editor's choice




Eva Mozes Kor’s The Twins of Auschwitz is an extraordinary piece of memoir. Aged ten, Romanian Jews Eva and her sister, Miriam, survived the gas chambers because of one small genetic factor: they were twins. Selected to be part of Dr Josef Mengele’s scientific experiments, Eva and Miriam were ripped from their mother’s arms. They never saw their parents nor older sisters, Edit and Aliz, again, and what Eva and Miriam were to endure in the years that followed, beggars belief. Yet it is fact.

An honest, simply told account, The Twins of Auschwitz tells of Eva and Miriam’s fight for survival, enduring the most horrific experimentation at Mengele, the Angel of Death’s hands. It’s a tale of courage, of the supreme will to live.

We live in a confessional world in which moments of ‘bravery’ are recounted pretty much every second of every day, through social media, papers, reality TV, but it’s such a misused word, appropriated to condone acts that sometimes aren’t that courageous or even true. Eva Mozes Kor’s courage is awe-inspiring, not just in writing and speaking about the most terrifying of times, of losing her loved ones to hatred and bigotry, but also of being trapped in a world gone mad, in which evil had a face and the twins, and too many others like them, were tortured daily in the bastardised name of science.

Eva’s true courage, however, can be seen in her very public act of forgiveness to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, something she spoke about and advocated for until her death in 2019. That is bravery, and grace, on a scale that’s impossible to measure.

The Twins of Auschwitz is a harrowing read, but it’s a necessary one, necessary so that we might never forget the depths of evil to which humankind can sink. I would like to believe such acts will never happen again, but history has shown they already have.

Highly recommended.


The Twins of Auschwitz | | Monoray | paperback | £7.99 | August 2020

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EVA MOZES KOR. Following her survival of Auschwitz, she became a recognised speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics related to the Holocaust and social justice. Eva created the CANDLES organisation in 1985 to locate other Mengele twins and found 122 twins across the world. Ten years later, she opened the CANDLES Holocaust Museum to educate the public about the historic event she survived. A community leader, champion of human rights, and tireless educator, Eva has been covered in numerous media outlets and is the subject of a documentary, Forgiving Dr Mengele. She passed away in 2019.

Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the book tour organised by Random Things Tours, a little bit later than anticipated due to Broadband failing us on an epic level. Many reviews, emails and other important things suffered during this challenging time. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation. Thanks to the publisher for supplying a book proof. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved. Please check out the other reviews on this tour.

See also: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’; ‘Damian Barr’s XX’;  ‘Chris Whitaker’s small-town America’; ‘Nora Roberts’ Sanctuary: an Old Familiar’; Carver’s Nothing Important Happened Today’; By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Yvonne Battle-Fenton’s Remembered‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

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