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Auschwitz Lullaby–a mother’s amazing love

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Auschwitz Lullaby

by Mario Escobar

Auschwitz LullabyAuschwitz Lullaby is a sad book based on the life of Helene Hannemann, a German woman married to a talented Gypsy violinist. As an Aryan she could have saved her own life, but she chooses instead to accompany her five mixed-blood Gypsy children to Auschwitz. There she is chosen by the infamous Doctor Mengele to establish and run a nursery school at the concentration camp. Knowing that Mengele would only perform this “kindness” to the children for his own ends, she agrees anyway to provide the starving children with more nutritious food, several hours a day in a cleaner, healthier environment, and some mental respite from the stressful deprivations and horrors of the camp.

Without graphic descriptions, the author Mario Escobar uses a first person format, having Helene tell her own story through a journal which she supposedly left behind in the camp. Her writing is encased in a Prologue and Epilogue in Mengele’s voice. As I read this work of historical fiction, I wondered how much was true. I was gratified to discover a section called “Historical Clarifications” at the conclusion of the tale that explains clearly the aspects of the book that are nonfiction. The author is a historian so he also adds a “Chronology of the Gypsy Camp at Auschwitz” and acknowledgements of his sources of research.

Although the publisher categorizes the book as “historical fiction” and “Christian,” there are not a lot of overt references to Christianity, but there is an underlying thread of faith, hope,and love available through the power of God. The school holds a meager Christmas celebration which attempts to “give these children back a little bit of their faith.” Helene notes “that night we were celebrating life, the birth of the Christ child” and she ponders the message of the manger: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.” There are other Christian themes throughout of love, forgiving one’s enemies, God’s plan for Helene’s life, and the existence of evil.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Historical Fiction, Christian

Publication:  August 7, 2018 — Thomas Nelson

Memorable Lines:

“From the first time I saw you, I knew God had brought you here to ease our pain somehow. You were so lost, confused, and scared, but I could see a fierce determination in the back of your eyes.”

Death seemed like a gift from heaven, but I knew that it was not yet for me. I was an old ship in the middle of a storm, and my children anchored me to life. I had to keep fighting for them, trying to hold on to hope, looking each day in the face, praying for this nightmare to finally be over.

“God sent you here to guide us. We needed a breath of hope, and you showed up with your beautiful family. I’ve never known anyone as brave and determined as you.”

I tried to fill my heart with love. I did not want hatred to eat away my insides. I had to love even my enemies. It was the only way to keep from becoming a monster myself.


  1. It is hard to see this as I memories of News flashes of many as most of the horrors were blocked. I see a repeat happening right now. I prayed for my country.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lghiggins says:

      I think this would be too difficult for you to read, but it is important that those less close to the times learn about what happened so we understand the importance of respecting others and never fail to see others as people. It is too easy to throw out labels without seeing those you are attacking.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wendy says:

    Tough subject. I hate the Mengele escaped to South American to continue his murderous ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. carhicks says:

    I have tried to read as many stories about WWII as I can. I have read a lot of historical fiction based on true events and still learned a lot. I have requested this book and if I do not get it through netgalley, I will see if I can get it at the library or Amazon. The subject is hard to read, but you are correct, it is necessary to know what happened so history does not repeat itself. Wonderful review Linda.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The V Pub says:

    To think of the horrors those people, especially the children, were exposed to. I’ll have to search this book out. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

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