The Nazis Knew My Name: A Remarkable Story of Survival and Courage in Auschwitz by Magda Hellinger, Maya Lee
With David Brewster
The “thought-provoking…must-read” (Ariana Neumann, author of When Time Stopped) memoir by a Holocaust survivor who saved an untold number of lives at Auschwitz through everyday acts of courage and kindness—in the vein of A Bookshop in Berlin and The Nazi Officer’s Wife.
In March 1942, twenty-five-year-old kindergarten teacher Magda Hellinger and nearly a thousand other young women were deported as some of the first Jews to be sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp.
The SS soon discovered that by putting prisoners in charge of the day-to-day accommodation blocks, they could deflect attention away from themselves. Magda was one such prisoner selected for leadership and put in charge of hundreds of women in the notorious Experimental Block 10. She found herself constantly walking a dangerously fine line: saving lives while avoiding suspicion by the SS and risking execution. Through her inner strength and shrewd survival instincts, she was able to rise above the horror and cruelty of the camps and build pivotal relationships with the women under her watch, and even some of Auschwitz’s most notorious Nazi senior officers.
Based on Magda’s personal account and completed by her daughter’s extensive research, this is “an unputdownable account of resilience and the power of compassion” (Booklist) in the face of indescribable evil.
Year first published: 2022