Cilka's Journey: A Novel by Heather MorrisCilka's Journey: A Novel by Heather Morris

Cilka's Journey: A Novel

byHeather Morris

Hardcover | October 1, 2019

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about

From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on an incredible true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her - and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka's journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit-and the will we have to survive.

HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who 'might just have a s...
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Title:Cilka's Journey: A NovelFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inShipping dimensions:9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:October 1, 2019Publisher:St. Martin's Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250265703

ISBN - 13:9781250265708

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Survival Story from Auschwitz & the Russian Gulags Many thanks to St. Martins Press, Heather Morris and #NetGalley for this advanced copy of the book Cilka’s Journey which is due to be published on October 1st 2019. What follows is my unbiased review. I was approached by the publisher and asked if I was interested in reading this book because I have read a number of books that focus on stories from WW2. It is the second book by author Heather Morris to focus on some of these stories and I am very thankful that she has done her part to make sure these stories are not lost over time. While I have not yet read her first book The Tatooist Of Auschwitz, it is sitting in my ‘to be read’ pile and I will hopefully get to it soon. It did not affect my understanding of this second book and the author did fill in details which connected the two. This book is written in the format of a novel but the author extensively researched the character and the locations involved. As Cilka was no longer living at the time of writing Morris did not have actual access to her thoughts. Cilke first came to her attention through the words of Lale (The Tattooist of Auschwitz). To quote: “Did I tell you about Cilka?” “No, Lale, you didn’t. Who was Cilka?” “She was the bravest person I ever met. Not the bravest girl, the bravest person.” “And?” “She saved my life. She was beautiful tiny little thing, and she saved my life.” This was only the first of many conversations the author shared with Lale in which stories were told abut Cilka. She was sixteen years old when she was interned in Auschwitz and she was chosen by Nazi officers to be their sex slave and the be the block leader for the infamous barrack where women were sent for their last night before death. Resistance on her part would have led to her death. She chose to live. Documentation from survivors abut her shows that people had mixed feelings about her – some thinking she was terrible while others had only good to say. The author explained very well in the book why this might have happened. At the time Cilka was waiting for her liberation thinking that her hell was finally over, the Russian soldiers determined that what she had done was a “crime” and sentenced her to thirty years hard labour in the Russian Gulag of Vorkuta – probably the coldest place on earth. Life their was extremely hard and once again Cilka had no choice but to do what she could to survive. The story includes flashbacks to Cilka’s time in Auschwitz. As a result of what she experienced there, Cilka dealt with significant survivor guilt and at times questioned whether she deserved any future. She did however, use the skills that she had learned in her short lifetime which drew her to the attention of a doctor in the Gulag who saw her potential and enabled her to take advantage of educational opportunities and access to better food and warmth among other things. This allowed her to survive when she otherwise might have died. I have not read a lot about the Gulags before, so this book was an eye opener for me. Life was a little easier than it had been at Auschwitz but not much. Even in such horrible circumstances though, relationships developed among the inmates and a sense of family was developed. The will to survive was ever present. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in either the history of the war or the time period afterwards. I think it would make an excellent novel for a book club study. I am very thankful that I was given a chance to read it and learn some of Cilka’s story.
Date published: 2019-08-21

Editorial Reviews

Praise for The Tattooist of Auschwitz:"Based on a true story, the wrenching yet riveting tale of Lale's determination to survive the camp with Gita is a moving testament to the power of kindness, ingenuity, and hope." -People"The Tattooist of Auschwitz is the story of hope and survival against incredible odds and the power of love." -PopSugar"The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document..I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they'd read a hundred Holocaust stories or none." -Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project