Cilka’s Journey is told in the present, of her time in the Gulag, to the past of her time in Birkenau. After being set free at the end of WW2, poor Cilka is sent to the Gulag for 15 years as punishment for perceived crimes of colluding with the Nazis. She did what she needed to, to survive her time in Birkenau, as anyone would have done and it certainly didn’t warrant being sent to hell on earth for 15 years.
Yet Cilka found a way to survive, she made herself useful and spent so much time helping others. When she had a chance to free herself, she often gave that opportunity to others. She had lost so many people she felt cursed, I imagine that being quite an unnecessary weight around her shoulders. This happened to her at such a young age, she hadn’t even had time to grow up before being sent to Auschwitz.
Her journey is one that we can learn from as it was obvious she suffered from bouts of depression and how she found the strength to not only keep going but doing so in service of others, speaks to her strength. I requested to read this from St. Martin’s because I especially enjoy reading WW2 Historical Fiction, and it never does get easier to read. I hope that everyone will see the benefit in reading such a story, she was an absolute inspiration.