The “mesmerizing and inspirational” (Judy Batalion) true story of two Holocaust survivors who fell in love in Auschwitz, only to be separated upon liberation and lead remarkable lives apart following the war—and then find each other again more than 70 years later.
Zippi Spitzer and David Wisnia were captivated by each other from the moment they first exchanged glances across the work floor. It was the beginning of a love story that could have happened anywhere. Except for one difference: this romance was unfolding in history’s most notorious death camp, between two young prisoners whose budding intimacy risked dooming them if they were caught.
Incredibly, David and Zippi survived for years beneath the ash-choked skies of Auschwitz. Under the protection of their fellow inmates, their romance grew and deepened, even as their brushes with death mounted and David’s luck in particular seemed close to running out. As the war’s end finally approached and the time came for them to leave the camp, David and Zippi made plans to meet again. But neither of them could imagine how long their reunion would take or how many lives they would live in the interim. They had no inkling, either, of the betrayals that would await them along the way. But David did suspect that Zippi harbored a secret—one that could explain the mystery of his survival all those years ago.
An unbelievable tale of romance, sacrifice, loss, and resilience, Lovers in Auschwitz is a saga of two young people who found themselves trapped inside a waking nightmare of the Nazis’ creation, yet who nevertheless discovered a love that sustained them through history’s darkest hour.
About the Author
Keren Blankfeld is a long-form journalist with a special interest in investigative narrative nonfiction. A former staff writer for Forbes Magazine, her stories have appeared in the New York Times, Forbes, Reuters, The Toronto Star, and others. She teaches reporting and writing at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and has also taught at the New York University’s Graduate School. She has been a guest on CNN, BBC World News, and E! Entertainment. In 2013, Keren served as a creative executive at New Regency Productions, where she worked with screenwriters and playwrights to develop material for movies and TV shows. She holds a B.A. in International Relations and English from Tufts University and an M.S. in Journalism from Columbia University. She now lives in New York with her husband and two sons.
“A complicated, important story, told with great care.”—The Los Angeles Times
“A page-turning account of [an] unlikely love story… Fast-paced and novelistic, this is a moving demonstration of the ability to find love in the darkest places.”—Publishers Weekly
“A story of hope in one of humanity’s most hopeless places, Lovers in Auschwitz honors those who were lost while producing fresh insights into the nature of survival, the resilience of memory, the unseen debts we all owe one another, and, yes, the transformative power of love.”—Robert Kolker, New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Valley Road and Lost Girls
“Most of what we know about the life of prisoners in Auschwitz comes from testimonies by men. In Lovers in Auschwitz, we see it through the eyes of the indomitable Zippi, who uses her grit and ingenuity to protect herself and others. Demonstrating both copious research and narrative flair, Keren Blankfeld offers an intimate and surprising story of Auschwitz from the inside, remarkable for both its insights into the workings of the camp and its heart.”—Ruth Franklin, National Book Critics Circle Award–winning author of Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life and A Thousand Darknesses: Lies and Truth in Holocaust Fiction
“What will a woman do for the man she loves? Lovers in Auschwitz is a reminder of how we desperately need love to survive. Keren Blankfeld’s research and scholarly attention to detail is exquisite; her narrative covers decades, inside and outside of the camps, from the prewar era to liberation and old age. A powerful reminder that love can conquer all.”—Heather Dune Macadam, author of 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz and Star Crossed: A Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris
"A love story like no other, this profoundly moving book teaches us how the human spirit can never be entirely extinguished—even in the hell of Auschwitz." —Julia Boyd, Sunday Times bestselling author of Travellers in the Third Reich: The Rise of Fascism through the Eyes of Everyday People and A Village in the Third Reich: How Ordinary Lives were Transformed by the Rise of Fascism
"Haunting and powerfully resonant: an extraordinary story of human light and love shining even in the foulest darkness. Written with magnetic sensitivity, this is a story not just of remarkable individuals, but also a tribute to the wider indomitability of the human spirit at the darkest moment in European history."—Sinclair McKay, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Fire and the Darkness: The Bombing of Dresden 1945, The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park, and Berlin: Life and Death in the City at the Center of the World
“Moving and tragic … A true tale of love amid unimaginable suffering.”—Kirkus Reviews
“In Lovers in Auschwitz, Keren Blankfeld offers a vivid portrait of the brutality of daily life at Auschwitz, alongside formidable tales of people who risked their lives to save others—even strangers—through sabotage, sympathy, and love. Mesmerizing and inspirational.”—Judy Batalion, New York Times bestselling author of The Light of Days
“A tale so incredible, so improbable, that it could only be true; a story so moving, so poignant, that it could only be inspired by love. Your Holocaust library is incomplete without this book.”—Larry Loftis, New York Times bestselling author of The Watchmaker's Daughter
“What could be a greater act of defiance than two young, Jewish inmates finding love in a Nazi concentration camp? With skill and painstaking research, Blankfeld introduces her readers to the extraordinary women and men who worked to undermine the Nazis while interned at Auschwitz, risking what little hope of life they had left to help save each other. Anyone meeting these individuals on Blankfeld’s pages will not forget them.”—Rebecca Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of Into the Forest
"Alternately heart-warming, thrilling and achingly poignant, Keren Blankfeld’s Lovers in Auschwitz is the true story of Zippi and David, young Jews who against all odds found love in the living hell that was Birkenau. Deeply researched and brilliantly told, it is a tale that will remain with readers long after they’ve turned the final page. Very highly recommended."—Stephen Harding, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Battle
“A journey of discovery into one of the darkest moments in modern history, Lovers in Auschwitz is a haunting and nuanced account of two Auschwitz prisoners who risked the unimaginable to find moments of love and humanity in each other, against a backdrop of evil. With extraordinary research and effortless prose, Keren Blankfeld guides us through war, heartache, and resilience.”—Alexis Clark, author of Enemies in Love: A German POW, A Black Nurse, and An Unlikely Romance