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My Enemy's Cradle
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My Enemy's Cradle

4.4 41
by Sara Young
 

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"In this compelling first novel set against the little known Nazi Lebensborn program, Sara Young creates a heroine the reader will not easily forget. MY ENEMY'S CRADLE goes to the very heart of hope and how it can survive in even the darkest and most dangerous of times." —Anne Leclaire, ENTERING NORMAL 

 

Cyrla's neighbors have begun to

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My Enemy's Cradle 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the 1st page, I enjoyed every minute reading this book! The story flowed well and the way she writes made every page engaging and interesting. I had never heard of these maternity homes during WWII so I found it very interesting. I was sorry when I finished the book! I look forward to more books from Sara Young! Write, Sara, write!
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Searing. Shocking. Unthinkable. Yes, all of these words apply to this story of the Nazi Lebensborn program. It is a wrenching true tale that has been seldom told. As related in a first-person narrative by Cyrla, a young half Jewish woman, it is heartbreaking. Her experience is unforgettable as author Young traces a story of innocents betrayed, neighbors who become enemies, and enemies who become friends. The Lebensborn was a maternity home for girls carrying the babies of German soldiers. In actuality, it was a series of homes scattered through Germany and other countries. There the girls went after passing stringent tests to make sure their bloodlines were pure. They also had to authenticate the father's identity and he, too, had to exhibit similar acceptable criteria. This was Hitler's way of perpetuating the Aryan race, and it was overseen by Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS. Once in a home the girls were well fed and cared for, brain washed if possible, and forced to swear loyalty to Hitler. An excellent way to prove such loyalty was to have another child as soon possible. What most of the girls did not realize was that their babies would be taken from them to be adopted by SS families. Of course, if the baby was born with even the slightest defect it simply disappeared. Cyrla was born in Poland. The child of a Jewish father and a Dutch mother. She lived with her father, his second wife, and two half-brothers. As the world darkened in Poland prior to World War II, her father thought it best to send her to Holland to live with her late mother's aunt. She had her mother's blond hair, and would be safe. Upon arriving in Holland she was not allowed to observe the Jewish holy days but kept track of them in her head. She and her cousin, Anneke, became as sisters, often mistaken for one another. Then in September of 1941 the Germans began posting restrictions for Jews. At that point, Cyrla's uncle did not want her in their home, after all, as he said to his wife, `She's your family. Not our family, yours.' Unbeknownst to anyone Anneke has fallen in love with a young German soldier, Karl, and soon becomes pregnant. But, when Karl leaves Holland without a goodbye and her father becomes enraged, threatening to send her away, she become distraught and dies in an attempt to abort her baby. It soon becomes clear that Cyrla cannot remain in Holland, and she is urged by a friend to try to reach England. However, she has another idea, a very dangerous one. Sara Young has crafted a harrowing story of one of the most tragic aspects of World War II. It is both haunting and unforgettable. - Gail Cooke
thewanderingjew More than 1 year ago
This is a very compelling book about World War II, told from an entirely different perspective. It is told not from the point of view of the war and the soldiers or the camps, but rather the innocent citizens caught up in the turmoil and terror. The main character, Cyrla, is a mischling, which is what Germans called a person of mixed heritage, one not totally Aryan. She is young, barely 19, and often because of her pride she is careless and foolish. Her mistakes endanger others. She might even be considered promiscuous but the circumstances of the times called for extreme behavior in order to survive. Told from a point of view of the Holocaust which encompasses the German perspective, it casts a different light on the event. There were many who embraced the hate and horror of Hitler's design for the world but there were also many who quietly tried to do everything in their limited power to prevent it. Often, they were arrested and discarded in the same way as the Jews, criminals and others they thought defective. They too, were murdered and tortured. Cyrla enters a Lebensborn, http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Lebensborn.html a place for unwed mothers who, in exchange for food and care, produce future Aryan soldiers for the Reich. Some women enter the program and are impregnated by German soldiers deliberately. When too few babies are born, they expand the program to include other women from other countries deemed worthy. The children who are products of rape, by German soldiers, are adopted unless the soldier decides to enter the picture and take the child or marry the woman. As there proved to be a shortage of future soldiers, non Aryan babies from other countries were kidnapped and given to "good" Germans to adopt and raise. Cyrla enters in the identity of her cousin whom she resembles and who had been carefully screened, as an Aryan, for the program. The women in these homes are bearing children who will become Germany's future, soldiers for the Reich. Of course, Cyrla is not an Aryan, and the book is about her effort to survive and also those who help her. It is also about those who are evil and do their best not to help but to hinder her and further the cause of the Reich. It is presented fairly and honestly, not overdone. How she endures the trials life hands her make for a very interesting tale which opened my eyes to a different side of some Germans. Not all were Nazis, but all were hiding that fact for fear of their own lives. Those that risked their lives in an effort to defeat or confront the Nazis, often died or were tortured and punished. The effects of Hitler's madness were often subtle and insidious, discovered too late to stop him from his heinous plans. Although the pages almost turn themselves, the plot seems unrealistic, yet we know it happened in some form. The book opens a window onto a program in Germany, for German girls, that few know about and it does explore it well. I think many of the characters are very well developed so that you do get a real sense of who they are and how they suffer with the burden of the war, regardless of background or heritage.
msscarlettt More than 1 year ago
I rarely read fiction but made an exception for this book because of the subject matter. Having read many books about Nazi Germany as well as individual holocaust survivor stories, my interest was piqued in regards to the Lebensborn program which very little has been written about. Young does an excellent job of defining what the program was, who participated in it and the daily activities of the mothers and children who stayed in these homes. Even though I figured the plot out well in advance, Young did such a fine job of developing her main characters that I felt the need to find out if I was right and to read further to learn happens to them in the end. Parts of the book were slow and repetative however, I was involved enough with the story line that I read the book in one sitting. I was a bit disappointed on how she chose to end the book but afterward I was left with the feeling of wanting more which is why I gave it 5 stars. Overall it was well worth my time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book. I've read a lot of books about the Nazis, but I had never read anything about the "nursery" they created and the reasons for doing so. It is a very interesting book with an excellent plot and good character development. I recommend it highly.
pb42TX More than 1 year ago
This is a great book about a daring young woman living during dangerous times. Faced with tough decisions, she makes dangerous choices that she hopes will help her to stay alive. The story is unpredictable and full of suspense. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read many books about WWll, but had never heard of the Lebesborn program. Very interesting with great characters and well written. One that I will think about for a long time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In the beginning of book , development of characters seemed shallow versus main character narrating book seeming overly self depreciating . As book progressed could see that it was intentional for plot, after love triangles exposed. Did enjoy suspense but plot somewhat predictable , but worth it learning part of history I did not know. Unfortunately any love one of someone who has actual autism should skip reading the acknowledgments as it will ruin any enjoyment of having read the book. Autism is a true neurological disorder that research after the 1990's has proven is not caused by neglect or lack of parenting. However "autistic" was used to "label" real children exploited by the racism and cruelty of Nazi regime. Ironic as these children suffered into late adulthood because of having the stigma or " label" by society of being conceived to promote the master race propaganda. Their " autistic " traits where more likely a manifestation of severe withdrawal caused by abuse , neglect and trauma. Withdrawal in autism is caused by neurological disorder , not from lack of love or situational trauma . As a mother of son with Autism I find this " labeling" cruel myself , when your child suffers at the hand of society ignorance , you love them MORE, not less. And this author used "autistic" as a way to " label" children who tragically were NOT loved. Funny thing is back in the 1950's, autism was thought to be caused by mothers who emotionally neglected their children. To be blamed for your child's suffering is a nightmare, the helplessness is profound. Maybe the author should be more careful about labels, since the book is centered around racism after all.
abbyesi More than 1 year ago
Unbelievable; I did not realize this existed; terrible that the USA didn't realize what hitler was trying to accomplish; that's why we have reporters in the field now. God Bless them..(Notice i didn't capitalize hitler).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I happen to stumble upon this book and it was a great find. I've read so many books based on the holocaust and nazi germany. This book is one of my favorites. I've literally read it so many times. I wish the author written more books. When I first read this story I couldn't put it down and I was so sad to have reached the ending. Each page was so well written that you feel and picture every word. It was overall beautiful and sad.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book, could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hard to believe this is the authors first book! Every time I had to put it down I couldnt get it out of my mind! Truly riveting!!! Hope shes working on more books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth lt
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BETKAT More than 1 year ago
A WONDERFUL READ. I ONLY WISH SHE HAD MORE BOOKS FOR ME TO READ! EACH PAGE HELD ANOTHER EXCITING DISCOVERY.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was the first fiction book I've read about the Nazi Lebensborn program. The story was very interesting although toward the end there seemed to be too much going on at once to wrap up the story. This is a good book to discuss in a book group.
Jamesta More than 1 year ago
Great Book! I've recently been reading books that are good but I can go days without picking it up, but this book I couldn't put down! I was always itching to pick it back up and see what was going to happen next.
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