only stop talking. To herself, I mean.  We’re always trying to persuade ourselves of things.”

Lisa Wingate, the author of Before We Were Yours, tries to expose the true story of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (TCHS) through a fictional account of a family who lived in a shanty boat that floated along the Mississippi River.  This family becomes one of the many victims of the TCHS. The TCHS portrayed themselves as a home for lost or left children, a home that focused on finding them suitable homes.  However, the TCHS actually stole children and babies from families that society looked down upon.  Although Wingate’s story is fictional, the story rings true for many families who became victims of the TCHS. 

Wingate chooses to keep the real name of the director of TCHS for her story, Georgia Tann.  Tann ran this orphanage for about 30 years in Memphis.  Some children died under her supervision, and many were tortured.  This story also highlights the involvement of many other people within the community, such as police officers, doctors and government officials.  They allowed Tann to commit these atrocities to so many families.  At the end of the book, Wingate includes the many sources she read to gain a better understanding of the TCHS for her book (I will include these sources at the bottom of this post).

While reading this story, the one thing I kept asking myself was, who was going to stick up for these families and these children?  Unfortunately, no one ever does.  No adult comes to the rescue of these children.  The reality is many children within this orphanage had to fend for themselves and try to take care of themselves until the horror was over. 

A little bit about the book…

Unlike my other posts, I will not focus too much on describing the details of this story since the description is quite clear, however, I will mention some important details.

This story is told through the perspective of the character Rill Foss.  Rill is the oldest of the five Foss children. She was born to a loving mother and father who lived in a shanty boat on the Mississippi River.  Periodically, the family anchored in different towns so that the children could attend school. The Foss parents loved and cherished their children.  The love Rill experienced from her parents gives her the continued courage to fight and protect herself and her siblings. She is determined to bring them back safely to their home on board the Arcadia.   

The other main character in this book is Avery Stafford.  She is a very different character than Rill.  She is born into a very wealthy, upper-class family in South Carolina.  Avery is a successful lawyer from New York City who has returned home to support her sick father, the Senator of South Carolina.  Avery knows she is being groomed to one day become Senator herself to walk in the footsteps of her father.  She shadows her father to many different events trying to understand more of this world she may be thrown into.  Throughout this journey, she continuously feels like something is missing and wonders if this is really the life she wants for herself.  She is also engaged to a man who she slowly realizes she may not love anymore.  It is at one of her fathers’ events that she runs into a woman named May Crandall. Avery’s life from this moment on changes as she tries to decipher what May is telling her and how Avery’s family is involved.

My review of the book…

“But the love of sisters needs no words.  It does not depend on memories, or mementos, or proof.  It runs as deep as a heartbeat. It is as ever-present as a pulse.”

I found the story to be absolutely captivating from the first chapter.  I was very interested in the Foss family and how they lived their life on board the Arcadia.  This story gives readers a brief look into the life of how some impoverished Americans lived.  I knew little about these “shanty boat” people; therefore, I was fascinated to hear about how they survived the depression.  Wingate also includes a small information section at the back of the book giving more details about Mississippi’s shanty boat people.

Additionally, she described the kidnapping of the Foss children very well.  This shows how involved law enforcement was in taking these children to the TCHS.  She also showed how the adults manipulated these children into coming with them, lying to them to gain their trust.  The way the Foss children were taken from their parents was shocking and unimaginable.

Wingate described life at TCHS with incredible detail while also sparring you the sickening reality of some aspects of the torture some children experienced within the facility.  When it came to the more horrific events at TCHS I was glad that Wingate provided only the detail necessary.

Rill Foss’s character development is also very well done.  You get a real sense of how this 12-year-old girl becomes the caregiver to her siblings.  You see her develop into a strong young woman fighting for her family. 

Wingate does a great job at intertwining the two stories of Rill and Avery, always making you wonder what their connection will be.  Is Avery related to any of Rill’s lost siblings?  Is Avery’s grandmother a friend who helped expose TCHS?  Wingate always keeps you on your toes, wondering how they are connected while never tiring the reader with each of their stories’ details.

I really enjoyed this book, but some parts are pretty disturbing, which could make it difficult for some people to get through.

About the Author:
Lisa Wingate has written many best selling books, receiving many rewards for her work.  Prior to writing she was a journalist.  

Other Wingate books: 
Before and After
The Book of Lost Friends
Carolina Chronicles 

Books she used to help write about the Tennessee Children’s Home Society:
Pricing the Priceless Child: The Changing Social Value of Children by Viviana A. Zelizer
Babies for Sale: The Tennessee Children’s Home Adoption Scandal by Linda Tollett Austin
Alone in the World: Orphans and Orphanages in America by Catherine Reef
The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption by Barbara Bisantz Raymond

Short stories at the end of the book:
The River Gypsies By Lisa Wingate 
The Shanty-Boat People (excerpt) By: Charles Buxton Going


Cilka’s Journey- A Book Review

By: Heather Morris

Cilka’s Journey is a sequel to the bestseller, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.  I have not read The Tattooist of Auschwitz, and I was a bit concerned that I would be confused reading Cilka’s Journey, but that was not the case at all.  This book stands on its own very well.  Heather Morris includes a bit of information about the characters from The Tattooist of Auschwitz.  These small details made me curious and interested in reading it.

I must admit, though, I won’t be jumping right into The Tattooist of Auschwitz anytime soon.  After reading such an emotional story, like Cilka’s Journey, I need to give myself some time to recoup before I dive into a similar story.  I usually like to follow this genre with a fun, light hearted and easy to read book.

What is the book about:

The book follows the life of a young Jewish Czechoslovakian woman named Cilka Klien (who is actually a real person).  Heather Morris, the author, explains that she uses the true story of Cilka Klein to inspire some aspects of the book. Therefore, this a historical fiction novel, not a biography.  However, that should not dismiss the events in the story because what she experienced did happen to many women during this terrible time in history.

We are first introduced to Cilka near the end of World War II when Auschwitz is liberated by the Red Army (the Soviet Union).  The Red Army soldiers liberate this camp on their march to Germany.  During this time, the Soviet Union, now under Joseph Stalin, had created “labour camps” all over Russia, mostly in the northern regions.  These camps were for political prisoners, people Stalin believed were betraying the communist state, and prisoners who had actually committed crimes.  When the Red Army arrived in Auschwitz, they began questioning the prisoners to find out more information about each of them.  The Red Army learn that Cilka had been a prisoner of the camp for many years and that she had sexual relations with some of the Nazi guards.  However, these sexual encounters were not consensual; the camp guards were raping Cilka.  This allowed for Cilka to survive all her years at Auschwitz.  For these reasons, astonishingly, Cilka is considered a Nazi collaborator by the Red Army and, therefore, an enemy to the Soviet Union. The Soviets are suspicious of prisoners who managed to stay alive in the camps, sadly suspecting many of them to be collaborators (to the Red Army, this is the only answer as to why they survived these camps). Therefore, she is sent directly from Auschwitz to the Soviet Union to complete a 15-year sentence of hard labour in the Vorkuta Gulag in Siberia.  She is pushed onto another train for her long journey from Auschwitz to northern Russia.  This train ride reminds her of the train ride she took to Auschwitz many years ago.

Once she arrives at the Gulag, she experiences many of the same events that she endured when she arrived in Auschwitz for the first time.  Cilka has become numb to humankind’s brutality and follows along with what she is told and asked of her. Cilka’s only focus is to survive the Gulag camps just as she survived Auschwitz.

Most of the book is focused on Cilka’s time in the Vorkuta Gulag camp, but Morris also includes short memories Cilka has of Auschwitz to paint a picture of Cilka’s past.  These memories also show us how her experiences at Auschwitz influences her life at the Vorkuta Gulag camp.  It brought me so much sadness knowing that this poor young woman endured such brutality at Auschwitz, and then to be forced to undergo more brutality at a new camp seemed unimaginable.

Cilka’s time at Vorkuta is extremely difficult.  However, she meets many new people that end up playing a significant role in her life.  She learns a lot about herself and the courage and determination she has.  Every day she fights to survive and live, hoping to return to her home in Czechoslovakia one day.  

My thoughts on the book:

Heather Morris creates a captivating story about suffering, loss and love.  She writes with such detail that every scene seems to come to life; I felt that I could picture every part of the camp and how Cilka fits into it.  What is so incredibly moving about this story is how Morris shows you the courage of these characters, and although these are mostly fictional characters, the reader knows that the real prisoners of the camp had to have the same resiliency if they had any hope of surviving.   Although there is so much evil and sadness throughout this story, Morris also includes incredible stories of heroism, compassion and love.  I also like that it is focused on a topic that many people probably don’t know much about; it sheds light on another dark part of history.


City of Girls – Book Review

Book by: Elizabeth Gilbert

What was this story about:

City of Girls is written as one long letter.  A woman named Angela asks Vivian Morris, the main character, to explain Vivian’s relationship with Angela’s father. Vivian responds to this letter with the story of her life beginning at age 19.

Vivian Morris is from a wealthy family who lived in the suburbs a couple of hours away from New York City.  Vivian is a lost teenager when we meet her; she specifically calls herself “an idiot” at the beginning of chapter one. She fails out of college and needs to return home to her disappointed parents.  Her parents are at a loss as to what to do with their teenage daughter, who doesn’t seem to fit into their high society circle.  They decide to send Vivian to live with her Aunt Peg in New York City. Therefore, in 1940 Vivian Morris gets onto the train and heads to New York City. 

Aunt Peg lives and owns a theatre in a poor neighbourhood in New York City.  The theatre, The Lily Playhouse, is a run down old facility. It is no where near the ritz and glamour of theatre life in New York City, but Vivian loves it! She is impressed and fascinated by the showgirls, the dancers, the actors, the play writers and everyone else involved in this theatre. Aunt Peg discovers Vivian’s sewing skills and asks Vivian to be the seamstress for the theatre.  She then becomes consumed with making, fixing and purchasing fabrics for the costumes in the plays.  This is when she begins to create friendships with the showgirls, specifically Celia.  Celia is a beautiful showgirl who seems to take a liking to Vivian.  Celia teaches Vivian how to showcase her beauty, go out in New York City, and have sex with lots of men.   Vivian adapts this new way of life and thrives in it, until one horrible night where she makes a mistake that will derail the life she built and loved in New York City at The Lily Playhouse. 

After a brief return to her parents’ house and a pivotal interaction with her brother, Walter, who is about to go to war, she eventually returns to New York City with Aunt Peg.   She returns to New York City to help her Aunt Peg with a new theatre job supporting the war effort.  This is where we see Vivian’s character mature and she begins to better understand who she is. 

My thoughts on the book

What I liked:

I loved the description of New York City in the 1940s.  The glamour, the parties, the social scene all were described perfectly.  I have only been to New York City once, during Christmas time, and I loved it, but it seemed even more amazing the way Gilbert described it.

I also loved the fun and excitement of theatre life at The Lily Playhouse.  It seemed like such a fun place to work and live.  The characters who lived and worked at the Lily Playhouse were all interesting in their own way.

The relationships that Vivian made with the other characters were the best part of this book.  There was something Vivian learned from every person that came into her life.  Sometimes people came into her life for a brief moment, and sometimes she created lasting friendships with people she grew to love.  However, it was clear that every relationship, whether long or short, played a role in creating who Vivian Morris was.  I have always believed that everyone who comes into your life plays a certain role.  It could be a brief relationship, someone you enjoy at that time, or a life long friendship. I feel this was one of the most important messages from City of Girls.

What I didn’t like:

Unfortunately, there was quite a bit that I didn’t like about this book. Vivian’s character was just not that interesting.  I feel she lacked depth, excitement and maturity.  I was more interested in the characters around her; then I was in her story.  About halfway through the book, I realized I didn’t care what happened to Vivian’s character, and I found her kind of annoying.  Her character growth was so focused on her sex life that it became redundant to keep reading about. Vivian’s central character trait seemed to only be about her love for sex, and it is tough to keep the book interesting when you’re solely focused on that.  At the beginning of the book, I found Vivian to be extraordinarily naïve, but that never seemed to go away, even as she grew older.  She got herself into dangerous situations with men but, for some reason, never really learned from these experiences; what’s worse, she never seemed to care.  I knew pretty early on that I wouldn’t love this book, but I was able to keep reading based on the character development of the people around Vivian.  The book is also very long, and it seems it could have been summed up in far fewer pages.

If you have read this book, what are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with my review?


The Dutch House- Book Review

By: Ann Patchett

Why I chose to read this book…

I came across this book at multiple different bookstores and finally decided to pick it up. The book is very positively reviewed as well.

A little bit about the book…

The book centers around a large estate in Philadelphia nicknamed The Dutch House. The interior of the home is decorated with large painted portraits of past residents and covered with embellishments that are compared to the Palace of Versailles. The current inhabitants of The Dutch House are the Conroys. The book follows the brother and sister, Danny and Meave Conroy with Danny narrating their story.

Patchett chooses to divide The Dutch House into three parts.

Part one focuses on Danny and Meave’s childhood. Through their perspectives, readers get a glimpse into what it would have been like growing up in the Dutch House. It is clear that their father, Cyril, really loves this historic home, despite his family’s distaste for it. As years progress, Cyril moves on from his failed marriage with a woman named Andrea. When Andrea and her two daughters move into the home it becomes increasingly clear things in the Dutch House will be changing. Some catastrophic events follow for the Conroy family, and by the end of part one, the siblings have lost the Dutch House and need to rebuild their lives elsewhere.

Part two begins with Danny returning home from college for Thanksgiving. Home is now a small apartment that Maeve lives in. Patchett paints a clear picture of how the siblings live after leaving the Dutch House. Maeve has a steady job she likes, and Danny is studying in Medical School even though he doesn’t want to be a doctor. The siblings always feel an urge to go back and see the Dutch House and a couple times a year they choose to go see the house form a distance. Despite this, Danny’s life seems to move on from the house; he goes to school meets a woman, gets married and has children. In contrast, Meave’s life does not seem to change as the years pass. After a close encounter with Andrea, part two ends with the siblings vowing never to revisit the house.

Part three began with some trouble for Meave, which sent Danny into a whirlwind of emotions. This event also brings back an old family member that Danny isn’t ready to accept back into his life. Danny tries to figure out how to best deal with this returned family member as well as focus on being a good husband and father. The ending is quite moving and has a couple surprises.

The central theme of the book…

One of the most dominant messages of the book was the power of love. You see this in the relationships that are formed, kept and treasured among family and friends. The love that Maeve and Danny have for one another is a perfect example. We also see this with their love for their childhood nannies, for their father, and all the new characters throughout the book. The power of love is shown from the beginning of the book through to the end. The different relationships that are formed in the book are what interested me the most.

My thoughts on the book…

My overall thoughts are that it is a good story about the lives of two siblings and their broken family. Ann Patchett is a skilled writer and makes the characters of her book come to life. However, I did find the book a bit predictable, which didn’t allow for much excitement or intrigue. It also seemed that Patchett added a bit too many unnecessary details that made the book a bit too long.

Other books by the Author:
The Patron Saint of Liars
The Magician’s Assistant
Bel Canto
Run
State of Wonder
Commonwealth


Birds Without Wings – Book Review

By: Louis de Bernieres

This is the second time I have read this book. I chose to reread it because I had such fond memories of the book, and I wanted to include it on my blog. I thought it would be best to reread it in order to give it a proper review.

Why I initially read this book:

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I love historical fiction novels, and my background is Greek, and this book is about Greeks living in the Ottoman Empire during the early 1900s. Therefore, it suited my interests very well. My sister had also read it and loved it. I knew of Louis de Bernieres because of his famous novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, that was eventually turned into a Hollywood movie. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was also a great read; however, the film did not do the book justice. Therefore, since I liked the author, it had great reviews, and it fit into my interests, I thought I had to read it.

The theme of this novel:

I believe the overall theme of this book was innocence. The innocence of a small village town in eastern Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), the innocence of regular people disconnected from the world’s politics, and lastly the innocence of children. The book is mostly set in a small village that, for hundreds of years, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony; where Greeks, Armenians and Turks were like family to one another. In this village, Muslims would pray to the Virgin Mary and Christians would go into Mosque’s to pray. This is what this little town was like, and it represented so many towns in Greece and Turkey until war tore them apart, until political leaders told them they were each others enemy.

A brief overview of this book:

As mentioned above, this novel was mostly set in a small town in Western Anatolia called Eskibahce, near the end of the Ottoman Empire. It follows the lives of the Eskibahce villagers from the beginning of the 1900’s through to the Great War, then the War of Independence and the Great Population Exchange. The story begins showing how harmoniously everyone in the village lived with each other regardless of religion and cultural background. You are introduced to many different characters at the beginning, and you follow each of these characters as they weave through major historical events. Louis de Bernieres creates incredibly interesting characters that are intriguing from the moment they are introduced. Each character tells their story in their own chapters, including the real historical figure Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. You see how the changes made by leading men in the world affect this little towns’ inhabitants. You gain an understanding of how the repercussions of people’s actions seem to affect the most vulnerable in society.

“…but in my opinion, as I have also said, everything that happened was made to do so by the great world.”

About halfway through the book, de Bernieres focuses a lot of time discussing many of the Great War details, and I would say this is the only part in the book that I felt needed to be shortened. There were too many back-to-back chapters from Mustafa Kemal and one of the book’s main characters, Karatavuk explaining the details of the war from their perspectives. I think this part of the book may be difficult for some readers, who may not be as interested in history, to get through.

The end of the book focuses on the deportation of Greek Christians living in Turkey. The perspective is shown through the villagers of Eskibahce. The utter shock the Christian villagers face when they are told they are going to their country, Greece, which they have never lived in. The sadness that is bestowed on the Muslim villagers who tearfully say goodbye to their life long friends. You see the love these villagers had for one another when the Muslim men decide to follow their Greek friends to their destination to guarantee their safe passage to Greece (after horrifying stories of what was done to the Armenian people by the Turkish army). This is the love that is so rarely seen today between Christian and Muslims in most of the world.

What I learned from this book:

I learned so much from this book that I don’t even know where to begin. The book’s overall message that few men make the decisions that affect millions is what impacted me the most. How simple words and decisions could change the course of history. These same men turn best friends into enemies just by using simple words. Many times in the book, we see a Greek Christian and an Ottoman Muslim love one another (friendly or romantic) despite being told by world leaders that they are now enemies.

“How strange that the world should change because of words, and words change because of the world” (p 287)

I learned how quickly good human beings can turn evil. The atrocities that Greeks and Turks committed to one another after living among each other harmoniously for so many years is truly baffling. How does one hate another so much to commit such horrible crimes to innocent people? I will never understand that, but it is clear the humans are capable of awful things.

“Much of what was done was simply in revenge for identical atrocities…” (p 6)

Final thoughts on this book:

Overall this is a great book; I loved it the first time I read it, and I loved it the second time I read it. Louis de Bernieres writes so eloquently, including many important hidden messages. I truly recommend that everyone reads this book, even if you aren’t into historical fiction, there is so much that the world can learn from the small village of Eskibahce.


The Nightingale- Book Review

By: Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah is one of my most favourite books. It is centered around two sisters living in France during World War II. There were so many emotions that were felt throughout this book from love and joy to utter sadness and despair. From the very first page of this book, I was hooked!

I first came across The Nightingale when it was my turn to select a book for my book club. I knew I wanted to choose a something historical, as this was my favourite genre, and many of the book club participants had never read a historical fiction book. I was convinced I could convert them with the right book. The Nightingale continuously appeared at the top of all my searches and the reviews were amazing. Therefore, I selected it for my book club and luckily, it was a huge success! Everyone loved it, and it sparked so many great conversations. In fact, many of the people in my book club continued to ask for more recommendations on other historical fiction novels.

The theme of this book…

The Nightingale is about two sisters and the very different paths their lives take during World War II in France. The sisters think they are nothing alike as they pursue very different lives but, as the story continues, you begin to see the similar characteristics these two sisters share. Each sister is fighting for survival in their own way, showing courage and resiliency in each of their struggles. The author, Kristin Hannah, brings the characters’ thoughts and emotions to life so clearly and vividly you begin to feel those emotions yourself.

Hannah also details the difficulties faced by the French people, mostly women, who lived under Nazi occupation. The reader gains an understanding as to how the French women were helping in the war effort, from their homes. The women wanted to do whatever they could to help defeat the Nazis. This book was not about war battles and soldiers; it was about the struggle of occupation, the push to survive, and the fight to gain freedom. Truly a remarkable story about a challenging time in France’s history.

What I learned from this book…

The Nightingale is an inspirational story about women’s fight for survival and their constant determination to protect their family and those around them. The ordeal that these two sisters experience is beyond my imagination; it seems impossible to overcome such horrible obstacles in life. This story also emphasized the importance of fighting for what you believe.

I also learned so much more about the difficulties faced by the women living under Nazi occupation, something I think history books do not focus enough time on. It opened a new door to the different experiences of World War II.

Other books written by this author… 

Kristin Hannah has written many books, so I have listed some of her better-known books below:

*The Four Winds (newest book)
*The Great Alone
*Home Front
*Night Road
*Winter Garden


A Long Petal of the Sea- Book Review

By: Isabel Allende

A Long Petal of the Sea details the life of a man named Victor. Allende begins this story during the Spanish Civil War. When this war ends Victor and his family flee from Spain and immigrate to Chile. Throughout their lives they immigrate between other South American countries as well. Allende shows the reader the circumstances of the Spanish Civil War and how it shaped the Spanish people. Later on, Victor is taken through yet another civil war, this time in Chile. We also get to see what Venezuela was like during the early 1980s, a very different picture then what Venezuela has become today. This book covers many topics and historical events. You learn about the struggles of a refugee and what it’s like starting over again in a foreign country. Allende perfectly shows the ever-changing political landscape of once-stable countries. It shows how quickly security and freedom can slip from your grasp. Victor and his family begin as refugees fleeing a political coup in their home country, and this theme seems to follow them everywhere they go.

“Venezuela received Victor with the same easygoing generosity with which it took in thousands of immigrants from many parts of the world… [Venezuela] was one of the wealthiest countries in the world… nobody killed themselves working… life was a long party, with a great sense of freedom and a profound sense of equality.”

Why I chose this book…

I decided to read this book because I often saw it on different book blogs and reading lists. I was interested in reading a historical fiction novel however, I wanted the book to cover a period in history that I wasn’t familiar with. I know very little about the Spanish Civil War or about Chilean history so I was intrigued to read this story.

My thoughts on the book… 

I’m happy I chose to read this book. It was eventful, had good character development, and had some unexpected twists along the way. However, I was surprised to see that the Spanish Civil War was just one event and not the main event in this book. I didn’t get to learn as much about the Spanish Civil War as I would have liked. The layout of this book was a bit different then I was used to, and I felt like some events were too rushed. The chapters were laid out by years. Within each chapter you learn what happens to all the characters during those specific years. I think that may be the reason each event was rushed. As well, each chapter ended with the ending of a time frame, not with an intriguing angle that made you want to keep reading. I also found that the ending was a bit abrupt, and I was hoping to hear more about that final major event in Victor’s life. That being said, I still enjoyed reading this book.

The Author…

Isabel Allende is well known for her novel, The House of the Spirits, but she has written over 20 books that have all won critical acclaim. A Long Petal of the Sea is her most recent book, it is a book that includes stories that were told to her as a child. Her cultural background is South American (raised in Chile), and many of the people and events she writes about are from stories she hears from older relatives. None of the characters are real, but they are all shaped by people she knew.


Lilac Girls- Book Review

By: Martha Hall Kelly

This book is a bit of a twist on the typical historical fiction novel. Kelly included some fictional characters but also real historical figures. I didn’t realize this until I had completed the book and did some research. This was an intriguing discovery that made the book a bit more appealing.

This story is centered around three women, each effected differently by World War II. Each of their stories shows a different perspective of this war. It is a social history perspective that is rarely explored in textbooks. The way these three women were connected in the end was the most captivating part of this story.

I enjoyed reading this book and going through the emotions of each of the characters but, I didn’t find I was fully captivated by this story. I’m not exactly sure what was missing but, the characters did not draw me in or excite me to keep reading. I think if there was a bit more character build up I would have felt more connected to these characters and then maybe more glued to the book. Part of me also wonders if I have been reading too many similar books lately and maybe that is why I felt a bit bored by this book.

Some main topics explored by Lilac Girls:
*Polish prisoners in concentration camps
*A doctors struggle between the Hippocratic oath and the orders from Nazi superiors
*Soviet ‘liberation’ of concentration camps
*The human experiences of trying to escape Europe during World War II