Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

Publication Info: audio edition published April 2016. Other editions available.

Summary: Lilac Girls is primarily the story of three women during World War II and is told from their varying points of view.  The first is Kasia Kuzmerick , a young polish girl who was caught running an errand for the resistance, arrested and sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp for women. The second is Herta Oberheuser, a German doctor who after struggling to find a job, takes a position as camp doctor at Ravensbrück. And finally,  Caroline Ferriday, a wealthy American woman who works tirelessly for victims both during and after the war.Lilac Girls

Comments: I found the varying points of view to be interesting and enlightening. I also found the author’s “Afterward Notes” astonishing. This is much more than a work of fiction. While I knew of many of the German atrocities and medical experiments, I’d never heard of Ravensbrück and the group of women known as the “rabbits”. 74 young, healthy women, mostly Polish, were subjected to medical experiments that left them maimed and crippled. That 63 survived the surgery and the camp was nothing short of a miracle. Herta Oberheuser participated in these experiments under the direction of Dr. Karl Gebhardt. She was the only female doctor convicted at Nuremberg. Caroline Ferriday was also a real person who worked to help war orphans and the “rabbits”.

Highly recommended for historical fiction readers.

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