Cover image for 999 : the extraordinary young women of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz
Title:
999 : the extraordinary young women of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz
ISBN:
9780806539362
Physical Description:
xxv, 438 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Corporate Subject:
Summary:
On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women-many of them teenagers-were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labor. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive.   The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish-but also because they were female. Now acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history.
Holds:

Available:*

Library
Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Copies
Status
Searching...
Book 940.5318 MAC 0 1
Searching...

On Order

Summary

Summary

AN AMAZON BEST OF THE MONTH SELECTION

"A fresh, remarkable story of Auschwitz on the 75th anniversary of its liberation. An uplifting story of the herculean strength of young girls in a staggeringly harrowing situation."
-- Kirkus

"Intimate, harrowing... This careful, sympathetic history illuminates an incomprehensible human tragedy."
-- Publishers Weekly

On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women--many of them teenagers--were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labor. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive.

The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish--but also because they were female. Now acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history.


Author Notes

Heather Dune Macadam's first book, co-authored with Rena Kornreich Gelissen, was Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz . Rena's Promise has been published throughout the world. Director of the Rena's Promise Foundation, Macadam also sits on the advisory board of the Cities of Peace Auschwitz and is the producer/director of the documentary film 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz . Her work has been recognized by Yad Vashem in the U.K., the USC Shoah Foundation, the National Museum of Jewish History in Bratislava, Slovakia, and the Memorial Museum of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland. Her writing has been featured in National Geographic , The New York Times, The Guardian, on NPR, and in other major media outlets. She divides her time between New York and Herefordshire, England. Visit 999thefirstwomeninauschwitz on Facebook, @heatherdune on Twitter, or www.999themovie.com.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this intimate and harrowing account, historian and novelist Macadam (coauthor, Rena's Promise) reconstructs the lives of dozens of young Jewish women who were on the first convoy to arrive at Auschwitz in March 1942. Collected from villages in eastern Slovakia, the unmarried women were told that they'd be working for the government in occupied Poland for three months. In reality, the Slovakian government had agreed to pay the Nazis 500 reichsmarks (roughly $200) per "contract" laborer. Of those on the train, sisters Edith and Lea Friedmann were nearly exempted, but their paperwork didn't come through in time; Rena Kornreich had escaped Poland for the relative safety of Slovakia and was planning her wedding when she boarded the transport to Auschwitz. Macadam writes that many of the women thought they were going on an adventure; none were prepared to haul dead bodies from crematoriums or tear down buildings with their bare hands. Macadam doesn't shy away from the gruesome details but also notes the women's close-knit bonds and willingness to protect each other when they were sick. She movingly describes how the legacy of trauma has impacted the children and grandchildren of the handful of survivors. This careful, sympathetic history illuminates an incomprehensible human tragedy. (Jan.)


Kirkus Review

A fresh, remarkable story of Auschwitz on the 75th anniversary of its liberation.Dune Macadam (co-author: Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz, 1995) chronicles the tale of nearly 1,000 Jewish women from Slovakia, the first women to be shipped to the German death camp. While not the majority of inmates, a majority of the Slovakian Jews were sent there. The author makes great use of her "interviews with witnesses, survivors, and families, and USC Shoah Archive testimonies." Most readers have learned about the many shocking aspects of the camps, including slave labor and other countless deprivations, but the author shows us how every time a train pulled in, there would be a selection, for work or extermination; the same would occur at morning roll call. There was no rhyme nor reason to the selection process; it was often just a whim. Those women in this first shipment were tattooed beginning with the number 1,000, but within a year, they were numbering nearly 39,000. As Dune Macadam notes, there were some work assignments that were safer and slightly more comfortable: sewing, laundry, mail, clerical, and hospital. The most sought-after assignment was sorting the clothes of new arrivals. Often, the women would find a piece of bread or other contraband they could carefully smuggle out. One woman found a tube of diamonds. When she was caught, she claimed she was saving it for one of the Nazis in charge; she got off, and he took leave, bought a farm, and never returned. Throughout the book, readers will be consistently astounded by the strength of these women. They fought desperately to survive and supported each other, often literally holding up friends and hiding sick inmates. "My goal," writes Dune Macadam in an author's note, "is to build as complete a picture as I can of the girls and young women of the first official' Jewish transport to Auschwitz." It's not easy reading, but consider that goal achieved.An uplifting story of the herculean strength of young girls in a staggeringly harrowing situation. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Table of Contents

Caroline Moorehead
Forewordp. xi
Author's Notep. xvii
Principal Characters on First Transportp. xxiii
Part 1

p. 1

Part 2

p. 123

Part 3

p. 309

Homecomingsp. 345
Afterwardsp. 355
One Final Wordp. 375
List of Photographs and Illustrationsp. 377
Archivesp. 383
Source Notesp. 385
Bibliographyp. 409
Acknowledgmentsp. 419
Indexp. 427