Book Reviews

One Girl in Auschwitz: A WW2 Jewish Girl’s Holocaust Survival True story by Sara Leibovits and Etu Elboim

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 223
Stand alone
Genre: Non-fiction, True Story, WWII
Publish: March 14th 2021
Rating: 5 star


How will one girl survive the horrors of Auschwitz on her own?

Poland, 1944. The train slowed and halted with a squeal of the brakes. It felt like they waited in the carriage for an eternity, but eventually, the heavy doors opened, directly into the chaos outside.

Sarh Leibovits, a 16-year-old Jewish girl, was a passenger on the train, together with her family. Within minutes, their horrific fate was sealed.

The little family spent its final minutes together on the platform at Auschwitz, before its members were dispersed in all directions, and each was left alone to their own fate.

Isolated from her family, Sara was left alone to face the many physical labors and the lowest points of her life, while trying to maintain values like courage, faith and helping others, all to survive the true manifestation of Hell on earth – Auschwitz.

This is the moving story of Sara Leibovits, laced with hair-raising descriptions of her time in Auschwitz and the incredible pain and hardships she went through, together with the rest of the survivors. Her story is intertwined with that of her daughter, seventy years later, who embodies the voice of the second generation and completes the Holocaust survivors’ tale.


Out of many of the Holocaust stories I have read this one really intrigued me. Not only do we get the mother’s side of when she was a teenage girl surviving one of the most horrifying works of the devil played out by human hands, but we also get the story of her youngest daughter and what it was like to grow up in Israel with parents who survived.

I have read stories in which the children just tell their parents stories, so to get the perspective of what it was like in a home after the parents had immigrated and raised children it was eye-opening.

I love that Sara went back to Auschwitz seeing herself as a hero. She survived and went on to have children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She sees herself as victorious. God did watch over her in this dark time. Many times she was saved when she almost died. The devil and the Nazis didn’t win. Sara and others are living proof.

Book Reviews

Among the Reeds: The True Story of How a Family Survived the Holocaust by Tammy Bottner

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 217
Series: Holocaust Survivor True Stories #1
Genre: Nonfiction, War
Published: June 6th 2017
Rating: 3.5 stars


During the dark days of the Holocaust, a Jewish family struggles to survive.

When her son was born, Tammy Bottner experienced flashbacks of being hunted by the Nazis. The strange thing is, these experiences didn’t happen to her. They happened to her grandmother decades earlier and thousands of miles away.

Back in Belgium, Grandma Melly made unthinkable choices in order to save her family during WWII, including sending her two-year-old son, Bottner’s father, into hiding in a lonely Belgian convent. Did the trauma that Tammy Bottner’s predecessors experience affect their DNA? Did she inherit the “memories” of the war-time trauma in her very genes?

In this moving family memoir, told partly from Melly’s perspective, the author, a physician, recounts the saga of her family’s experiences during the Holocaust. This tale, part history, part scientific reflection on epigenetics, takes the reader on a journey that may read like a novel but is all the more fascinating for being true.


Fair Warning spoilers ahead.

But when she could no longer hide him, she got a basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile River. – Exodus 2:3

This is the first-ever story I have read that the family actually made it through without going to a camp.

It’s a different view for me. Most stories I read the family is in Poland or Germany. I don’t think I have read or really did deep research into what it was like for the Jewish people in Belgium. Big eye opener.

There was much written in this book that I didn’t know about before that answered a few questions I didn’t even knew I had. We always ask ourselves “how did they comply so easily?”, “how was it possible this happened so fast?”

The Nazis robbed not just the Jews of their humanity; they robbed everyone else of their fundamental decency, in fact of their humanity, as well. Everyone, Jews and non-Jews, was thrust into the impossible choice of either cooperating, or at least passively accepting, the barbarism of the Nazis, or risking their own and their family’s annihilation.

Not only did Nazis use fear but they used hatred that already existed. In Poland and Ukraine anti-Semitism was high and rampant. Jews were killed in pogroms way before the Nazis took over. All it took was a little push and the Nazis had the local non-Jews helping out. But this wasn’t the case everywhere.

In Belgium the Germans implemented their anti-Jewish laws more slowly, but by September 1942 they had begun rounding Jews up for deportation. While initially claiming to be transporting these people to work details, the brutality of the roundups, and the inclusion of the elderly and the infirm, children and babies, made the deportations’ sinister conclusions fairly obvious to anyone with the courage to face the truth.

Not only did Jews have to watch out for Nazis but they had to watch out for other Jews. If you are not familiar with the Holocaust, you may have read that statement again. What it means is that some Jews switched sides and helped the Nazis round up their neighbors, family, and friends. But there were non-Jews who did not cooperate with the Nazis and helped save many Jewish lives.

Collaborators were everywhere. You didn’t know whom you could trust. It didn’t matter how well you knew someone, or even if they were Jewish. People were so desperate to stay alive that they helped the Nazis by turning in friends and neighbors. So we lived in fear.

Unfortunately, I cannot add all the quotes I want to or all the information I learned but if you are like me and are a WWII junkie, this book is a great read. It shows a side of the war that isn’t very popular. A side where the family only faced the horrors of being caught and killed in the camps.

Book Reviews

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

My edition: Kindle Owned
Pages: 323
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, YA
Publish: March 10, 2015
Rating: No rating DNF @ pg 31


Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged.

When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.


I remember being recommended this book a while ago. I can’t remember when I bought it.

I was bored and so not interested. Maybe it was horrible timing on reading this but either way, I am pulling the plug. I know I did it on a short amount of pages but I can’t go on. I tried to force myself to read this but I don’t care about the characters, the plotline, or what is going to happen.

After failed attempts of getting further into the book, I have decided it is not for me. If you liked the book that’s great. If you didn’t and made it through the book, congratulations on a feat I wasn’t able to do.