A Delayed Life: The True Story of the Librarian at Auschwitz

Feiwel & Friends. Feb. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9781250760890. $24.99.. MEMOIR
Kraus tells her story of growing up in the Czechoslovakia during World War II. At 14, Kraus and her family were first sent to the ghetto of Terezín, followed by Auschwitz and, later, manual labor at Neuengamme. She movingly describes experiencing crushing hunger and thirst when locked in Bergen-Belsen for three days with no food or water save a dripping bathroom pipe after the camp was abandoned. Recounting life after the war, Kraus relays how she and her husband were targeted owing to her husband’s successful business in Prague. The couple fled to Israel in the 1950s, a country still in its infancy as far as infrastructure. The subtitle is an allusion to Antonio Iturbe and Lilit Thwaite’s novel The Library of Auschwitz, based on the true story of Kraus’s experience of smuggling books into Auschwitz. A Delayed Life makes passing reference to Kraus’s role as librarian in Auschwitz, and those interested in learning more about Kraus can continue their reading with Iturbe and Thwaite’s work.
VERDICT A story of survival that is rare in its coverage of life before and after the Holocaust, addressing the difficult question of what comes after such tragedy.
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