I didn't read the Tattooist of Auschwitz but I understand it to be the first in this series. That book doesn't have to be read to understand this, but if this author is anything to go by, I'd highly recommend both. The painstaking research and emotional journey that Morris had to have gone through in the writing of this book, it rips at the heart.
TW - discussion of sexual assault. Cilka is a Jewish woman from Slovakia who, along with her entire family, were placed in camps during the Holocaust. She made it out, but at a cost that would land her in a Russian Gulag for a decade because of "collaboration." Who can say what they would have done in her position? Can you call what happened to her anything other than rape by Nazis? As Morris says in the book, it's so rarely ever discussed, but why would those monsters be the first to not engage in what is a common oppressive tactic during times of war? Of course they brutalized those women, and in so doing marked them with a lifetime of internalized shame that many would never speak to their families about.
Cilka's story isn't just one of abuse though. It's one of perseverance, overcoming through the extremes of adversity, caring for others in the so limited ways that she had available to her, and ultimately, survival. This book wrung tears out of me by the end. There are no words to describe the depths of sorrow and rage at what occurred to these people. This is an excellent, and timely book and one I can't recommend enough.