The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood – review.

Publication date: 18th November, 2020.


Auschwitz, 1943: In the depths of hell, can hope rise? And can love triumph over hatred?

Based on the unforgettable true story of Alma Rosé, The Violinist of Auschwitz brings to life one of history’s most fearless, inspiring and courageous heroines. Alma’s bravery saved countless lives, bringing hope to those who had forgotten its meaning…

In Auschwitz, every day is a fight for survival. Alma is inmate 50381, the number tattooed on her skin in pale blue ink. She is cooped up with thousands of others, torn from loved ones, trapped in a maze of barbed wire. Every day people disappear, never to be seen again.

This tragic reality couldn’t be further from Alma’s previous life. An esteemed violinist, her performances left her audiences spellbound. But when the Nazis descend on Europe, none of that can save her…

When the head of the women’s camp appoints Alma as the conductor of the orchestra, performing for prisoners trudging to work as well as the highest-ranking Nazis, Alma refuses: “they can kill me but they won’t make me play”. Yet she soon realizes the power this position offers: she can provide starving girls with extra rations and save many from the clutches of death.

This is how Alma meets Miklos, a talented pianist. Surrounded by despair, they find happiness in joint rehearsals, secret notes, and concerts they give side by side––all the while praying that this will one day end. But in Auschwitz, the very air is tainted with loss, and tragedy is the only certainty… In such a hopeless place, can their love survive?

This devastatingly heartbreaking yet beautifully hopeful tale proves that even in the darkest of days, love can prevail––and give you something to live for. Fans of The Choice, The Tattooist of Auschwitz and The Orphan Train will lose their hearts to this magnificent tale.

My thoughts

Okay, I love horror of all descriptions and I read a hell-of-a lot of gruesome crime, but war stories, especially those based on real life people really make me buckle. There is nothing more horrific than the devastation of war and the holocaust. I avoided watching ‘Schindler’s List’ for so many years as I thought I wouldn’t be able take it. I spend so much time mulling over documentaries about what happened in the concentration camps, they play on my mind (and so they should).

I really struggle to read this genre as I find it upsetting. However, it happened and there are stories to tell and I chose this book to read. Why? The people who ended up in those concentration camps deserve to be heard however hard people like me find it to listen.

Ellie Midwood has written a brilliant, well researched book based on the time violinist, Alma Rosé, spent at Auschwitz and believe me, it’s heartbreaking. I see a brave woman, someone who still managed to be herself throughout and someone who helped so many. The reader letter at the end and the section about Alma’s actual life was interesting and I’d recommend that if you read this book, don’t skip those bits. There’s so much more to think about and process.

As for this novel, it’s raw, it’s sad, it made me angry – everything you’d expect a person to feel after reading this book. It’s brilliantly written and stories like this need to be written. They need to be read. They scare me because they tell of a truth, a real life atrocity that happened.

I’d say, read it! It’s a must, that’s for sure and the end – oh my goodness – definitely have your tissues at hand!

Thanks for reading!

Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.

Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.


About Carla

Welcome to my blog! I’m the author of the DI Gina Harte Series, first book is called The Next Girl. I love and live for writing and reading (and sketching - haha). My other passion is filmmaking. My feature film 'Penny for the Guy' is a work in progress. If you enjoy a bit of horror, look out for it in the future. I'm on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Feel free to join me on other platforms. I blog about many random things but books, travel and art are my favourites.
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1 Response to The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood – review.

  1. Pingback: Stranded by Stuart James – review. | Carla Kovach – Author

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