My Enemy's Cradle

My Enemy's Cradle

by Sara Young

Arlene Almas: The story of "My Enemy's Cradle" is heart-wrenching, yet told in a straightforward manner that makes it all too believable. When Nazi restrictions on German Jews become extensive in the early 1940's, Cyrla (CURL-a), a Jewish German teenager, is sent to live with her mother's relatives in Holland. Cyrla and her cousin Anneke, a couple of years older than she, become very close. Anneke discovers she is pregnant by her boyfriend, a German soldier (Germany has invaded Holland by this time), and the family decides she must go to one of the Lebensborn maternity homes set up by the Nazis for girls and women carrying "Aryan" babies. The Nazis consider these women very precious since their babies will grow up to be soldiers for the Reich (or mothers of soldiers), and the women are provided with large quantities of nutritious food and excellent health care while the rest of the population struggles to survive. The babies are then placed with "good Nazi families", unless the mother and "Aryan" father marry and adopt the child. This is a part of World War II history I was completely unaware of, and I felt both fascinated and disturbed by it. If this interests you so far, read the book to learn what becomes of Cyrla, Anneke, and other major and minor characters. I am very sensitive to books and movies about the Holocaust and often I'm not able to finish them, but this story and the character of Cyrla are exceptionally life-affirming and I'm glad I read it all the way through.
Rating: *****

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