Length: 288 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse (February 19, 2008)
Genre: Non-fiction / memoir
Buy On: Amazon
“HANNELORE, YOUR PAPA IS DEAD.”
In the spring of 1942 Hannelore received a letter from Mama at her school in Berlin, Germany–Papa had been arrested and taken to a concentration camp. Six weeks later he was sent home; ashes in an urn.
Soon another letter arrived. “The Gestapo has notified your brothers and me that we are to be deported to the East–whatever that means.” Hannelore knew: labor camps, starvation, beatings…How could Mama and her two younger brothers bear that? She made a decision: She would go home and be deported with her family. Despite the horrors she faced in eight labor and concentration camps, Hannelore met and fell in love with a Polish POW named Dick Hillman.
Oskar Schindler was their one hope to survive. Schindler had a plan to take eleven hundred Jews to the safety of his new factory in Czechoslovakia. Incredibly both she and Dick were added to his list. But survival was not that simple. Weeks later Hannelore found herself, alone, outside the gates of Auschwitz, pushed toward the smoking crematoria.
I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree is the remarkable true story of one young woman’s nightmarish coming-of-age. But it is also a story about the surprising possibilities for hope and love in one of history’s most brutal times.
I watched Schindler’s List a few years ago, and found Oskar Schindler’s story fascinating! I already loved World War II stories, so I was excited when I found this book!
I was not disappointed at all! I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree was everything I was expecting and more! It was suspenseful, tragic, and sweet (or at least as sweet as a WWII story can be). Hannelore’s story was unique to read because she had so much hope during such a dark time. She, and the Polish soldier she fell in love with, both promised each other that they would never give up in the concentration camps. They promised to never give up hope nor stop trying to survive. This promise was what kept Hannelore alive during her many months in the camps.
This and the hope that she would be one of Schindler’s women–the name all the prisoners gave to the women who were written on Schindler’s list and chosen to go work at his factory. For months, Hannelore clung to this hope that she would be rescued by Oskar Schindler. For awhile she was able to keep up this hope. However, she started to lose hope as months went by and she was transported from camp to camp until arriving in Aushwitchz–the death camp. God did not forget about Hannelore, though, because she eventually became one of Schindler’s women–and her life was spared.
I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree contains a superb story of a real-life Holocaust survivor. It also introduces the hero figure of Oskar Schindler. I recommend this book to an older audience (PG-13) as it has a mature subject in addition to some mature experiences Hannelore went through. Inside of the rating (PG-13), I would recommend this book to all adults/teens–as a reminder that the Holocaust was a real event, and something that should never be repeated.