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Born Survivors

Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope
Written by: Wendy Holden
Narrated by: Elizabeth Wiley
Length: 13 hrs and 8 mins
Categories: History, Europe
5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Eastern Europe, 1944: Three women believe they are pregnant, but are torn from their husbands before they can be certain. Rachel is sent to Auschwitz, unaware that her husband has been shot. Priska and her husband travel there together, but are immediately separated. Also at Auschwitz, Anka hopes in vain to be reunited with her husband. With the rest of their families gassed, these young wives are determined to hold on to all they have left-their lives, and those of their unborn babies. Having concealed their condition from infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele, they are forced to work and almost starved to death, living in daily fear of their pregnancies being detected by the SS.

In April 1945, Priska gives birth. She and her baby, along with Anka, Rachel, and the remaining inmates, are sent to Mauthausen concentration camp on a hellish train journey. Rachel gives birth on the train; Anka at the camp gates. All believe they will die-then a miracle occurs. The gas chamber runs out of Zyklon-B, and as the Allied troops near, the SS flee. Against all odds, the three mothers and their newborns survive their treacherous journey to freedom.

©2015 Wendy Holden (P)2017 Tantor

What the critics say

"An astonishing and deeply moving work." ( Booklist, Starred Review)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Narrator was Excellent

The story began like any holocaust story but the narrator kept you interested, as the storyline progressed you understood the sacrifices of these women, by the ending you wanted more. Thoroughly enjoyed.

3 people found this helpful

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An incredible journey of 3 women

This book was exceptional for describing the hardships and despair of women prisoners in concentration camps. I appreciated the stories of the backgrounds of those exceptional women, their loved ones and fellow heroines. I liked also the revealing of their journeys and the ones of their babies after liberation and later in life.

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Intriguing

The story line of the three women wove in and out seamlessly. Many of the situations and facts of the Holocaust were knew to me and again disturbing. Anyone who wants to know more about the Holocaust and be uplifted by the resilience of these women will not be disappointed. I fully recommend this book and although I am left with an amazement for the super human strength of these women, I am deeply disappointed in how we as humans are capable of such hate and atrocities. The narrator was excellent.

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Powerful Book

Even if you think you know a lot about Hitler’s persecution of the Jewish people, you will learn and feel a great deal more after reading this book. I am so sad that people are capable of treating others like this.
It is a true testimony to courage beyond any I have yet to have heard.

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Many facts I'd not heard before

Though their journey was devastating, by the end I was in awe and inspired by the resilient power of the human spirit.

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Emotional

Such an emotional story to hear. I am very into the holocaust as both my polish grandparents were involved and very of the few lucky ones that made it.

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  • PCF
  • 2017-06-03

Just an incredible story!

This book was incredible. All the details of how the three women ended up in concentration camps and how they came to give birth. It didn't seem possible that a baby could survive such an ordeal. As the story moves along you feel like you are a part of it. Sometimes joyful but often sad and tearful over what the Jews had to go through. Unimaginable. But the narrator brought this book to life like no book I have listened to before. I have the kindle book as well and expect to read through chapters now and then. The strongest three women I have ever heard about were the mothers giving birth in the true story.

19 people found this helpful

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  • courtney
  • 2017-04-24

AMAZING

What a wonderful read! Anyone who has an interest in learning about the Holocaust should read this! Such a touching account of the struggles of three brave women.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-03-20

Remember Never to Forget

This book stands as an important contribution to the volumes of literature that remembers and commemorates the Holocaust. As we lose the last members of the generations that endured and witnessed the unspeakable hate, torture, and murder of their loved ones, and lived to remember, we must continue to tell of the lives, experiences, and memories so that the atrocities visited upon Europe by the Nazis NEVER happen again.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Peter
  • 2017-05-25

A beautifully told story

On such a difficult topic I thought this was beautifully told. It's like I knew the people personally. Very moving and a must listen.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amanda Hickey
  • 2018-04-06

Heartbreaking yet Heartwarming


This story is heartbreaking. It’s not a typical novel of fiction. In fact, it’s based on true stories and the actual events that took place during Hitler’s reign. It’s the intertwined survival of families that endured the Holocaust. It’s very graphic yet extremely educational. There were parts of the novel that physically made me ill. I actually dreamed about these events after listening and it also put me in a melancholy mood for a couple of days. What I THOUGHT was horrible from the facts I learned through textbooks, wasn’t even close to how terrible it really was for these innocent people.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cindy
  • 2018-02-20

bookgirl

Amazing story. This book is a unique remembrance of a horrific chapter in human history. Hopefully never to be repeated. Well written with excellent narration.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lani
  • 2017-05-14

Wow.

Any additional comments?

What a moving story about three women who endured unthinkable odds. It's about mans inhumanity to man. I am fascinated by how we let this happen in our world. It's a very sad and depressing story but also one of triumph against all odds. I highly recommend but grab a tissue.

2 people found this helpful

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  • T. Jacobs
  • 2017-02-26

Epic.

Heart breakingly beautiful. These stories should be shared in schools. There is so much to learn from.

2 people found this helpful

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  • lana
  • 2017-02-24

the best survival book

best survival book that I have read and I have listened to Manny of them.I have never written a review this is my first. to be the mothers that went through the camps you have to read it to find out what happened to the children. the best history. I injoyed the narrator's change of voices

5 people found this helpful

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  • Lisa Agostino
  • 2020-01-02

Powerful, important, and relevant. The strength...

The strength of these women, and peoples. These stories are so important, as are the lessons. This book is such an important publication that needs to be shared and read by all! As times echo history, again and again... it is important that we hear stories of the horrendous and vile past, but also the strength and love that still were able to survive.

I also think it’s important for people to take a moment to sit in silence for all those in the book that were lost, and the entire families murdered and erased. Listen, seek truth, share.

1 person found this helpful