On an otherwise ordinary morning in 1943, Helene Hannemann is preparing her five children for the day when the German police arrive at her home. Helene's worst fears come true when the police, under strict orders from the SS, demand that her children and husband, all of Romani heritage, be taken into custody. Though Helene is German and safe from the forces invading her home, she refuses to leave her family--sealing her fate in a way she never could have imagined.
After a terrifying trek across the continent, Helene and her family arrive at Auschwitz and are thrown into the chaos of the camp. Her husband, Johann, is separated from them, but Helene remains fiercely protective of her children and those around her. When the powers-that-be discover that Helene is not only a German but also a trained nurse, she is forced into service at the camp hospital, which is overseen by the notorious Dr. Mengele himself.
Helene is under no illusions in terms of Dr. Mengele's intentions, but she agrees to cooperate when he asks her to organize a day care and school for the Romani children in the camp. Though physically and emotionally brutalized by the conditions at Auschwitz, Helene musters the strength to protect the children in her care at any cost. Through sheer force of will, Helene provides a haven for the children of Auschwitz--an act of kindness and selflessness so great that it illuminates the darkest night of human history.
Based on a true story, Mario Escobar's Auschwitz Lullaby demonstrates the power of sacrifice and the strength of human dignity--even when all hope seems lost.
"Auschwitz Lullaby grabbed my heart and drew me in. A great choice for readers of historical fiction." --Irma Joubert, author of The Girl from the Train
- An international bestseller
- Full-length World War II historical novel
- A finalist for 2019's Empik Award for Literature
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs, research notes from the author, and a historical timeline
Thomas Nelson, 9780785219958, 304pp.
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
1. Helene faces many difficult decisions, beginning with the choice to accompany her family as they’re being led away by the police. What, if any, different choices would you have made?
2. When she agrees to go with the police, do you think that Helene has any inkling of what lies before her and her family?
3. Describe some of Helene’s bravest moments. Would you have been able to muster the courage and strength to do some of the things she does?
4. Name a moment or a scene that is either heartbreaking or heartwarming. Why is that moment significant to you?
5. How does one maintain dignity in the face of inhumane oppression? What is the value of struggling against those
forces, even when all seems lost?
6. In a place like Auschwitz, what is the value of hope?
7. What does this story tell you about the power of love? The power of sacrifice?
8. The author based this novel upon a real woman at Auschwitz. How does the truth of this story change the way you read and experience it?