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Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

Surviving the Angel of Death: The True Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz

4.8 25
by Eva Mozes Kor, Lisa Rojany Buccieri

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Eva Mozes Kor was just ten years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Subjected to sadistic medical experiments, she was forced to fight daily for her and her twin's survival. In this


Eva Mozes Kor was just ten years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. While her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, she and her twin, Miriam, were herded into the care of the man known as the Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Subjected to sadistic medical experiments, she was forced to fight daily for her and her twin's survival. In this incredible true story written for young adults, readers learn of a child's endurance and survival in the face of truly extraordinary evil.

The book also includes an epilogue on Eva's recovery from this experience and her remarkable decision to publicly forgive the Nazis. Through her museum and her lectures, she has dedicated her life to giving testimony on the Holocaust, providing a message of hope for people who have suffered, and working for causes of human rights and peace.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is an essential purchase for libraries with a Holocaust collection, but it would also be a valuable addition to any library with young impressionable readers." — VOYA
Children's Literature - Myrna Dee Marler
Eva and her twin sister Miriam were taken at the age of ten to Auschwitz. Instead of going to the gas chamber with their mother and other siblings, they were placed in Dr. Mengele's hands as part of his notorious twin experiments during the Holocaust. Up until that moment, the trajectory of their story follows the path set down by so many previous survivors: the escalation of persecution, the forming of ghettoes, the starvation, and finally the forced transportation to the gates of the death camps. Although their lives were temporarily spared, they were expected to die as a result of Mengele's insane practices. For example, Miriam and Eva were injected with deadly bacteria and observed as they became sicker and sicker. Yet somehow they survived until the Russians liberated the camp. They lived under Communist rule for several years, then in Israel before ultimately coming to the United States. This short memoir would be a good introduction to the Holocaust for younger teens. It is highly readable and tells an important story. The authors add another voice to the continually growing narrative of Holocaust survivors. Reviewer: Myrna Dee Marler
VOYA - Victoria Vogel
Kor's story is one of survival and hope. Born in 1934, Eva and her identical twin, Miriam, were loved and doted over. They lived a comfortable and happy life on their family's farm in Transylvania until the summer of 1940, when their family was herded onto a train with the other Jews in their town and transported to Auschwitz supposedly for their "protection." They were soon separated from their family, and never saw them again. Being identical twins afforded Eva and Miriam special "privileges." They soon joined a large group of other twins who were under the care of Dr. Josef Mengele, otherwise known as the Angel of Death. These children were allowed to keep their own clothes and hair, but they were the subject of countless gruesome and tortuous medical experiments that many did not survive. Eva and Miriam did carry on and were able to make it until the Russian army invaded the camp and liberated them, but their lives were never the same. They had lost their family and suffered a physical ordeal that did irreversible damage. Eva's story will have the reader hooked until the very end. Although the narrative is somewhat unpolished, it does not detract from the impact of this harrowing and moving story. Readers of all ages will remember her narrative and will be inspired by it. This book is an essential purchase for libraries with a Holocaust collection, but it would also be a valuable addition to any library with young impressionable readers. Reviewer: Victoria Vogel
VOYA - Eileen Kuhl
In this straightforward first-person narrative, Kor , with the help of coauthor Buccieri, recounts her harrowing experiences during the Holocaust. Kor and her twin Miriam were born in 1934 in Transylvania, Romania. Their parents owned a profitable farm and were able to survive in the Nazi anti-Semitic atmosphere until 1944 when the family was arrested and sent to Auschwitz. The twins were separated from their parents and sisters as soon as they arrived and sent to a special section of the concentration camp for twins. Josef Mengele, a renowned Nazi doctor, was conducting experiments using identical twins and other genetic irregularities to enhance medical breakthroughs and create the perfect German race. The narrative is painfully detailed as Kor recounts being tattooed for identification; the agonizing, sadistic medical experiments performed on her; and her constant battle to survive and keep her twin with her. The memoir, written from a child's perspective, also describes Kor's life after World War II, first in Europe, then in Israel, and finally in Indiana. Extensive use of historical photographs and visual documentation brings a greater depth to readers' understanding of the daily life endured by the Auschwitz children. They will be astonished at Kor's triumph and stubborn determination to overcome her horrific experience. Although events are explicit, the narrator's voice is young, making Kor's story seem more appropriate for middle school. This important book brings to light a relatively unfamiliar part of the Holocaust, but it lacks a bibliography or suggested further reading. Readers of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (David Fickling Books/Random House, 2006/VOYA December 2006). will discover a true account of children during this time period. Reviewer: Eileen Kuhl
Judith A. Hayn
Eva Mozes Kor wanted her self-published memoir of her experiences as a survivor of Dr. Josef Mengele's twin experiments in Auschwitz to be adapted for young adult readers. Rojany Buccieri wrote a masterful, searing, and mind-numbing account of two sisters who, at age 10, entered the Nazi camp of horror and evil and emerged as survivors. Eva's only goal was to keep herself and her sister alive, but it is her firstperson narrative voice that lends powerful credence to the power of the human spirit and the strength of the will to live despite incredible odds. Eva provides details of Mengele's experiments and camp conditions, while family pictures before and after the camp provide additional documentation. The text not only honors Eva and her courage, but also offers a compelling argument about forgiveness and tolerance. The reader will not want to stop reading until the last page. Reviewer: Judith A. Hayn
Children's Literature - Sara Rofofsky Marcus
Eva Mozes, the younger identical twin to Miriam, tells the story of a happy childhood in Romania as the only Jewish family in the town that changes quickly as their family is suddenly captured by the Nazis, ending in Auschwitz. Eva and Miriam, who always dressed alike, are selected for Mengele's experiments, never again to see their mother, father, or four older sisters. Eva, the stronger of the two, becomes the leader, at age ten, in their quest for survival at the hands of the Nazis in the camps and later as the two try to return home and to a normal life, seeking family and stability. The true value of this autobiographical tale of survival and triumph is twofold. It demonstrates the power of love and shows the insights of one of Mengele's chosen twins. Whether a child learning about the Holocaust or an adult desiring more knowledge of what really happened under Mengele's medical direction, this biography tells all. Written so a young reader can understand, the content is sufficiently detailed so as to appeal to the older reader. This is a book worthy of being added to any child, young adult, or adult collection due to its first-person narrative of a child in one of the special camps, a story of survival and remembrance against odds that differed from those in the traditional camps. Reviewer: Sara Rofofsky Marcus
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up—Kor relates memories of life in the village of Portz, Transylvania (Romania), where she was raised on a large farm, "never aware of the anti-Semitism [that pervaded the country] until 1940, when the Hungarian army came." Six-year-old Eva and her identical twin, Miriam, the only Jewish children in their small mixed-grade classroom, suddenly found themselves taunted and beaten by once-friendly classmates. At 10 years of age, the twins and their family were forced to live among seven thousand other Jews in a fenced-in field, protected from the elements only by tents made of their own blankets and sheets and by the clothes on their backs. They were soon taken on a four-day train ride to Auschwitz, standing all the way, with no food or drink. There the sisters were "selected" to be victims of Dr. Josef Mengele's medical "research." Eva's amazing fortitude and her desire to protect her sister helped her to survive a horrible disease brought on by an injection. Both twins endured a terrifying daylong separation during a forced march between camps; the remaining Auschwitz prisoners were liberated by Soviet soldiers, and the girls found a way to go home in search of family survivors. Kor's straightforward first-person narrative is unusual because it details life in the concentration camp through the eyes of a child who lived among children. In an eight-page epilogue, the author talks about her discovery, 50 years after liberation, of the importance of forgiveness ("a seed for peace"), and of what she has done to teach young people the positive lessons of life garnered from her horrific experiences.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Product Details

Tanglewood Publishing, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are Saying About This

Tutu Archbishop Desmond
"Eva Mozes Kor has written a very moving and vivid account of an extraordinary and horrific experience. It is an important document showing the strength of the human spirit and the capacity to forgive.
She should be commended for having the courage to write about her traumatic childhood, leading to the forgiveness that freed her from hatred and brought her peace. May it inspire others to emulate her."

Meet the Author

Eva Mozes Kor is a resident of Terre Haute, IN. She is a recognized speaker, both nationally and internationally, on topics related to the Holocaust, human rights, and medical ethics. She has been covered in numerous media outlets and is the subject of a documentary, Forgiving Dr. Mengele.
Lisa Rojany Buccieri has written over 100 children's books, including several award-winning and bestselling titles. She is also a publisher executive and editor with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Lisa lives with her family in Los Angeles.

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Surviving the Angel of Death 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When twins Eva and Miriam Mozes were ten years old, the Nazis invaded their home in Romania and forced their family onto a train that would take them to the Auschwitz concentration camp. When they got off the train, their family became separated. They never knew what happened to their father and two older sisters, Aliz and Edit. Their mother, in a desperate attempt to save her youngest daughters, answered "Is that good?" after a soldier asked if they were twins. "Good" was a subjective concept, because Eva and Miriam were immediately torn from their mother's arms, and she was sent to the gas chamber while they were taken to the laboratory barracks for those who would become Dr. Joseph Mengele's experiments. This book is the story of how they survived the horrors that ensued. Adapted from Eva Mozes Kor's self-published memoir, ECHOES FROM AUSCHWITZ: DR. MENGELE'S TWINS, THE STORY OF EVA AND MIRIAM MOZES, this book gives a heartbreaking view into two Jewish children's lives during the Holocaust. Though the subject matter is graphic and sensitive, Eva Mozes Kor's breathtaking ability to forgive Joseph Mengele for his atrocities, as well as her ability to overcome unimaginable cruelties, provide hope for all children who have gone through terrible experiences. Keep a box of tissues at hand, because this book is one of the most challenging emotional roller coasters I have ever read. Definitely worth reading for people of all ages.
dnabgeek More than 1 year ago
This book tells the story of Eva and Miriam Mozes, twin girls who were taken to the death camp at Auschwitz and were tortured by Dr. Mengele because they were twins. This book tells how they survived the long year they spent in the camps and somehow avoided being killed while so many around them were dying. While the book is straight forward, it is sensitive to the target audience and the level of detail that they can handle. I found the wording a bit simplistic but I imagine that it was the coauthors attempt to keep the book at the level of their target audience. This is the first book I have read about the recollections of someone who was experimented on but the doctors, probably because so few survived the process. Definitely a book I would recommend if you are interested the history of World War 2 and can handle some of the violence and mistreatment that is necessary in the story telling process for this subject. A good, fast-paced memoir but not an easy subject to stomach.
Read_A_Book More than 1 year ago
I have to say that this memoir is a wonderful read. I've had it on my list of books to read for a while, and now I'm kicking myself for having waited so long. Though the topic of the memoir is gut wrenching, the prose and revelations within the book are captivating; something everyone needs to know about. I'm ashamed to say that I'd never heard of the twin experiments within the camps, though I knew of experimentation, and what Dr. Mengele did to those children is truly atrocious. Mozes Kor does a wonderful job, though, of making these atrocious actions easier to read through her prose and diction, which help keep the reader from complete despair as there isn't extreme detail. Instead, Mozes Kor alludes to many of the atrocities without expressing all of them point blank, which also makes this a great book of MG and YA, as it isn't too gritty for them. I am currently teaching Night, by Elie Wiesel, to my students, and I'm thinking of ways to bring this novel into the classroom as well. It's very well written, and it's a true eye opener. Five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to agree with all the other positive reviews...this book is great! Students have such a fascination with the Holocaust and love reading survivor stories, so this is one that will definitely go on our library shelves.
booklemur More than 1 year ago
The autobiography of Eva Kor. A must read, definitely one of my favorite books. Heartbreaking but very informative. I absolutely love this book. I suggest this book for anyone twelve or a hundred twelve a must read. I hope you all read it.
raesv1 More than 1 year ago
This book tells the horrific experiences of Eva and Miriam Mozes during their time in the Nazi concentration camps. Eva and Miriam are only 10 years old when their family is arrested and placed in a cattle car with only room to stand, no food, no water, and barbed wire on the tiny windows. At the end of the train ride they are relieved until they see where they've arrived, the Auschwitz concentration camp. They are immediately ripped from the father, mother, and sisters, never to see them again, separated because they are considered special because they are identical twins. They are to be patients under the care of a Nazi doctor, Josef Mengele, who is experimenting with genetics in order to make the perfect Aryan race. What follows is a terrifying story of starvation, fear, desperation, and hope. One twin is often injected with a disease that will kill them so that when they die the other twin is killed so that they can compare the two. They are given different kinds of drugs to see their affects and to try to change their eye color or to try and change girls to boys. The Twin experiments were horrible and sadly, they were considered the lucky ones. Very intense, very heartbreaking, hard to read, because of the horror of it and knowing that these things really happened. This is one of those books that everybody should read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ever since I was a child war stories have been told left and right but none can compare to this one. surviving the angel of death really paints a picture in my mind of just how tough being a jew in world war 2 really was. I would urge anyone to buy this amazing and well written book.
Muskeg More than 1 year ago
You must read beyond the hardships they faced and why. Its a horrible journey they took together. They survived because they had each other. Inspiring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book the little girl eva is coming to my class this mouth and i loved the book some were sad and some were happy and my teacher read some of the book to my class but i did not want the book to END!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fojnd this to be a gripping read and by the end i was emotonal affected. The only disappointment was the lengtb. Only 96 pages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book through Netgalley, wherein you get a free book in exchange for an objective review. I had seen the author, Eva Mozes Kor, being interviewed about her experiences as a child in Auschwitz. Eva and her twin sister were the subject of medical experiments by Dr. Mengele. After downloading it, I realized it was written for young people. I was a little taken aback by that because of the subject matter, but then I realized that future generations need to know how insidious it is when people start to think of themselves as belonging to a superior race or group, and the horrible things that can be justified by that. I am close to fifty, and to be honest I don't know much of anything about WWI. How tragic it would be if the lessons of the Holocaust were not passed down to future generations! Eva describes how safe her family felt in the countryside, then how neighbors who had been friends began to turn away from them as anti-Jewish sentiment spread. She tells what it was like to be sent in a cattle car to Auschwitz, and how she and her twin sisters were "saved" from the gas chambers because they were twins. Mengele apparently found it quite an opportunity to infect one twin with a deadly disease so that if she died, the other twin could be killed and he could get a chance to compare the two in autopsy. It was sick and horrifying, but what kept her story from being completely overwhelming was Eva herself. She was such a tough little survivor! Injected with some deadly disease, she crawled out of bed every night and dragged herself to a faucet for a drink of water. She knew that if she succumbed, her sister would be killed. Seemingly by sheer strength of will, she recovered. She stole food and other items to keep her sister alive, and she and her sister both outlived the Nazi regime. Not bad for a kid! I think this was a great read for young and old alike. Highly recommended.
Haziegaze More than 1 year ago
Many of us will have seen the photographs and moving images of those 2 little girls at the head of a line of survivors walking out of Auschwitz and many of us, me included, would have asked ourselves "I wonder who they are, where they came from, how they survived that nightmare and where are they now?"; this book sheds light on all those questions and introduces you to a very brave little girl. "At Auschwitz dying was so easy. Surviving was a full-time job." The words that came into my head as I was reading this book was how amazing, brave and inspirational Eva was and still is. For a 10 year old to have that level of insight and an unbelievably strong will to survive is humbling. You can feel the pain, the fear but also the love coming through the words and pages. Her descriptions of the horrors she, her twin sister and the others interred in that godforsaken place were told in a non-sensationalised way and without the usual shocking, graphic details. In some ways, this made it more upsetting - it was told from the eyes of a child and those eyes should never have seen the things that she saw. Eva was careful to ensure that she make it known that in amongst all that evil, there were people who risked their lives for others - the supervisor who gave food in the infirmary and shared her birthday cake and the barracks full of Jewish women who kept a child hidden during their entire stay - just two instances. These acts of extreme bravery and selflessness provide hope that there is still some humanity. I don’t know if I could ever forgive anyone who systematically murdered someone in my family let alone everyone in my family but Eva is obviously made of something else and her quote: "Anger and hate are seeds that germinate war. Forgiveness is a seed for peace. It is the ultimate act of self-healing” tells you all you need to know about her inner strength and the type of person she is. Eva is an inspiration and her message of hope should be a mantra for us all: "The life lessons I have learned through all my pain and everything I have been through and survived: 1. Never ever give up on yourself or your dreams, for everything good in life is possible. 2. Judge people on their actions and the content of their character. 3. Forgive your worst enemy and forgive everyone who has hurt you— it will heal your soul and set you free" This book is designed for Young Adults but, to be honest, I think anyone of any age could read this and should read this. Thank you Netgalley and the publisher, Tanglewood, for providing me with a copy in return for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrandyGirl More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of holocaust stories and this one was very good.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
Rumors: Nazis, labor camps, Hitler and death. That is what Miriam and Eva’s mother thought they were until the Hungarian soldiers came knocking at their door and it’s her denial that had her wondering if perhaps things might had turned out differently had she reacted sooner. The writing is fascinating and interesting as Eva writes about her family and their lives being Jews during Hitler’s rein. Reading about the girls as they are harassed in school by their classmates as they read school books containing Jewish slurs and watch short films on how to capture and kill Jews, just made me boil inside. These two- 9 year-old girls find the strength to lean on one another, when their whole world inside their school was falling down on them. The author does a fantastic job clarifying the history of the area, informing the reader of the action taking place plus adding definitions of unfamiliar words along in the texts to keep the reader involved. As the family is rounded up, the girls celebrate their birthday surrounded with 7,000 other Jews and are put into a ghetto. Their time there is short but their memories are extensive as they board the railcars for destinations unknown. If you have read anything about the platforms at the concentration camps, you know how they separate the individuals as they stumble out into the fresh air. Every time I read about this, the relief and the dread overcomes me. As the girls get separated from their parents, it’s heartbreaking. These twin girls are now under special care which creates some unique problems of their own. Dr. Mengele is a doctor with his own agenda. Twins fascinate him and he wants to do medical treatments on them. This is definitely a book worth reading if you enjoy reading book from this time period. The author shares her story with honesty and spirit; she has a message to share to her readers. Having a father-in-law who was a prisoner of war, I am drawn to the stories that other survivors write about their experiences. I never want to feel what my father-in-law endured or what other survivors write about, their stories are quite enough. I am thankful that they share their stories with us for they are true heroes. I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and Tanglewood Press in exchange for an honest opinion.
MargieS1 More than 1 year ago
Given To Me For An Honest Review This book is about the Holocaust and what happened in Auschwitz.  Josepf Mengele experimented with many of the  prisoners there.  He was very interested in twins.  Eva and her sister were subjected to these experiments because  they were twins. It was a great book.  One that children who are studying about that time in history should include in their studies.  It is not as graphic as many other books but it does the job of telling the story. I highly recommend this book to everyone.  I wish I could give more that 5 stars for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gives a great insight of the events in the mid 1900's and WWII. The authors do a great job of setting the scene and creating a true feel of the events that occur in the book. It makes the audience think about how the traumatic events were put upon people and how their suffrage was a huge part of world history. When the twins encounter their worst fears, the audience starts to feel the emotion that them and many others in the concentration camps felt at this time.The ability the author Eva Mozes Kor, one of the two authors, brings to the book displays the true pain and suffering put upon many Jewish and other segregated families is truly heartbreaking and very real. She puts everything onto the table: her and her sister's experiences as well as how they were effected after they were free. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone, particularly if you are interested in the Nazi power or WWII. It gives great insight on the time period and can make you as emotional as the people in the book. It is very detailed and never is censored to the audience, which gives them a chance to experience it for themselves.  The authors have written this to the greatest of their abilities and never once can you not be on the edge to figure out what happens next. Suspense, action, and love are incorporated in the book that make it truly inspiring and eye opening. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AP World history review: I am a freshman in high school and I read this book for my AP world history book review. I chose this book because I am really interested in learning about the Holocaust and I was very intrigued while reading this. The story of the Mengele twins helped me to better understand how people were treated in the concentration camps during the Holocaust. Not only was I informed of the "special twin treatment", I also was able to learn about why the Nazi's did what they did and how other countries helped. This book taught me so many things from the extremity of what Jewish people faced during this time to the other countries aid toward the Jewish population. I felt like this book was more beneficial in helping me to understand this period of  time than anything else. To be able to read about Eva's experience from her point of view was very helpful since she was the one who actually experienced it. I would recommend this book to all AP students interested in learning about the Holocaust. Not only was this book good for receiving information, it was also enjoyable to read! Definitely worth reading!  
eternalised More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I requested a copy of Surviving the Angel of Death, even though I was worried I might not be able to stomach it. But considering the source material, considering this is a real life account of what atrocities happened during World War I, I felt like I just had to read this. I’m glad I did. Surviving the Angel of Death is a horrifying book. Some of the stories detailed in here…they made me squirm, made my stomach turn upside down, made me want to throw up. But at the same time, it deserves to be read just because of the stories it tells, so we know we should do whatever we can to never allow this to happen again. Eva was ten years old when she arrived in Auschwitz. Her parents and two older sisters were taken to the gas chambers, but Eva and her twin sisters, Miriam, were sent to the care of Dr. Josef Mengele, although “care” is the entirely wrong word here. They were forced to fight for their lives every single day ,and to witness the terrible experiments Dr. Mengele performed, not just on them, but on others – twins, dwarfs, pregnant women. What was truly inspiring about this book, was the girl’s strength. The things they could do in the face of danger, the horrors they could survive, their will to live. It was heart-wrenching, and heck, it damn near broke my heart to read this book. The thought that people might still be going through something of the sort, even today, is horrible. We may deluce ourselves into thinking no one is getting tortured anywhere at this moment in time, or that we’ve somehow gotten rid of most of the evil in the world, but we must not kid ourselves. We must not stay blind for the horrors of this world. This writing fits the audience – YA – and I can only imagine how hard it must’ve been to write a book of this caliber of horrendousness and make it suitable for a YA audience. A testament to the courage of two young children, and to the power of hope.
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Read if you want to know more about the Holocaust!