A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead
November 16, 2011 § 7 Comments
In January 1943 two hundred and thirty women who had bravely fought as a part of the French Resistance were sent to Auschwitz. These were women who spanned many occupations and age groups, who fought for many different reasons. Yet, they all had one thing in common… They wanted to free their country from German rule. A Train in Winter is the story that illustrates just what these women endured.
The book starts out a bit slow, but Moorehead does a great job of setting the stage for the reader and introducing many of the players involved. Regardless of the opening, the book really starts to set its hooks into you after the first few chapters. It is nearly impossible to set the book down once you start to read about what these women sacrificed for their cause, the fear they overcame in order to do what they felt was necessary.
Moorehead does not shy away from the cruel or the heartbreaking. Having met with a few of the survivors still alive, the families of survivors who have since passed, and much research into the topic, she paints a brutally honest picture of the events surrounding the capture and subsequent encampment of these women. What they had to undergo is not something that’s easy to digest, but then the story wouldn’t mean nearly as much without being so true to what she learned about their experiences.
If the stories from the survivors didn’t make the book real enough, the pictures included in the book certainly serve to make the story that much more real and unforgettable. You are able to put faces to names and picture the torturous conditions all the more clearly. When you learn that only forty-nine of the two hundred and thirty women are able to make it out of the camps alive it really hits home.
A Train in Winter is not a book you are going to read and forget about, it is a book that is going to stay with you and make you realize just what we are capable of even in the worst possible conditions. This is the story of women who were stronger than most people will ever have to be and who supported each other in an attempt to survive the cruelest conditions a person could find themselves in. In one sentence, this is a book that everyone should read.
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