A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France

A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France They Were Teachers, Students, Chemists, Writers, And Housewives A Singer At The Paris Opera, A Midwife, A Dental Surgeon They Distributed Anti Nazi Leaflets, Printed Subversive Newspapers, Hid Resisters, Secreted Jews To Safety, Transported Weapons, And Conveyed Clandestine Messages The Youngest Was A Schoolgirl Of Fifteen Who Scrawled V For Victory On The Walls Of Her Lyc E The Eldest, A Farmer S Wife In Her Sixties Who Harbored Escaped Allied Airmen Strangers To Each Other, Hailing From Villages And Cities From Across France, These Brave Women Were United In Hatred And Defiance Of Their Nazi OccupiersEventually, The Gestapo Hunted Down Of These Women And Imprisoned Them In A Fort Outside Paris Separated From Home And Loved Ones, These Disparate Individuals Turned To One Another, Their Common Experience Conquering Divisions Of Age, Education, Profession, And Class, As They Found Solace And Strength In Their Deep Affection And CamaraderieIn January , They Were Sent To Their Final Destination Auschwitz Only Forty Nine Would Return To France A Train In Winter Draws On Interviews With These Women And Their Families German, French, And Polish Archives And Documents Held By World War II Resistance Organizations To Uncover A Dark Chapter Of History That Offers An Inspiring Portrait Of Ordinary People, Of Bravery And Survival And Of The Remarkable, Enduring Power Of Female Friendship

Caroline Moorehead is the New York Times bestselling author of Village of Secrets Defying the Nazis in Vichy France A Train in Winter An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France and Human Cargo A Journey Among Refugees, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award An acclaimed biographer, Moorehead has also written for the New York Review

✯ [BOOKS] ⚣ A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France By Caroline Moorehead ✼ – Uc0.info
  • Hardcover
  • 374 pages
  • A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France
  • Caroline Moorehead
  • English
  • 06 May 2018
  • 9780061650703

10 thoughts on “A Train in Winter: An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France

  1. says:

    I recently saw that Carolyn Moorehead has a new book coming out in Aug of 2017, A Bold and Dangerous Family , A true story about an Italian Mother, her sons, and their Fight against Fascism, which I want to read I was declined within hours after having requested an advance copy on Netgalley, so I need to wait It looks terrific and I look forward to other reviews However, I had never read A Train in Winter An Extraordinary Story of Women, Friendship, and Resistance in Occupied France The Resistance Trilogy Book 1.From the library I checked out both the ebook and the audiobook I don t recommend the audiobook The woman speaking had a sharp British accent and talked very fast I was much happier with the ebook.This true story tells us how women of the French Resistance lived and died during their imprisonment 230 Women of diverse backgrounds were rounded up in France shipped via cattle car to Arbeit macht frei camps These women came together to help and protect each other Their determination was not to be destroyed Once the women returned to their homes after liberation, the ones who made it out, had great difficulty mixing back into their neighborhoods These are brutal stories. details of shameful cruelty at times hard to keep track of each of the characters..but it s hard to imagine the endurance it took while physically and mentally broken down , of what it really took for these women to survive against the horrors and suffering that they did Courageous and amazing womenalways sad I still read these stories from time to time No two Holocaust stories are ever exactly the same for me I read these stories from time to time because I just do I feel strong about it just part of my personal responsibility I have my own memories of survivors I loved They ve died nowbut I had them in my life growing up As a child, I never knew the the scope of their past suffering Maybe I wasn t suppose to then They were exceptional women I DON T FORGET I know we say these words we don t forget I really don t Caroline Moorhead s diligent research for this book must definitely be applauded

  2. says:

    A Train in Winter tells the fascinating story of the French resistance during World War II The author, Caroline Moorland, focuses her book on the women of the French resistance These women might not wield guns or plant bombs, but they do house refugees in their hotels, print papers in their basements, and hand out flyers in the streets These women chose to risk their lives rather than run to safety or simply endure The women are grandmothers, mothers, daughters, and children, and all are drawn into the fight for different reasons Some women fight for their children s futures Others fight for those who are being oppressed Others still fight because they wish to continue the work of their arrested husbands, brothers, and fathers A Train in Winter follows these women as they endure arrests at the hands of both the French and Nazis, torture and starvation in the death camps, and watching as all those they hold dear die around them Reading the introduction and book jacket, I expected something entirely different from A Train in Winter I expected the author to focus on the personal experiences of the women in the resistance and less on the overarching, historical events Unfortunately, there are a minimum of fifty women mentioned in A Train in Winter, making it impossible for the reader to connect with any of the women I would have much preferred Moorland to focus on several women rather than including everyone The book would have been much better if she had alternated between chapters with background information and chapters with selections from her interviews As it was, I couldn t keep anyone straight and felt no connection to the women or their stories The book lacked a sense of purpose and strength because of this excess of information It became merely a dry, history book about an interesting topic, instead of the celebration of women and the friendships that kept them alive.

  3. says:

    Updated 8 5 13 see link at bottom Paris had become a city of collaborators, both open and hidden, anti Semites, anti Freemasons, repentant communists and right wing Catholics, who had hated Blum s Front Populaire and felt than a sneaking admiration for the German cult of youthful valour, orderliness and heroism Thankfully there were people who stood tall against the madness A Train in Winter is a moving and devastating story of a group of two hundred thirty incredibly brave French women, part of the Resistance during World War II The train of the title is the one that transported them to the first of the Nazi run camps in which they would be imprisoned The first part of the book tells of the transition from the initial days of German occupation through a period when the people began to realize just what they were in for, to a fuller realization of what the Nazis were about, and with that the growth of the French Resistance This is interesting material I had had no idea, for example, that Occupied France had been divided into two zones by the Nazis, or that while most government agencies were taken over, some were not Crossing the internal frontier became a significant element of the resistance and farmers wives were central in this aspect of the struggle, whether smuggling materiel or people.Young Parisian women engaged in a wide range of resistance activities right under the noses of the Nazi occupiers Distribution of newsletters and posters was prime When groups of mesdemoiselles rested from biking outings their rest periods were political meetings Vichy s head, Petain s, dim view of women influenced women, who had increasingly been gaining liberties in pre Nazi France Writing bred demonstrations, which bred writing, which bred I found the story telling somewhat stiff for the tale up to here, but when hundreds of women are arrested and transported to a prison in Romainville outside Paris, the story gains in fluidity A Train in Winter is a tale of survival among death, of heroism amidst depravity, of courage amidst fear, of love in a world of hate and of the power of libert , egalit , and sororit within the most hellish conditions The women see and endure unspeakable things at an unbelievable scale every day for years From Romainville the survivors are transported to Aushwitz Birkenau Most would never leave Even if you have seen or read about the goings on at such places, there are dark new revelations in store There appears to be no bottom to the depths of human depravity Moorehead s portrayal of the women s experiences kept me in tears, both of sympathy and of rage Almost as maddening as the concentration and extermination camps was the post war environment in which, after offering support to the survivors, France opted to turn a blind eye to the past DeGaulle, pushing his myth of France as a country of united resisters betrayed by a handful of traitors, needed national amnesia The gaunt sickly deportees were an unwelcome reminder that in five weeks the Germans had crushed what had been considered one of the finest armies in the world and that during four years of occupation, it was the French themselves who had rounded up and interned Jews and resisters, before sending them to their death in PolandSome of the two hundred thirty survived The life to which they returned was not as happy as they had hoped and Moorehead s telling is as moving as are her stories of life in the camps There is much to learn here World War II is arguably the most important event in the 20th century and not only are we still learning new things about it all the time, we must keep alive the memories we already have A Train in Winter offers a new look at an old story It is illuminating, horrifying and sad, but it is an important and, in its way, a beautiful book, showing how hope, focus and commitment can join to keep at least some light burning in the darkness EXTRA STUFFA wonderful interview with Moorehead from the Sydney Writers Project, on the genesis and writing of the book Excellent material

  4. says:

    In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the great Irish poet Seamus Heaney, whom we have lost this sad August morning, writes this In one of the poems best known to students in my generation, a poem which could be said to have taken the nutrients of the symbolist movement and made them available in capsule form, the American poet Archibald MacLeish affirmed that A poem should be equal to not true As a defiant statement of poetry s gift for telling truth but telling it slant, this is both cogent and corrective Yet there are times when a deeper need enters, when we want the poem to be not only pleasurably right but compellingly wise, not only a surprising variation played upon the world, but a re tuning of the world itself We want the surprise to be transitive like the impatient thump which unexpectedly restores the picture to the television set, or the electric shock which sets the fibrillating heart back to its proper rhythm We want what the woman wanted in the prison queue in Leningrad, standing there blue with cold and whispering for fear, enduring the terror of Stalin s regime and asking the poet Anna Akhmatova if she could describe it all, if her art could be equal to it And this is the want I too was experiencing in those far protected circumstances in Co Wicklow when I wrote the lines I have just quoted, a need for poetry that would merit the definition of it I gave a few moments ago, as an order true to the impact of external reality and sensitive to the inner laws of the poet s being True to the impact of external reality is what this heartbreaking and necessary book a true testament to courage and human dignity is from start to finish I still believe, as the few women who survived did when they returned from Auschwitz Birkenau, that language will never be able to translate the horror that took place in the camps but the words in this account are as tangible and true as they can possibly be I was particularly shaken by the account of the survivors return to daily life and its ultimate impossibility The massive sadness that settles in when you realize that after having fought so hard to survive hell, normal life and its joys and pleasures are forever lost to you.I am honored to have met these women and pronounced their names in my head I am deeply humbled by their sacrifice and in awe of their humanity.

  5. says:

    So the first half was chock full of names and dates like many nonfiction books that bore me to death But I knew from reading other reviews not to judge too quickly These were 230 women of all occupations, backgrounds, and aged 15 67 French women suspected of resistance, communism, or a variety of offenses All were very interesting in their own right But I ended up wishing the author had chosen to focus only on a handful of the women to tell the story of the group I knew the females depicted were a rare breed, fighting for France, fighting for their futures, their lives, for each other Rounded up and eventually sent to Auschwitz, and later Ravensbr ck, you know not all will survive but we also come to know how brave and strong they were I loved how strong a bond the women all formed, interminable friendships where they put each others welfare ahead of their own, time after time after time.For those who did survive and made it home, life was not always easy as they relived the atrocities in their minds and missed their friends tremendously Some could not forget or move on One said, Looking at me one would think that I m alive I m not alive I died in Auschwitz, but no one knows it This became available on audio at the same time I was reading Lilac Girls, and there are many similarities of time and place If you have read The Nightingale and if you haven t, you should , you will also be reminded of those heroic women.

  6. says:

    I think I d have enjoyed reading this book no matter what but I was particularly happy to read it with my reading buddy Diane, and glad that she wanted to read slowly through the book it made the reading experiencing really fun, if I can use that word, and absorbing and thinking about the information interesting I ve read extensively about the Holocaust, but I learned so much from this book I knew little of the treatment of French women Communists and other Nazi resistors I m fascinated with this history I must admit as I read about what befell these women in various places at various times, I found myself thinking about the Jews, and the times, places, events, ways they were being murdered on a parallel timeline with the events in this book.I was riveted to the account from the start, though the list of names was long and, as I predicted, I sometimes lost track of details about particular people I resisted taking notes though, and that s where my buddy came in handy, sometimes interjecting information such as these two women had been friends before the war and providing the page number I did enjoy that but was too lazy to try to remember all the details Even without them, I feel as though I got to know these women, and particularly their friendship, which was a character itself It s really a book about the friendship among the group of women, how they were a unit of sorts While I often forget connections and pre war activities, I remained engrossed in the book and felt I got than the gist I was thrilled with the two maps and all the photographs I wised for even Those included really enhanced the reading experience for me.I found myself wanting to know each of the women s fates and my reading buddy Diane alerted me to one page in the back of the book that listed surviving women who were still alive and were interviewed or their family members interviewed for the book, and that s when I found the complete list those women, in alphabetical order the women who survived and then in alphabetical order the women who did not survive I wanted to find out and to bear witness, so I pretty much stopped reading the book proper and, even though I knew I d forget specifics and have to refer back to names as I read about them in the book, I read the lists It was highly disturbing, even reading the fates of the survivors left me feeling extremely sad Real life horror show I knew how what the Nazis did have affected than that one generation but it was powerful to see it spelled out in simple list form It was hard to avoid using profanity when trying to absorb the facts I m really glad that the fates, with a bit of detail, of all the women were revealed Even though I wasn t willing to create it, in addition to the lists of women at the end, I wouldn t have minded lists at the beginning, showing why the women were arrested, who knew who before capture, etc.I know in some cases it wasn t possible to tell of certain women because of the lack of information and for those women I m grateful their existence was noted, but for those women who had a lot known about them, I longed for detailed information about their pre war and post war lives However the entity of them as a group, of the friendship as the main character was powerful The juxtaposition of how different people and groups dealt with Nazi occupation was told effectively and I find the subject fascinating I was amazed at how brave most of these women were Because they were not Jewish known Jews almost all could have avoided concentration camps, and once they were imprisoned I was so impressed with the big, unexpected, all kinds of kindnesses, often at their own peril and or deprivation, and often even at risk of saving their own lives Talk about true friendship Whenever reading about the Nazis I always admired the resistors but this time around I kept wondering if mothers of young children really should have been so boldly participating I am in awe of what they did but a part of me wanted anyone who could stay safe and hopefully still do some good to do so.These French women went through a lot of the almost unimaginable suffering that the targeted groups Jews, Gypsies, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, homosexual, etc did I m still glad that at the end, when summing up, the Jews were mentioned and the reader saw how they fared re return rate, and re France s collaboration and the prevalent anti Semitism, re overall how they fared worse, and given how these women fared, that was very, very badly I respect this account even for all it tried to cover I felt so sad to read the fates of the women, not only those who didn t survive, but also those who did survive I kept wondering what if they d had modern day post traumatic stress treatments in 1945 whether some could have greatly benefited, even though I have no illusions that they would be anything other than horribly damaged in many ways So horrifying what humans can do to others I really enjoyed this book but I was left profoundly sad, and also profoundly impressed, and very angry about what happened to these women I think it s an important story and I m very glad that it s now down on paper I might have given it 5 stars had I gotten to know at least some of the women better than I did These sorts of accounts always have me soul searching about just how brave I d be, just how altruistic I d be, just how ethically I d behave given similar dire circumstances.

  7. says:

    This is a powerful book and one that will stay with me for a very long time A disturbing account of the atrocities that took place during WW2 A story about friendship, passion and survival Women who were involved in the resistance movement of occupied France by the Germans the steps they took to stand up and fight for their country and where it landed them on a train bound for a concentration camp All 230 of them This is a story of the depth of love these women had for each other how they protected each other during the darkest days when death was at times seconds away How friendship was what gave these women life helped them to survive The darkest days followed by darker ones upon the return of only 49 when happiness became elusive with constant reminders of the horror and loved ones lost and the debilitating diseases and illness the years in the camp left them with Survival doesn t always mean happiness as one survivor stated to forget would be an act of betrayal Thank you Caroline Moorehead for writing this.

  8. says:

    A powerful and intense read covering the Nazi takeover of France and the early days of the French Resistance and underground communism movement Although it is always difficult to read any book covering the Nazi atrocities and this book is no exception, it is also so much There is generosity in the face of adversity, self sacrifice and friendships that help many of the woman get through their imprisonment at Auschwitz Although way to many died, still than average lived, the care these woman took of each other was awe inspiring This book deserves to be widely read and these women deserve to be remembered.

  9. says:

    A very fascinating and well written account of 230 women from France that stood up and took part in the Resistance The book follows them on the journey of German occupation of France to their fate up to and after the liberation of the concentration camps The author did what great authors do and that is impose thought and reflection on what you ve read There were a lot of questions that were raised for me that will give cause to research and learn about the many topics discussed I think about how many Holocaust memoirs and accounts I ve read and I realize that even if it s now at 30 to 40, in relation to the 6 million Jewish lives and millions of others lost during the commission of these atrocities, I ve read about less than 1% of the stories of those who perished or were victims who survived only to wish they hadn t It was not long after Charlotte Delbo came home to Paris that she began to write about the German camps Much of it was in verse I ve come back from another world, she wrote,to this worldI had not leftand I know notwhich one is realAs far as I m concernedI m still theredying therea little each daydying over againthe death of those who diedI have returnedfrom a world beyond knowledgeand now must learnfor otherwise I clearly seeI can no longer live page 476Here are thoughts I shared throughout the book as commented on in a buddy read thread in the WWII reading group I have hidden due to spoilers so click the link to read view spoiler There is a large volume of women and men of the Resistance introduced in the first 4 chapters At first I was quite overwhelmed with trying to keep them all straight and remember their individual story lines What I found rewarding was that I went back and reread the preface and had gained and retained about those men and women Moorehead introduced than I thought I had That s a testament to her writing style and the dedication she has shown in telling their story in a way that has brought them to life.The first four chapters do provide an excellent look into the mood and temperament of the Germans and how that changed from that of almost blending in during June of 1940 to and oppressive as time went by and the Resistance became active and combative The description of the atmosphere in the beginning of chapter one was surprising to me, as I thought that at the onset of occupation that the Germans were immediately oppressive The Parisians were also surprised as relayed in the following passage What surprised the Parisians, standing in little groups along the Champs Elysees to watch the German soldiers take over their city in the early hours of 14 June 1940, was how youthful and healthy they looked Tall, fair, clean shaven, the young men marching to the sounds of a military band to the Arc de Triomphe were observed to be wearing uniforms of good cloth and gleaming boots made of real leather The coats of the horses pulling the cannons glowed It seemed not an invasion but a spectacle Paris itself was calm and almost totally silent Other than the steady waves of tanks, motorised infantry and troops, nothing moved And when they had stopped staring, the Parisians returned to their homes and waited to see what would happen A spirit of holding on, doing nothing, watching, settled over the city This passage is a testament to the artistry and the spectacle of the German army in it s heyday There is no denying that the soldiers were impeccably dressed and polished and were able to draw crowds just by the massive size and artistic spectacle of their marches and parades Their rapid succession of victories gave them much to hold their heads high as they were feeling that they were invincible and the vision of a 1000 year Reich seemed entirely possible at this point in the war In looking at those initial days of occupation, after reading the first four chapters of the book, I realized that the manner in which they conducted themselves in the initial stages of occupation was actually quite smart By coming in on their best behavior, respecting personal property and shortly lifting the curfew, this approach limited the mass hysteria and immediate revolt that was anticipated by Germans I wasn t surprised though that there were those that committed suicide as soon as the Germans crossed into the city based on the horror stories that were rampant from the invasion of Poland.I haven t read much on the Vichy government that was formed, however I knew that Petain was quite a revolting leader The I m reading about him the I m sickened as to the betrayal of his fellow countrymen and his alliance with the Nazis I thought it was also interesting that the first signs of the resistance began to show when the ashes of Napoleon s son were returned from exile in Vienna and in the midst of all the fanfare there were posters up stating Take back your little eagle, give us back our pigs It was amazing to read about the lengths that the women went to in order to fight in the Resistance, even placing their children in foster homes I can t imagine how difficult that decision must have been but it was a testament to how strongly they felt about not wanting their children to grow up under Nazi rule.Another part of history discussed in the book that I was not familiar with was the number of people who helped the refugees from the Spanish Civil War It has spawned a new interest to learn about Franco and that war.Great quote from Jean Texcier s Manual of Dignity Husband your anger, for you may need it Don t feel you have to give the Germans the right directions when they ask you the way these are not your walking companions And above all, have no illusions these men are not tourists How quickly things changed once June 22, 1941 brought on the invasion of the Soviet Union The majority of the Resistance members being discussed are communists and I thought that it was unbelievable how those who were opponents of Hitler felt communists were considered pariahs Then overnight, those same people were no longer seen to be in league with the enemy now that the Nazi Soviet pact was dissolved.An interesting though on the concept of terrorism came up during discussion as to how it is applied, depending on the circumstances I was thinking about the Nuremburg Trials being the first where atrocities against man committed during war were tried with sentences of death carried out In the case of the outcome of WWII, it was Germany that was held accountable However, there were plenty of crimes against humanity carried out by the Russians, French and other Allied soldiers, yet these countries were not held accountable If taken to the extreme, the US and Britain could be seen as carrying out such atrocities when you consider the complete destruction of Hamburg and its innocent civilians as well as other cities throughout Europe that were attacked by carpet bombing I m not suggesting at all that I feel that this accountability should have happened, but it is an argument that I m sure was made by the Germans This then got me thinking about the political beliefs of the women imprisoned together Those that were die hard communists were loyal to Russia and were anxious for the Russians to come to their rescue What is unique to the times is the level of naivete that was able to exist when the truth was so much easier to hide and propaganda was so widespread These women wanted to believe all that was good in the communist ideals that they held dear but lived in the dark as to the crimes perpetrated by and for Stalin The same can be said for the Nazi sympathizers who believed in the concept of National Socialism but had very limited knowledge and understanding as to the crimes that were being committed in the name of Hitler and what he really stood for.I got quite a chuckle at the description of the demarcation lines and how they even cut through a building Moorehead s ability to weave such a moving narrative as to the bonds of friendship that developed among the women is a common aspect throughout this book It just broke my heart when I would read about and Resistance fighters being captured and was so devastated when the final group of men were taken away to be executed and the notes that were left behind to their wives were read.There definitely was ingenuity that was required to help deliver communication, weapons, people, etc I couldn t believe the number of women who had been caught and sent to prison, released and still had the courage and determination to continue to fight for the Resistance New topics to further explore I was glad to read the mention of the Vel d hiv roundup but disappointed it was only in passing I am also really interested in learning about Pierre Napoleon Poinsot He really sounds like he was a ruthless character I also would like to learn about Pierre Laval the creep who proposed adding women and children, not least because when the convoys left children behind, the frantic scenes of desperate parents upset the police pg 201Memorable quotes and passagesA quote that really cracked me up was when the subject of jokes about the Nazis was discussed and the one about the test for a true Aryan, A true Aryan must be blond like Hitler, slender like Goring, tall like Goebbels, young like Petain, and honest like Laval pg 55One passage that really made me ill was in regards to who decided the method of rail transport that would be used The Germans had not actually asked for the cattle trucks this initiative came from the French railways, the SNCF It was on French trains, driven by French engine drivers, that deportees were conveyed to the border pg 200A passage that warmed my heart was on the same page when discussing the reaction and solidarity by other French people, The compulsory wearing of the yellow star by Jews saw a flowering of other yellow symbols, worn by non Jews, patches of material shaped like roses or rosettes and pinned on to clothes In Paris, the zazous, the youthful, flamboyant admirers of jazz, in their quirky clothes and dark glasses, took to adding a yellow star to their outfits Now, perhaps than ever before, the full meaning of occupation was impossible to ignore 42,500 Jews already deported to the death camps, and not one of the trains bearing them there derailed by the Resistance page 280Reading of the atrocities against the women of the Resistance and France s decision to move on after the war was over, it reminded me that I have been wanting to read The Rape of Nanking for a long time now and need to move it up on my list I know of the topic but have not done any extensive reading on it, but I think it s a great example of a country not taking responsibility for their actions and owning up to the atrocities committed In contrast with Japan, in many ways I feel the German people of today still feel like the actions and atrocities committed by the Nazis will forever tarnish their country s image and history but at least the government has imposed some very strict guidelines to thwart the resurgence of Neo Nazis At the time, pre 24 hour news cycle, facebook, twitter, etc, many crimes and atrocities were much easier to hide from the general public I visited a Holocaust museum in St Peterburg, FL back when I lived in Tampa and I had a wide range of emotions This was before I started studying and doing a lot of reading on WWII and the Holocaust and I was predominantly in a state of shock over what I witnessed I think if I was to go back and visit again today, or visit any other Holocaust museum, my reaction would be deep seated in anger at the Nazis and SS I watched a documentary several years ago called Forgiving Dr Mengele What an incredible and a thought provoking documentary It really begs the question of what forgiveness really means A definite must see for anyone familiar with the Holocaust and the role Dr Mengele played at Auschwitz concentration camp.This documentary deals with some of the surviving twins that served as experimental guinea pigs for the infamous Dr Mengele who meet once again nearly 50 years later to discuss what his atrocities did to their lives even after leaving Auschwitz It is a heartbreaking story but one that needed to be told The idea and the concept of forgiveness is different for everyone and as one of the survivors pointed out, she didn t feel one could find forgiveness while still in the midst of fighting for one s life But for many of the survivors, even fifty years after the liberation of the camp, there is still no room for forgiveness in their heart.One thing I wasn t aware of was that the Soviets opened a Gulag right after the liberation I can t imagine how anyone in their right mind would even contemplate using those camps again for any reason I m in shock Chapters 10 13 for those who have read extensively on the Holocaust will not really learn a lot of new information, but it s gut wrenching to read about what these women lived through and or the conditions in which they died It was so sad to read how one by one, those who came in with a mother or sister each ended up alone The description of the women standing outside for hours and hours waiting for roll call to begin with their legs swelling and their feet freezing was so horrible I had quite a sickening reaction when reading the passage that spoke to the bowls and why the women were warned not to eat from them The horror that must have struck those women when the lorry of bodies first drove by and they noticed that not everyone was dead I also wondered about the shock that must have hit the women upon seeing their reflection in the mirror after surviving Auschwitz.In the book there is a picture of the guards of Auschwitz all standing together laughing that just made me ill There was so much hypocrisy in the camps from the sign on the gates of Arbeit Macht Frei to the symphonies played upon the arrival of new prisoners to give the air that everything was fine and to keep the panic from spreading.The heinous experiments that were performed on the 75 Polish girls by Professor Gebhardt was something I had not read about yet I didn t realize he was called in to treat Heydrich after his accident I will have to do some research on him I just finished reading The 900 Days The Siege Of Leningrad back in December and the calculation of the daily calorie allotment for all of the citizens was constantly a huge concern Quite a bit of detail was covered as to the difficult decision of how many calories needed to be cut as food started to run out and how many citizens and soldiers would die as a result One of the things that isn t stressed as much as I feel it should be in this book is the consequences of a lack of clean water to drink and how filthy water or lack of adequate water led to and quicker deaths than the eventual starvation from lack of food.I often wonder if I would have had the courage and strength to be a part of an underground movement or survive in a camp While there are so many things in everyone s life that are stressful and there are many people who are homeless and hungry in the US, the modern conveniences that are a part of most all of our lives in this country and our dependence on them makes me feel like it would be an even harder transition to be interned I don t feel that most really know what true sacrifice and physical and mental hardship means to the degree that was suffered during that time by those in the camps and citizens in areas being bombed and occupied That blessing is due to those who fought and sacrificed during and since WWI and WWII for those back home and for future generations.I have a couple of criticisms on the second half of the book 1 There are many broad generalizations about groups of people without additional commentary to back up the generalizations Case in point would be the statements that indicate those who were communists had an edge over those who held other political beliefs.2 I feel that while I was captivated in the first part of the book and there was a sort of cliffhanger effect at the end of chapter 8, I felt a little let down that the book shifted so drastically in Chapter 9 through 13 It may just be that I wasn t ready to leave the story of the Resistance behind When I finished the book I had to step away before following up with my final thoughts and review of the book I have read quite a few books on the Holocaust and I m not sure what made me so angry after having finished the last 2 chapters of the book It may be that I ve never done a buddy read with someone on a Holocaust book and some of my pontifications really got the best of me.I don t think it was De Gaulle s intention to come off as callous as he did, but it must have been quite a blow to those survivors who were told, in essence, that they just needed to move on and let the country heal Repatriation must have been very traumatic for the survivors as well as those family members who never recaptured essence of the love one they once knew Very few of survivors listed at the end of the book were able to find happiness in their lives after they returned home The impact goes on for generations I recently read a great memoir called Motherland Beyond the Holocaust A Mother Daughter Journey to Reclaim the Past The book really dealt with the relationship of a mother who survived the Holocaust and her daughter and their journey together to go back to Germany to try and her mother make peace with the past of 54 years ago The that I read, the I want to understand how the minds of so many can turn against other human beings My anger is also directed at my own country and myself for conveniently, though not consciously, sweeping some of the ugly aspects of the history of the United States under the carpet in many instances The state I m living in right mow was one of the strongest supporters of the eugenics movement, forming a board back in 1933 which imposed forced sterilization on those ruled mentally defective and this eugenics board in NC wasn t repealed until 2003 Additionally, the internment of Japenese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor was horrendous Families lost everything based on racial profiling The KKK is still a practicing cult society in this country hell bent on racial purity and supremacy I m not saying that the US has outright denied any or all of these things, but I think especially in regards to the eugenics movement, that it is rarely brought up in the course of American history conversations Thus, in order to fully understand the thinking at the time, I also need to do reading and research on the country I am a native of in conjunction with continuing my research of other countries involved in WWII No one in war is innocent of all crimes and in many ways it is the declared victors who are better able to move away from the past and direct attention to those who waged war to begin with and lost.In the end, the author did what great authors do and that is impose thought and reflection on what you ve read There were a lot of questions that were raised for me that will give cause to research and learn about the many topics discussed I think about how many Holocaust memoirs and accounts I ve read and I realize that even if it s now at 30 to 40, in relation to the 6 million Jewish lives and millions of others lost during the commission of these atrocities, I ve read less than 1% of the stories of those who perished or were victims who survived only to wish they hadn t hide spoiler

  10. says:

    A Train in Winter tells the story of women of the French Resistance who were arrested and sentenced to prison and then transported to concentration camps during WWII A non fictionalized account of the French women who endured a harrowing experience that I personally have not read about before These women fought for communism and freedom, fighting to keep Paris alive during the Nazi invasion Sent to Auschwitz and then onto Ravensbruck, these women endured, some perished carrying their stories and visions on the weight of their shoulders Disappearing into skeletons and contracting Typus, Dysentry, and TB they perished A book showing the reader the torture that these women went through and maintained some fight to survive The aftermath of WWII was almost heartbreaking for me to read These survivors came home to nothing and no one Some lost their entire families, houses, and money They struggled with ongoing health issues and depression I found Part 1 to be a struggle too many facts, names, places, and details that didn t bring forth the underlying narrative wanting to break free from the minutiae Finally, once I got into Part 2 the narrative picked up, making me interested in finishing this book The writing was filled with facts and little stories making up one larger one I felt it was difficult at times to remember the different characters as only a few seemed to rise above the rest of the text The timing also seemed to go back and forth with each story instead on one fluid chronological passage Overall, a book about a portion of WWII that I did not know about would recommend to those that enjoy this time period.

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