Published By: Hodder and Stoughton
Date Released: 02/09/2021
At the height of the Holocaust, 25 young inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp were selected to design, cut, and sew beautiful fashions for elite Nazi women in a dedicated salon. It was work that they hoped would spare them from the gas chambers. The fashion workshop – called the Upper Tailoring Studio – was established by Hedwig Höss, the camp commandment’s wife, and patronised by the wives of SS guards and officers,
Drawing on diverse sources – including interviews with the last surviving seamstress – this book follows the fates of these brave women. Their bonds of family and friendship not only helped them endure persecution, but also to play their part in camp resistance. Weaving the dressmakers’ remarkable experiences within the context of Nazi policies for plunder and exploitation, historian Lucy Adlington exposes the greed, cruelty and hypocrisy of the third reich and offers a fresh look at a little known chapter of World War II and the Holocaust.
Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
I’ve read quite a number of Holocaust books in my time, especially this year, and whilst there may be hints of repetitiveness through them, I will never fail to be astounded and horrified by each story. But Adlington has managed to find the right balance between being sensitive and respectful and not shying away from the horrors of what was happening.
The idea of a dressmaking salon in the middle of a concentration camp seems absurd. A seemingly peaceful, creative outlet smack bang in the middle of a torture camp. It is unbelievable to think that people still have the ideologies – maybe not to the same extent – today.
It is very well researched and clearly Adlington was very touched by the stories she heard.
As with all Auschwitz books, it is not an easy read at all, but it was a pleasure (if that’s the right word for it) to read about such a little known group of inmates. It’s so important that all their stories are told and retold through the generations.