These first few pages of Cilka’s Journey moved me beyond that of any other book I’ve recently read. My attention was immediately held captive as I was taken on a journey of torture, starvation and heartbreak.
This story begins with the Russian’s arrival at the Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz where Cilka has been held for the past three years. Rather than being set free, nineteen year old Cilka is detained for questioning. The Russians believe she is a spy because Cilka has adapted to her environment by learning different languages and has survived by doing what she was told by those who imprisoned her. Despite being raped by the Nazis, she is being accused of prostititing herself for the enemy. There is no understanding of the circumstances that Cilka has had to endure nor any empathy for what was done to her since her arrival at the camp at the young age of sixteen.
Months later, Cilka is loaded onto a train car filled with other women who are also being unjustly accused. She is surrounded by women, children and infants who are sick, starving and dying. As the train continues on the journey to Siberia, Cilka reflects on when she first arrived at Auschwitz with her younger sister Magda and the events that began three years ago when Cilka was first informed that by special request she was to report to the administration building for work. Cilka believes she was foolish to have hoped that she would be set free and feels that she is destined to be punished. What will happen to Cilka when she arrives in Siberia? Will she be able to adapt once again to survive? I look forward to reading the rest of Cilka’s Journey and finding out!
This excerpt was very powerfully written and had quite an impact on me. The details were hard to read but essential to understanding the events behind this story. I really hope to continue this emotional story. I love the cover and I feel it’s a perfect choice for this story.