Sur­viv­ing the Angel of Death

Eva Mozes Kor and Lisa Rojany Buccieri
  • Review
By – September 19, 2011
Eva and Miri­amMozes were just 10 years old when their fam­i­ly was sent to Auschwitz. When their par­ents and old­er sis­ters were sent to the gas cham­bers, their lives were spared and because they were twins, they became sub­jects of Dr. Josef Mengele’s exper­i­ments. In Sur­viv­ing the Angel of Death, Eva recounts the har­row­ing ordeals she and Miri­am faced. She pro­vides plen­ty of detail, though there are gaps she can­not fill in — for exam­ple, she was delib­er­ate­ly infect­ed with a dis­ease Men­gele expect­ed to be fatal so that he could kill Miri­am when Eva died and com­pare the healthy body to the dis­eased one. She sur­vived, though she still does not know what ill­ness he gave her. Even after the camp was lib­er­at­ed, Eva and Miri­am did not have an easy time. They even­tu­al­ly went to Israel, and then to Amer­i­ca. Eva describes her dif­fi­cult ear­ly years in Indi­ana and the anti- Semi­tism she faced. In 1984, Eva and Miri­am found­ed a sup­port group for peo­ple who had been vic­tims of Mengele’s sadis­tic exper­i­ments, and in 1995 Eva opened a Holo­caust muse­um in Terre Haute, Indi­ana. (She is also known as the sub­ject of a recent con­tro­ver­sial doc­u­men­tary enti­tled For­giv­ing Dr. Men­gele” which high­lights her ideas about jus­tice, revenge and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of heal­ing through for­give­ness.) Kor and Buccieri include maps to help read­ers place the events and pho­tos to help make the peo­ple seem more real. Though painful to read, Sur­viv­ing the Angel of Death pro­vides an infor­ma­tive first-hand account of the har­row­ing expe­ri­ences of one set of twins at Auschwitz. For ages 14 and up.
Mar­ci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, a BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and an MA in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries and is cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing her term on the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Committee.

Discussion Questions