Lilac Girls is a Classic
Lilac Girls is a Classic!
I bought this book back in 2017 and devoured it. I re-read it recently because I wanted to and since it’s the corona virus no one is going anywhere so we might as well distract ourselves by reading or re-reading books. The Lilac Girls takes place during World War II and its based on a true story. We hear the point of views of an American Socialite, a Polish Teenager who was sent to Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, and a female Nazi Doctor. I know that sounds like an odd combo of people, but they all do connect in some way. Even though these people are dead Martha Hall Kelly has a gift of making it seem like these women are alive now telling the story and her writing is so descriptive. I could also see this in my head as a movie.
Real People/Characters in the Story
Caroline Ferriday is the American Socialite in the story. She was also a former Broadway actress. By the sound of that some might think shes a spoiled rich girl that expects the best of everything. Rich yes. Spoiled and entitled? Nope. Caroline is also a liaison to the French Consulate wanting to give French orphans families and after the war wanted to help the female victims from Ravensbruck the concentration camp that only had women.
Kasia Kuzmerick is the Polish teenager sent to the camp. Her crime was being a courier for the Polish resistance. Unfortunately her sister Zuzanna and mother Halina are also forced to go with her to the camp. Both Kasia and Zuzanna are fictional but are based on actual characters.
Herta Oberheuser was the only female doctor at the Nazi camp. She wanted to be a regular doctor but due to Hitler’s socialist government, it wouldn’t allow her to be a doctor. There were parts in the book where I felt sorry for her and I thought she would change from her wicked ways because at one point she was disturbed at something that happened on her first day there. Herta was even given 3 months to change her mind and leave. Due to money and her being brainwashed into believing in something evil she chose to stay and she just becomes despicable again. She performed gruesome medical experiments and murdered people.
I enjoyed the story a lot. I love historical fiction in general whether its Ancient history, Biblical History, World War II history etc. I especially like that Martha Hall Kelly and other writers are writing about people in history who made a difference that we haven’t heard of before. Before Lilac Girls I’ve never heard of Caroline Ferriday a former Broadway actress and rich socialite who cared about helping people and doing what’s right despite others who might oppose her. I also liked the fact that the book talked about the other victims that also suffered under Hitlers Holocaust. By no means am I downplaying that the Jewish people suffered, but people forget or don’t think about the other victims that suffered during the Holocaust. Poles, Catholics, Homosexuals, the physically and mentally disabled, political prisoners, Gypsies anyone involved in the resistance and countless others also were murdered. I thank Martha Hall Kelly for telling Kasia’s story. As much as we dislike the people responsible for these heinous acts, it was interesting hearing Hertas side too. Martha had to fictionalize certain things to fill in the empty blanks, but she didn’t change history. I won’t spoil too much more for you guys because I want you all to experience being engrossed into the story.