Cilka’s Journey (Heather Morris)

Rating: 4 Stars

Cilka is sixteen years old when she and her sister Magda are imprisoned in Auschwitz. After spending three years there before she’s released, she’s immediately imprisoned again at Gulag camp for “sleeping with the enemy” and aiding the Nazis soldiers. Despite the fact that Cilka was a child being raped by the powerful men at Auschwitz, and understanding the fact that she had two options: do what they say – or die, she’s still seen as an enemy and spends ten years as a prisoner there.

Unlike the Tattooist of Auschwitz, Morris blends both true facts, research, and fiction together. Where she sat down with Lale (the main character in The Tattooist of Auschwitz) Cilka had already passed away by the time she began writing this book. So while a lot is based in fact (Lale gives her a lot of information on Cilka and her life) and research, some of it is also fictional.

This book was both horrifying and tragic but, much like The Tattooist of Auschwitz, demonstrates not only the terrors of war and growing up in that time, but the amazing strength of the people who experienced such devastation. Cilka is a fighter who went through unimaginable things and still came out of it with her brave spirit and drive to help people.

This book was a very tough read, since – fiction or not – many women and men experienced this abuse and devastation throughout the war. It’s certainly not a fluffy read and I highly recommend reading it (it’s also very well written) but having a light and cheerful book next on your TBR because you’re going to need something that doesn’t make your heart break as much.

Very eye opening.

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