Author: Young, Sara
Title: My Enemy's Cradle
I knew about the Lebensborn and the Nazis' plan to create a 'Master Race' before I read this book, but I didn't know that actual Lebensborn maternity homes were set up throughout Germany. Apparently hundreds of young women came to these homes to live and give birth to their perfect babies during the war. And not just German girls. Girls from almost every western European country participated in this Lebensborn program.
Cyrla is one of those girls, but she has a secret; she's half-Jewish. In My Enemy's Cradle, Cyrla uses her Dutch cousin's, Anneke's, papers to hide in one of these Lebensborn maternity homes in order to protect herself and her unborn child from the Germans. She plans to leave the home before it's time to give birth, but during war time things rarely go as planned.
I liked Cyrla, but found her stubborn refusal to acknowledge the ugly truths of the war a bit frustrating. She continually refuses to admit the precariousness of her own situation just as she refuses to accept the probable fate of her family back in Poland. It takes her quite awhile to grow up. But overall, I found the story of the Lebensborn fascinating, and I also enjoyed the way Young writes. If you like books set during World War II, this is a good one. And another serendipitous find from the Y shelf.
P.S. While I did borrow this book from the library, I finished reading it the last week of December, so it's not cheating. The rest of my January posts will all be about books from my own shelves.