The Nazis Knew My Name: A Remark­able Sto­ry of Sur­vival and Courage in Auschwitz

  • From the Publisher
September 1, 2020
The extra­or­di­nar­i­ly mov­ing mem­oir of Mag­da Hellinger, a holo­caust sur­vivor who saved an untold num­ber of lives in her forced lead­er­ship posi­tion at Auschwitz through every­day acts of courage and kind­ness.

In April 1942, at the age of 25, kinder­garten teacher Mag­da Hellinger was deport­ed from her home­town in Slo­va­kia along with 998 oth­er young women. They were some of the first Jews to be sent to the Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp. Very few would sur­vive the next three years until lib­er­a­tion.

The SS soon dis­cov­ered that by putting pris­on­ers in day-to-day charge of the accom­mo­da­tion blocks and even the camps at large‚ so called Block­alteste and Lager­al­teste respec­tive­ly‚ they could both reduce the num­ber of guards required to use these lead­ers” to deflect atten­tion away from them­selves. Mag­da was one such Jew­ish pris­on­er select­ed for lead­er­ship.

Like many oth­ers dur­ing the war she found her­self con­stant­ly tread­ing a fine line: how to save lives‚ if only a few at a time‚ while avoid­ing being too soft: and like­ly sent to the gas cham­bers. Through her own inner strength and inge­nu­ity, she was able to rise above the hor­ror and cru­el­ty of the camps and build piv­otal rela­tion­ships with the women under her watch, and some of Auschwitz’s most noto­ri­ous Nazi senior offi­cers.

Based on Mag­da’s own per­son­al account and com­plet­ed by her daugh­ter’s exten­sive research, this awe-inspir­ing sto­ry offers us incred­i­ble insight into human nature under the pres­sure to sur­vive, the pow­er of resilience, and the good­ness that can shine through even in the most hor­rif­ic of conditions.

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