In this follow-up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, the author tells the story, based on a true one, of a woman who survives Auschwitz, only to find herself locked away again.
Cilka Klein is 18 years old when Auschwitz-Birkenau is liberated by Soviet soldiers. But Cilka is one of the many women who is sentenced to a labor camp on charges of having helped the Nazis–with no consideration of the circumstances Cilka and women like her found themselves in as they struggled to survive. Once at the Vorkuta gulag in Sibera, where she is to serve her 15-year sentence, Cilka uses her wits, charm, and beauty to survive.
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris is one unforgettable novel. I cannot forget the horrors and pain that one young woman went through during World War II. Cilka lost everything. She was raped by Nazis and then taken as a prisoner once again because they all believed she was a spy for the Nazis or some other country. It had to have taken everything inside this young woman to take on the new levels of pain and imprisonments that were bestowed upon her. It was just one bad nightmare after another. My heart broke for the young 16-year-old girl who only knew that she had to survive no matter what. The toll of people not believing her story of suffering and being imprisoned again, had to chip away at her. Cilka is an amazing woman. The book is a journey through her life story with fictional parts included.
The time period was eerily captured in just the right ways. The amount of research that went into this book can be seen and felt. The pages were like leafing through a video of someone else’s life. The struggles, loss, and grief of Cilka were great and numerous. I am surprised that the young woman ever found a way to love and live again after all that. Cilka’s Journey is an emotional rollercoaster that tore at my heart. Overall, this was a powerful read that took me back into history’s dark times.