The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel
Illustrated by Loreto Aroca
Translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites
Adapted by Salva Rubio
Published January 3, 2023
About The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this graphic novel tells the incredible story of a girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.
Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the librarian of Auschwitz.
Out of one of the darkest chapters of human history comes this extraordinary story of courage and hope.
From the very beginning, Dita is a brave, strong character. Her love for books runs from the first page to the last. She cares not only for the books during her time at Auschwitz, but also for her mother and her friends.
The illustrations in the book really bring the story to life. Several scenes got me all teared up. It was easy to feel Dita’s anguish over the death of her father and her friend. I also had chills as she acted quickly to hide books from Nazi soldiers during an inspection, an act that saved everyone in her block.
After the story finishes, there are some sections that explain more of the history and give facts about some of the important characters. I enjoyed reading that as well.
All in all, this is an incredibly inspiring story that makes me want to know more about Dita Kraus and her life. I noticed on Amazon that there’s an autobiography of her life, so I’ll probably pick that up and add it to my reading list, too.
Recommended for Ages 10 up.
The book is based on Dita Kraus, a Czechoslovakian Jewish woman who was imprisoned at Auschwitz as a teenager.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Nazi soldiers call a woman a slur.
A couple panels show a crowd of people stripped naked waiting for showers. The images don’t really detail private areas. One panel shows a group of women (still naked from an inspection) hugging because their lives have been spared. A group of boys tease Dita and ask to touch her breasts.
Kiss between two men.
Inside Auschwitz, Dita and others celebrate Passover.
Some panels show soldiers abusing prisoners by hitting them. One soldier tattoos Dita’s arm with a series of numbers. Dita hears that nearly 4,000 prisoners, many of them children, are executed. Dita hears that a man she considered a friend has died by suicide. (She’s later told this isn’t true.)
Dita is forced to carry bodies of prisoners who’ve died. One panel shows her at a distance, standing next to a pit of the dead.
Dita hears rumors that a man overdosed on pills and died. Some people believed it was an accidental overdose from an addiction. Others believed he died by suicide.
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