A Holocaust survivor whose horrific story of imprisonment in Auschwitz and then a Russian gulag inspired a new novel.
Cecilia Kovachova was taken to Hitler's death camp as a teenager and then exiled by Soviet invaders in 1945 to a prison camp in Siberia.
In the new novel Cilka & # 39; s Journey, she is portrayed as teenage sex slave Cilka Klein, who is a & # 39; privileged & # 39; position of an occupied Nazi guard – making the Russians consider her a collaborator.
The blurring of the book by truth and fiction has caused anger at the true surviving family of the Holocaust.
Lifelike Holocaust survivor: Cecilia Kovachova – who inspired the main character in the new novel Cilka & Journey – is portrayed with her husband Ivan after their release from a Soviet gulag
Cecilia Kovachova is pictured above with her husband Ivan, whom she met while they were both prisoners in the Russian labor camp.
In the book, Ivan is replaced by the character of Alexandr with whom she falls in love in the same way while in Soviet hands.
Just like the real Kovachova, the character is imprisoned in the Vorkuta gulag, a prison camp established by Stalin that housed tens of thousands of prisoners.
She was finally released in the 1950s, when Stalin's successor Nikita Khrushchev attempted to dismantle the legacy of the former dictator.
Australian author Heather Morris tried to track down the real Kovachova in the investigation of her book Cilka & Journey, but the Holocaust survivor died in 2004.
& # 39; The story of Cilka is about burning injustice. She was just a girl, a teenager, who has experienced two of the worst periods in history and has become a spoils of war, & the author told the Event magazine earlier this year.
& # 39; Only shame kept women like them from talking about what was done to them. I hope this book is about the transfer of that shame.
& # 39; As far as I understand, after talking to people who knew her until her death, Cilka was an incredibly loving, caring person who would do anything for everyone.
Hitler's death camp: Cecilia Kovachova was taken to Auschwitz (photo) as a teenager. In the novel, her character wins the favor of a confused Nazi guard
& # 39; It goes without saying that one element of that had to come from her experiences in Birkenau. I can't ask her, nobody can do it now, but her behavior indicates it. & # 39;
Mrs. Morris told the Such a today: & I saw Cilka & # 39; s school reports, I was standing outside her house, I went to the synagogue where she worshiped and met many people who knew her. & # 39;
In Auschwitz, the author said that her character had attracted the attention of a senior Nazi officer and was charged with the death of a death block for women sentenced to gas chambers.
Once the Red Army arrived in 1945 in the invasion that smashed Hitler's Germany, she was seen as a co-worker and brought to Siberia in a cattle truck.
An online advertisement for the new book describes it as a compelling true story of love and resilience & # 39 ;.
& # 39; Cilka is only sixteen years old when she is taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1942, where the commander immediately notices how beautiful she is & it says.
& # 39; Forcibly separated from the other female prisoners, Cilka quickly learns that power, even unintentionally taken, equals survival.
& # 39; When the war is over and the camp is liberated, Cilka is not granted freedom: she is accused of cooperating with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp.
Soviet prison camp: Kovachova was imprisoned in Vorkuta-gulag (photo), a camp founded by Stalin with tens of thousands of prisoners
& # 39; From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka & # 39; s journey relieves the resilience of the human mind – and the will we have to survive. & # 39;
However, the real Kovachova & # 39; s stepson George Kovach recently criticized the novel and said it would be "destroyed."
& # 39; She was in the Holocaust, she was in Auschwitz, she spent nine years in a gulag, and now to drag her reputation and her life through the mud, I think that's just terrible, & # 39; he said.
The book of Morris is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, a bestseller novel by the same author who was criticized by the Auschwitz Memorial Research Center.
& # 39; Given the number of actual errors, this book cannot be recommended as a valuable title for those who want to explore and understand the history of Auschwitz concentration camp & # 39 ;, wrote Auschwitz researcher Wanda Witek-Malicka.
& # 39; The preliminary investigation, if it was already carried out, was not reliable, and the saved documentation (in Auschwitz) was not considered at all.
The picture shows Cilka with her husband Ivan, stepson George Kovach and his wife and child
& # 39; The book contains countless errors and information that is inconsistent with the facts, as well as exaggerations, misinterpretations and understatements on which the overall non-authentic view of the camp reality is built.
Of all the thousands of victims of concentration camps whose identity numbers were inked in their arms by Lale Sokolov, the tattoo artist of Auschwitz, one in particular remained in his memory until his death. Her name was Cilka Klein.
A prisoner of the Vorkuta Gulag, one of the most important Soviet labor camps, Russia, Komi Republic, 1945
& # 39; He would wag his finger and tell me that she was the bravest person, not the bravest girl, but the bravest person he had ever met, "says author Heather Morris, whose novelization of Lale & # 39; s life story last year became a million-selling book.
Sokolov spoke of Cilka in those terms because she was immediately taken prisoner by the Soviet army after her release from Auschwitz-Birkenau and sentenced to 15 years of forced labor in one of Stalin's most remote and horrible gulags, Vorkuta.
Her alleged crimes slept with the enemy and spied on. Cilka was only 16 when she arrived at Hitler's death camp, but it was beautiful enough to attract the attention of a senior Nazi officer who took her as a sex slave. To keep her close, he gave her a & # 39; privileged & # 39; job, as guardian of a death block for women sentenced to gas chambers.
When Sokolov started his life as a free man after the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, Cilka was branded as an employee and transported by livestock truck to Vorkuta, a gulag deep in the Arctic Circle.
She was only 18 years old.
What happened to her is the subject of Morris' second book, the sequel to The Tattooist Of Auschwitz. Just like her debut, which supplemented bestseller lists around the world, it is a fictional work based on a real life.
Morris said: "The story of Cilka is one of burning injustice. She was just a girl, a teenager, who went through two of the worst periods in history and became a spoils of war. Shame alone stopped women like them from talking about what had been done to them. I hope this book is about the transfer of that shame. & # 39;
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