Rose Under Fire

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
"Incredible. It is just incredible that you can notice something like that when your face is so cold you can't feel it anymore, and you know perfectly well you are surrounded by death, and the only way to stay alive is to endure the howling wind and hold your course. And still the sky is beautiful” (Wein, p.19).

18-year old American, Rose Justice, has signed up to volunteer as an air transport auxiliary pilot.  Unbeknownst to her is the horror she will encounter when her mission goes horribly wrong and she is placed in the hands of the enemy at Ravensbruck concentration camp for women.  Nazi’s tell Rose that she is a skilled worker and she begins working in a factory where she discovers she is making bomb fuses.  Rose refuses to make the fuses and is severely beaten twice.  She is then relocated to a higher security area of Ravensbruck.  It is here she meets the “Rabbits.”  The Rabbits are the Polish prisoners who regularly endure horrific abuse and medical experimentation.  Many die as a result.

"Your brain does amazing acrobatics when it doesn't want to believe something” (Wein, p.105).

Wein does an amazing job of vividly telling a fictional story that could have been from a real prisoner held at Ravensbruck during WWII.  It is disturbing to think that merely 70 years ago events like this were taking place and that thousands of people died as a result.  

Compassion. Endurance. Humanity.  Rose Under Fire beautifully demonstrates that even in conditions of pure hell, the human spirit lives.  Rose is a solid, believable character. She becomes a friend.  The emotional journey that we as readers are invited into is gripping.  After six months of being held prisoner, Rose escapes.  Through the writing of a journal, Rose is able to fulfill the promise she made to all of the women she came to know at Ravensbruck.  She has told their story.

  • How is it possible to find friendship and happiness amongst such terror?
  • What happened to those that survived the horror of  Ravensbruck?
  • Will Rose be able to move forward with her life now that she is free?

Pick up a box of tissues and a copy of Rose Under Fire, this is one story that will stay with you long after the pages end.

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Emily D, Circulation

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