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i will plant you a lilac tree by Laura Hillman

The Book:

Hannelore Wolff is attending a jewish boarding school when she receives a letter from her mother informing her that her father has been taken by the Nazi’s and has died. A few days later she receives another letter from her mother telling her that her brothers and her mother were being deported to the East. In a brave move Hannelore writes a letter to the Nazi’s requesting that she be deported along with the rest of the family and is granted her wish.

She starts the journey along with her family and goes through a traumatic phase shifting between concentration camps and loosing most or all of her family but managing to find love and friendship at the same time.

The View:

I generally try to avoid reading non-fiction books as they do not fascinate me as much as fiction does. I would attribute that to the fact that many non-fiction authors use detailed and extremely graphic descriptions assuming that they are creating an impact. “i will plant you a lilac tree” was a sharp contrast from the typical non-fiction books that we come across. The book is a memoir of Hannelore Wolff (Laura Hillman) and details her life in Germany during the Nazi rule.

Hannelore is among the few survivors who miraculously made it to Oskar Schindler’s list. The book talks about her life and experiences in various concentration camps before getting onto the Schindler’s list. As expected, the events are sad and in-human but Laura’s subdued style of writing could give any seasoned author a run for their money. Hannelore stands out as an extremely bold and inspirational woman and makes us thank survivors like her who could give us a glimpse of the cruel world they lived in.

The book is filled with an equal share of happiness, sadness, friendship, love, loss and hope. But what makes “i will plant you a lilac tree” stand out from the rest of the holocaust memoir books is that it eventually is a story of triumph and love. When you put down the book all you will ever remember is the love that the now married couple Hannelore and Hillman (another survivor) had for each other.

If you have not read a holocaust memoir then this is not the book for you. While written in an artful way, it still leaves a crude impact on us. Rated a 4 on 5.


5 Responses

  1. What would you say the main theme of this book was?

  2. What would you say the plot of this book was?

  3. what would you say the tone or mood of this book is?

    • Throughout the whole book the mood changes. It starts happy, and then gets sad, it does have some romance, which I found interesting. And then ends happy again. It was a good, quick, easy read and I highly recommend it.

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