• Ravensbruck

  • Life and Death in Hitler's Concentration Camp for Women
  • By: Sarah Helm
  • Narrated by: Christa Lewis
  • Length: 32 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (423 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

On a sunny morning in May 1939, a phalanx of 867 women - housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes - was marched through the woods 50 miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded in through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards. Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Holocaust. By the end of the war 130,000 women from more than 20 different European countries had been imprisoned there; among the prominent names were Geneviève de Gaulle, General de Gaulle's niece, and Gemma La Guardia Gluck, sister of the wartime mayor of New York. Only a small number of these women were Jewish; Ravensbrück was largely a place for the Nazis to eliminate other inferior beings - social outcasts, Gypsies, political enemies, foreign resisters, the sick, the disabled, and the "mad". Over six years the prisoners endured beatings, torture, slave labor, starvation, and random execution. In the final months of the war, Ravensbrück became an extermination camp. Estimates of the final death toll by April 1945 have ranged from 30,000 to 90,000.

©2015 Sarah Helm (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about Ravensbruck

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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My mother was a Ravensbruck survivor.

This is the best of the various accounts I have read, and comes closest to the stories told to me by my mother and grandmother who both survived Ravensbruck. I was told stories, by both my mother and grandmother, mostly growing up as a child in the early 50s while living in Paris. Both had been in the French resistance and had been deported, to Ravensbruck, after a stay at Fresnes prison. They both survived and were liberated after two years, by the well described white buses.
My mother started the Reseau Vaneau, named after the street where our family lived, in Paris. Comet Line-Elisabeth Barbier, worked as a member of the Comet Line in Paris in 1942 before working with Val Williams (Oaktree line) and then starting the Reseau Vaneau. Arrested in 1943 and sent to Ravensbrück until liberated in 1945. There is a drawing of my mother, in Ravensbruck, in the book Le Triangle Rouge by Catherine Roux.

35 people found this helpful

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My thoughts

The narrator did a great job. This book was very intense and I learned so much about a part of history I did not know much about before. I chose this book after reading The Lilac Girls, which was about the Rabbits, another good book. I would definitely recommend this book.

18 people found this helpful

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A good read, but tough to get through.

I listen to audio books at work and I really enjoy books on this topic. The information and the delivery of the book were great. It was just so heavy with facts and names that sometimes it was hard to keep straight.

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

Such an amazing and sad story. Very well written and full of first hand accounts. History owes Sarah Helm a big thanks for this book.
I’m not sure I’ve ever listened to a better narrator. She reads this book as if she wrote it. As far as audio books go, this is an absolute masterpiece!

7 people found this helpful

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A tale of NAZI horror.

Told in a way that puts you in the death camp and in the heads of the women who suffered and died there. NAZI evil laid bare. Even after 75 years, the whole story of NAZI atrocities has yet to be told. This book fills in another little part of the story and is another warning that we must never fail to oppose those who would recreate a NAZI type vicious and deadly regime no matter where it's ugly head rises from the sewers.

15 people found this helpful

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well done

The 'Story" is horrible. That is the point of the book. well detailed history. I wanted to know more of Ravensbruck, Now I know more. There are no feel good moments in this account, except perhaps liberation, Its an account that does not flinch.

4 people found this helpful

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A story that needs to be told

This was a difficult book to get through due to the nature of its content. It’s very graphic, yet, there should be no glossing over the horrors of what happened there. I did find myself fast-forwarding because it could get to be too much. It was hard to believe that so much could be collected by the author, but I will trust that was collected by first-hand sources. The narrator did an exceptional job of pronouncing the numerous names of the victims , but I did find it difficult to follow all the subjects in the book. The accent she used was at times good for emphasis, and at others , seemed “staged” and lost its effect. It’s a very long read, but I am glad I did. This is a good addition to your reading list of you are interested in the history of the Holocaust .

4 people found this helpful

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Well done ladies-

One of the more complete historical books on the camps, but also timely research, as this generation’s time proves short. Narration is always amazing when you have two or more languages threading through a story line and various dialogue flipping from one country to another. A difficult task but well done.

4 people found this helpful

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It’s not too long.

This is an incredibly researched, well written, and perfectly performed audible. Brilliant best describes it. Rape of Nanking is on the same lines, but without as much excruciating detail.

Medical experiments are described in horrifying detail. I was aware of medical experiments, but the detail was unimaginable.

I listen to this during my hourly brisk walks. I listen to some books to help put me to sleep, but not this one. I don’t want to miss a chapter. After the first few chapters, which provide general background, the pace quickens. The sections on captured Soviet Women Red Army soldiers gave me insight in an area I knew nothing about. You will not want to give up on this book. Thirty plus hours is time well spent.

2 people found this helpful

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Remarkable and compelling.

Combination of engrossing content and impeccable narration. I feel privileged to have had an expertly orchestrated guided tour through the inner sanctum of one of history’s great black holes.

2 people found this helpful