Before the war, Jews comprised about 30 per cent of Tomaszów Mazowiecki’s population. But out of the 13,000 Jews resident in 1939, just 200 were still breathing at the end of the war in 1945. Only five were children.
Tova Friedman was one of those children.
Tova had never known freedom. Almost exactly a year older than the war, Tova survived three and a half years in the ghetto of Tomaszów Mazowiecki before being transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
To experience Auschwitz as an adult is something I can barely imagine. To experience it as a child is incomprehensible.
I’ve read a number of books written by Holocaust survivors. No matter how much I read, I will ever be able to fully understand the impossible choices they had to make and the unimaginable horrors they both witnessed and experienced firsthand.
Choosing to read about the capacity people have to commit atrocities is painful but necessary. We must never forget the Holocaust.
That anyone survived Auschwitz is extraordinary. To read about survivors who have gone on to lead meaningful lives astounds me. Having survived humanity at its worst, survivors like Tova demonstrate a level of fortitude and resilience that will never stop inspiring me.
Talking about it not only reminds people of the evil that took place, but can also help them to see the ability in each of us to overcome.
Thank you so much to Hachette Australia for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
‘I am a survivor. That comes with a survivor’s obligation to represent one and half million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis. They cannot speak. So I must speak on their behalf.’
Tova Friedman was one of the youngest people to emerge from Auschwitz. After surviving the liquidation of the Jewish ghetto in Central Poland where she lived as a toddler, Tova was four when she and her parents were sent to a Nazi labour camp, and almost six when she and her mother were forced into a packed cattle truck and sent to Auschwitz II, also known as the Birkenau extermination camp, while her father was transported to Dachau.
During six months of incarceration in Birkenau, Tova witnessed atrocities that she could never forget, and experienced numerous escapes from death. She is one of a handful of Jews to have entered a gas chamber and lived to tell the tale.
As Nazi killing squads roamed Birkenau before abandoning the camp in January 1945, Tova and her mother hid among corpses. After being liberated by the Russians they made their way back to their hometown in Poland. Eventually Tova’s father tracked them down and the family was reunited.
In The Daughter of Auschwitz, Tova immortalises what she saw, to keep the story of the Holocaust alive, at a time when it is in danger of fading from memory. She has used those memories that have shaped her life to honour the victims. Written with award-winning former war reporter Malcolm Brabant, this is an extremely important book. Brabant’s meticulous research has helped Tova recall her experiences in searing detail. Together they have painstakingly recreated Tova’s extraordinary story about one of the worst ever crimes against humanity.