Cilka’s Journey opening line: Cilka stares at the soldier standing in front of her, part of the army that has entered the camp.
Cilka has found a way to survive Auschwitz. But the way in which her survival is guaranteed will be the reason she is not liberated. Seen as a Nazi collaborator, the Russians send her to the Gulag. In Siberia she must do all that she can to survive her second hell on earth.
Her beauty saved her life – and condemned her.
Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, in 1942. The Commandant at Birkenau, Schwarzhuber, notices her long beautiful hair, and forces her separation from the other women prisoners. Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly given, equals survival.
In a Siberian prison camp, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she makes an impression on a woman doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and taught new skills. Cilka begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.
Cilka finds endless resources within herself as she daily confronts death and faces terror. And when she nurses a man called Ivan, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.
‘She was the bravest person I ever met’ according to Lale Sokolov, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Cilka’s story will open your eyes to the atrocities committed against the survivors of the Shoah who were seen as having helped the Nazis. Even if the help they gave was forced upon them. A heart wrenching story of a truth we all should know about.