Broken Angels by Gemma Liviero is a story about the horrors of the Holocaust during World War II. Told from the perspective of three individuals: a Nazi doctor, a Jewish woman and a young girl, the events during the war and the programs of the Nazis are told in vivid detail.
The story opens in 1996 with the funeral of a mother. Time is transported back to 1942 as a young Jewish woman, Elsi, helps her mother see the Nazi doctor assigned to the Lodz Ghetto. Willem Gerhardt is a doctor who is the son of one of Himmler’s top researchers. Matilda is a part-German child who is taken from her family and placed in a home in the hopes of molding her into the perfect Aryan child for a German family. As events unfold. Willem is confronted with the horrors and atrocities that the Nazis are doing to the Jewish people. He is sent to oversee the children’s program and he enters Matilda’s life. One night after a tragic loss, he sees Elsi, ill and being loaded onto a truck and decides to save her. He takes her in and treats her illness. He soon learns that the children who deemed unfit for adoption are being sent to the camps. He begins to falsify documents and save these children’s lives. Will he able to save these children’s lives? Will he be caught?
Broken Angels is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of Germany during the war. The atrocities of the Nazis, the indoctrination, the experimentation and the blatant disregard of human life. But it also a story of the unsung heroes who did their best to save lives despite the horrors around them and the dangers to their lives. There were moments in the story when the horrific events were just too much and I had to stop reading and process. I recommend Broken Angels as a deep look into events of World War II that many do not read about or don’t want to know about. Keeping the memories of the men and women who lost their lives simply because they were Jewish alive is important. We cannot forget them and Broken Angels will ensure that you never do.
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