Cilka's Journey

Cilka's Journey

A Novel

Book - 2019
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Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka quickly learns that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival. When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was sent to Auschwitz when she was still a child? In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions. Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything which has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2019
Edition: 1st US ed
ISBN: 9781250265708
Characteristics: 343 p. : map ; 25 cm


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Jan 15, 2021

A romanticized story of the horrors in the Soviet gulag.

Dec 05, 2020

This book reads like a young adult book therefore a fast read. The epilogue, author notes etc. are actually more interesting and better written than the book. There is some good information that needs to be told ie: Soviet gulags. There is much more information available about Shoah during WW2 than about the post WW2 tragedy. Other than Solzhenitsyn, I haven't read much about them much less information about who actually ended up in them and the living conditions.

Nov 10, 2020

Having read "Tattooist of Auschwitz" I was beyond excited to get a glimpse into Cilka's world... However I was somewhat disappointed with this one. It felt lacking... In something... What? I don't know. It just didn't touch me like the previous book.

Aug 23, 2020

The development of Cilka’s character who was an important part of the Tatooist off Auschwitz was interesting and at the same time tragic. Since she was never personally interviewed by the author most was fictionalized based on historical facts about the Russian camp. I didn’t find it quite as good as the original book but definitely worth the read. Most of all what is captured is the oppression and mistreatment of human beings that should never again be repeated.

jrbubbles1 Jul 30, 2020

Cilka is a true character from the camp described in the "tattooist of Auschwitz. " It tells about her life in the camp at the age of 16 and what she had to do to survive. Then it goes on to tell her story of what happened after she was released from the camp. It is horrific what the prisoners in those camps went through, and it is amazing that anyone survived.

Jun 20, 2020

When I discovered this book was written by the author of the "Tattooist of Auschwitz", I read this book with trepidation... These were my feelings about that book: ( Heartbreaking, of course... Great story of finding a reason to stay alive. If only the facts were researched. The probability of the interactions between the two main characters and the events of the story happening as written were as likely as that of surviving Auschwitz... If you are going to write about the Holocaust, do it honorably. ) This book does not turn Auschwitz into a love nest and seems more accurate in its description of life in the Nazi and Russian camps. Cilka's journey is all the more heartbreaking because after Auschwitz she is sentenced to a gulag in Siberia because of "co-operating with the Nazis". She has a prominent SS officer as a lover and in turn lives in relative luxury at the concentration camp. She has her own room and bed in a block were people who are going to the gas chamber the next day are gathered together. She screams at the prisoners to get on the trucks for termination - the excuse is always that a Nazi is about to beat a straggler. The rationale is that she did this in order to survive. The ultimate question is how much do you work on behalf of the Nazis and still retain your soul even if your body survives?? The book seems to justify her behavior because she lives. We all might have done the same.... But does make this choice a moral one? Cilka works hard at the gulag to redeem herself. You will have to decide if her Auschwitz behavior was acceptable and whether she atones sufficiently for her behavior. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Mar 09, 2020

I'm so glad Heather Morris told Cilka's story. Because Cilka passed away before Morris began her conversations with Lale Sokolov, Morris had to fill in a lot of blanks with her own imaginings. But the spirit of the book is no less powerful.

That Cilka, who was a teenager when forced into sex slavery at Auschwitz-Birkenau, should be sentenced to hard labor in Siberia for "sleeping with the enemy" - as though she willingly chose that lot to gain a more-privileged concentration camp life- is to fail miserably to understand victimization and abuse. Cilka (and many others whose stories will never be known) made tragic decisions she never should have been in a position to have to make simply because, above all, she wanted to stay alive.

Cilka's Journey serves as a stark reminder that we must never forget the degradation and horrors perpetrated by brutal regimes. Another message here is the power of hope. Cilka somehow held onto hope through horrific circumstances where the end point was either unknown or years distant. Few people would have had the mental and emotional strength to endure as she did. These are the factors that imbue her story with such worth.

Kudos to Morris for once again telling a heartbreaking and powerful story. It deserved to be told, and Morris tells it well.

Jan 22, 2020

I read this for the "Title Beginning With C" part of my 2020 reading challenge. I loved it, it was fierce and moving and her strength was incredible. The author clearly put a lot of work into the research behind this and The Tattooist of Auschwitz and her dedication shows.

Jan 09, 2020

A remarkable novel crafted from the story of a women who survived both the German and Russian death camps. Created from interviews of those who knew Cilka Cline and from research, it is a riveting story that is difficult to put down. The blend of sorry and hope , of life in both camps, fear of shame and finally love makes this book worth the read.

Dec 19, 2019

I came away from this book both cold and hungry. First Auschwitz and than a camp in the arctic that is so cold it is a wonder anyone lived to tell about it. A well told story that the author spent a long time trying to get to the bottom of. The story of this beautiful Jewish girl of only 16 years who lived through the concentration camps in both Germany and Russia, she is able to live until she can return to her home county. A good follow-up to the authors first book. Very sad..

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