The Midwife of Auschwitz by Anna Stuart

While I was in a publisher Facebook group, I saw The Midwife of Auschwitz being talked about.  While I was too late for the official book tour, I mentioned that I would love to read it and was told to request it on Netgalley even if I wasn't on the tour.  I didn't need to be told twice, so I requested it, downloaded it, and read it over the course of two nights.  It would have been one if I hadn't started too late.

Ana, a Polish midwife, and Ester, a young Jewish girl, have known each other for Ester's entire life.  In pre-war Poland, Ana delivered baby Ester as a new midwife.  Now they are being sent to Auschwitz, Ester because she is Jewish and Ana as part of a local Resistance.  Ana immediately announces herself as a midwife and declares that Ester is her assistant, saving both their lives.  As midwives, they are placed in an infirmary to help the prisoners deliver babies.  While most babies are not allowed to live, Ana discovers that some are perceived as German looking enough to be removed from the camp and devises a way to mark them in the hopes of reuniting them with their mothers someday.

Now, if the book is marketed as WW2 women's fiction, I'm probably going to read it.  And I'm so glad that this is my policy because The Midwife of Auschwitz is definitely worth the read.  Based loosely on a true story of a Polish midwife who really was imprisoned at Auschwitz, the novel shows another side to the camps that most people would not think of.  Both women who were married and women who would be assaulted were sent to the camps. Births would likely be an inevitable part of camp life and some babies would at least survive that process, so what next?

In general, I find most books on WW2 a valuable read for anyone.  The Midwife of Auschwitz shows the darkest parts of humanity as well as a glimmer of hope.