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999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

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On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women--many of them teenagers--were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labor. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive. The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish--but also because they were female. Now acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history.


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On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women--many of them teenagers--were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labor. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive. The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish--but also because they were female. Now acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history.

30 review for 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jane Brewer

    I won this through a Goodreads Giveaway. This is the startling story of the first women to be transported to Auschwitz. I read a lot of Holocaust literature and the story of those who survived (and even those who perished) never ceases to amaze me. Again, the fact that the Nazis went to such great lengths to dehumanize these women is stunning. Why? Just why? I will never understand how these men and women agreed to participate in such awful behavior.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘Why would anyone want to take away teenage girls?’ I did not know what to expect when I read this book. I was unaware that the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz contained 999 young Jewish women. And, as distressing as it is to read of yet another example of inhumanity, it is important that the stories of these women are not forgotten. On the 25th of March in 1942, nearly one thousand unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. They believed that they would be working ‘Why would anyone want to take away teenage girls?’ I did not know what to expect when I read this book. I was unaware that the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz contained 999 young Jewish women. And, as distressing as it is to read of yet another example of inhumanity, it is important that the stories of these women are not forgotten. On the 25th of March in 1942, nearly one thousand unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. They believed that they would be working for the government for a few months, in a factory. Instead the young women (many still teenagers) were sent to Auschwitz. Few of them would survive. Their government paid 500 Reichsmarks per person for the Nazis to take them as slave labour. These women were powerless, both because they were Jewish and because they were female. In this book, Heather Dune Macadam reveals some of their stories. To do this, she has drawn on interviews with survivors, witnesses and families and the USC Shoah testimonies. This is a harrowing read. In terms of survival, some work assignments were slightly safer and more comfortable than others. Some women survived, most did not. Illness was almost always a death sentence, as were the whims of the guards. Survival had its own cost for many. There are few survivors now. And many of us, born after World War II, have limited knowledge of what happened. Accounts such as this are important: we need to remember their lives; we need to acknowledge the horror; we need to acknowledge the failings of so many who allowed (by ignoring what was happening) such a tragedy to occur. These women were not fighters or prisoners of war. They were young women who thought they were helping the government. They were young women looking to the future. Their stories are important and should not be forgotten. Thank you, Ms Macadam for writing this book. ‘A novel would end here. It would wrap up with everyone safe and happy and travelling home to be with loved ones. Fiction can do that. Nonfiction cannot. And that is not how wars end.’ Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  3. 4 out of 5

    Natalyn Houk

    Emotional. That's the one word I would use to describe "999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz". Heather Dune Macadam paints a very realistic picture of the lives of these women, based on extensive interviews. Books like this are invaluable. One thing Macadam does extremely well is making sure her narration is as accurate as possible. It's extremely evident the time and research that went into writing this book. Repeatedly it is noted which things Emotional. That's the one word I would use to describe "999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz". Heather Dune Macadam paints a very realistic picture of the lives of these women, based on extensive interviews. Books like this are invaluable. One thing Macadam does extremely well is making sure her narration is as accurate as possible. It's extremely evident the time and research that went into writing this book. Repeatedly it is noted which things might have been true or which things were foggy in the memories of the survivors. This adds a layer of authenticity to the text that draws readers closer to the subject matter and makes it more personal. Books like this can tend to be dense and full of despair. Macadams does good work on keeping the story moving, so no one aspect can be overly dwelt upon, but also nothing is overlooked or made to seem less important. The sheer number of subjects within the text makes the story move quickly from girl to girl and story to story. Also, the book has a relatable feeling. Young women with dreams and futures is something most readers can relate to. Leaning into this feeling carries the story like nature of the narrative. Overall, this book was so good! Macadam takes serious subject matter and presents it in the most interesting way possible: giving names and faces to victims. Macadam makes readers take a moment to truly care and remember and reflect. This book is a must read. Thanks to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the ARC of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    S C Worrall

    It's rare that you can say "untold story" about the Holocaust, but this really is one - the story of the first official transport of Jews to Auschwitz, and the 999 young girls and women who were taken on it. Most Holocaust history has tended to be male-centric ( think Primo Levi or Eli Wiesel), so until now the story of these young women had been ignored. Using previously overlooked archives in Slovakia, and the testimonies of survivors and their children, Ms. Macadam, an award winning Holocaust It's rare that you can say "untold story" about the Holocaust, but this really is one - the story of the first official transport of Jews to Auschwitz, and the 999 young girls and women who were taken on it. Most Holocaust history has tended to be male-centric ( think Primo Levi or Eli Wiesel), so until now the story of these young women had been ignored. Using previously overlooked archives in Slovakia, and the testimonies of survivors and their children, Ms. Macadam, an award winning Holocaust biographer, has created a multi-narrative story that reads like a novel, yet never distorts the facts ( unlike novels like The Tatooist of Auschwitz). In the age of Boko Haram and the #MeToo movement, the story of these girls as we follow them from freedom to slavery and oppression is particularly timely. Passionately told, deeply moving and, despite the nature of the material, uplifting, this book is set to become an instant classic.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nissa

    This was a very informative and descriptive book. I felt sorry for all of the pain and suffering that these heroic young Jewish girls had to endure during the Holocaust in WWII Europe. These girls had great strength and courage. I urge everyone to read this book and especially needs to be told to the younger generations although very sad because of what they went through. I would highly recommend this book if you like to read Holocaust literature.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ionia

    This book is very compelling, though as always with this type of book, at times it can be emotionally challenging. I've read quite a few books about the Holocaust and the various transports to different concentration camps, but this is the first book I've read solely dedicated to the first transport and dealing mostly with female inmates. It was interesting to see the names of some of the more notorious capos described with more detail and to see the types of jobs the inmates were forced to do. This book is very compelling, though as always with this type of book, at times it can be emotionally challenging. I've read quite a few books about the Holocaust and the various transports to different concentration camps, but this is the first book I've read solely dedicated to the first transport and dealing mostly with female inmates. It was interesting to see the names of some of the more notorious capos described with more detail and to see the types of jobs the inmates were forced to do. Often when I read these histories, I feel like the reader only experiences things from the outside. This book really allows you to look inside the lives of these women and feel as if you are living through the hell they lived through. It is a very well-written, well-researched book that will give you a viewpoint that many other books do not. If you are interested in the history of the Nazi occupations and the concentration/death camps, this would be an important book to add to your collection. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the inside story of these events, from those who lived through it, and those who did not--through the eyes of those who knew them. This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    999 by Heather Dune Macadam is a fabulous book that brings to light the stories of the almost 1,000 women that were taken in the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz on 3/25/42. This compilation of accounts of these precious Jewish women whom were taken against their will to this atrocious destination is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. Yet, the reader is left with a sense of courage, hope, friendship, and love that knows no bounds and is not suppressed despite the trials and tribulations 999 by Heather Dune Macadam is a fabulous book that brings to light the stories of the almost 1,000 women that were taken in the first transport from Slovakia to Auschwitz on 3/25/42. This compilation of accounts of these precious Jewish women whom were taken against their will to this atrocious destination is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. Yet, the reader is left with a sense of courage, hope, friendship, and love that knows no bounds and is not suppressed despite the trials and tribulations that these women were unjustly taken into. The author clearly has done her research, as the amount of material, documents, and interviews that were needed to give these women a voice is astounding. As someone whose distant family perished in this horrid place, I read this with emotions that leaked into my very bones and being. This is a stunning remembrance and book that will stay with me forever. 5/5 stars Thank you NetGalley and and Kensington/Citadel Press for this ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aletha Pagett

    It's been several days since I finished this book, received from Goodreads. I remember the impact that Macadam's book, Rena's Promise had on me but 999 was even more powerful The Holocaust was about individuals and this tells a few of their stories. Thank you to both the author and to the amazing survivors for sharing this difficult and horrific part of their lives.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Missy

    The tale of nearly 1,000 Jewish women from Slovakia to be shipped to the German death camp at Auschwitz, March 1942. A tale of strength and how these women helped each other survive. The author did a wonderful job of interweaving her interviews with witnesses, survivors, and families in this story. Thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the ARC

  10. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    *Disclaimer: I won this book from a Goodreads first-reads giveaway I will start by saying I have a slight "obsession" with Holocaust -based books. Some may say it is my "favorite" genre. I think it is because every book I read, and I will admit most of them are historical fiction, make me feel a little more sickened with every book I have read. To read a true account from survivors perspective is even more horrific. The fact that there are people today who think the Holocaust was a hoax, *Disclaimer: I won this book from a Goodreads first-reads giveaway I will start by saying I have a slight "obsession" with Holocaust -based books. Some may say it is my "favorite" genre. I think it is because every book I read, and I will admit most of them are historical fiction, make me feel a little more sickened with every book I have read. To read a true account from survivors perspective is even more horrific. The fact that there are people today who think the Holocaust was a hoax, completely befuddles me. The sheer horror that 2 men escaped Auschwitz and told authorities what was happening and drew a map of where the crematoriums were and no one did a thing makes me sick to my stomach. We keep hearing the phrase "Never Again" but this is still happening today. There is so much antisemitism even in 2020 that there are not enough adjectives to use about how terrifying and shocking this is. This book about the first 999 women that were taken to Auschwitz from Slovakia is amazingly written. The accounts from the survivors are harrowing. But what is more amazing is how many of these women survived in these unlivable conditions. And they lived to be well into their 90s. It was a hard book to read. It took me nearly 2 weeks to get through and I read a lot. I liked how the author said at the end of the book that this is not a work of fiction therefore there are not happy endings. After liberation, some of these women who had survived this ordeal were raped by Russian soldiers. Their families and homes were gone. They had nothing and yet they rebuilt their lives. Some stayed near their hometowns and many emigrated around the world. The fact that people deny this happened is amazing to me. I would love to know what they think really happened to the millions of Jews and others considered "non-Aryan" that were exterminated. I'll never understand.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam is a Historical account of the Holocaust. The author did exhaustive research and used this research to reproduce conversations, events and scenes in this book to make it more realistic. Before I choose a book to review I like to research the author and any previous books if available. I was pleased to find Ms. Macadam had written a previous book that focused on Auschwitz Rena's Promise: 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam is a Historical account of the Holocaust. The author did exhaustive research and used this research to reproduce conversations, events and scenes in this book to make it more realistic. Before I choose a book to review I like to research the author and any previous books if available. I was pleased to find Ms. Macadam had written a previous book that focused on Auschwitz Rena's Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz. I read a sample of it, immediately purchased it and requested her newest book 999 to read and review. Her writing style has understanding, warmth and empathy for the lives of those she portrays. This book is well written with excellent descriptions, extensive details and some photos of the families, homes, religious practices, and Nazi concentration camps. In this book there many heroic actions and I found the brave endurance of the Holocaust victims incredible. Holocaust tories are so important to history, therefore we must hear as many as possible before they are lost forever. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book. 5 Stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. 999 is the meticulously researched story of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz from Slovakia in 1942. Due out 31st Dec 2019 from Kensington Books, it's 417 pages and will be available in hardcover, audiobook, and ebook formats. The writing was riveting and emotionally difficult to read in some places. Especially in light of the trends in modern politics, and the fact that it's all too believable that it could happen again, I felt an Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. 999 is the meticulously researched story of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz from Slovakia in 1942. Due out 31st Dec 2019 from Kensington Books, it's 417 pages and will be available in hardcover, audiobook, and ebook formats. The writing was riveting and emotionally difficult to read in some places. Especially in light of the trends in modern politics, and the fact that it's all too believable that it could happen again, I felt an undercurrent of urgency reading this book. It was compelling and the third person narrative put an accessible human face on the history. Most of the books I've read about the Holocaust seem to have been a lot more focused on the male dominated parts of the war, the Holocaust, and the history. This book seemed a lot more personal to me. Really well written, full of annotations and a bibliography for further reading. This would make a superlative resource in an academic setting as well as an important personal read. Four stars. Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Cath

    I was going to say that this book was amazing. After I typed it, before deleting, I realized that that word didn't even touch what this book is. We pay huge amounts of money to go to theaters and see horror movies. These 999 women, and all that came after, lived it, morning, noon and night for years; If they survived. A miracle achievement compiling this information for us. Thank you Heather Dune Macadam. I firmly believe that these stories, the stories of genocides and slavery should be taught I was going to say that this book was amazing. After I typed it, before deleting, I realized that that word didn't even touch what this book is. We pay huge amounts of money to go to theaters and see horror movies. These 999 women, and all that came after, lived it, morning, noon and night for years; If they survived. A miracle achievement compiling this information for us. Thank you Heather Dune Macadam. I firmly believe that these stories, the stories of genocides and slavery should be taught to all children of all persuasions. If this were the practice, there would be so much less hatred in the world. This was a Goodreads Giveaway. I will re-read this book than once.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jen Juenke

    I have read a TON of Holocaust books about survivors and have even read the definitive work of Martin Gilbert, however, this book provided a great light upon a part of the Holocaust that I had not read much about. This book is about the ladies of the first transport to Auschwitz. They were promised to work for 3 months and then sent home. Most did not survive. Some, some of the lucky did survive. This book is about the choices that they had to make, the hard reality of their situation (watching I have read a TON of Holocaust books about survivors and have even read the definitive work of Martin Gilbert, however, this book provided a great light upon a part of the Holocaust that I had not read much about. This book is about the ladies of the first transport to Auschwitz. They were promised to work for 3 months and then sent home. Most did not survive. Some, some of the lucky did survive. This book is about the choices that they had to make, the hard reality of their situation (watching loved ones taken to the gas chamber) and then freedom. It was overwhelming, yet I felt that I must bear witness. I learned something new and I am grateful to the author for telling a new side of the Holocaust story.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Julie (Bookish.Intoxication)

    Wow. This book is an incredible glimpse into the first Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine women who were transported to Auschwitz and their stories of survival, loss and love. Macadam writes with such passion, conviction and care, you can feel the respect oozing out of the pages for these women. For what they went through and what they had to do to survive. We all knew that the prisoners of WWII were transported by train to the concentration camps, that they were standing room only and horrifically over Wow. This book is an incredible glimpse into the first Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine women who were transported to Auschwitz and their stories of survival, loss and love. Macadam writes with such passion, conviction and care, you can feel the respect oozing out of the pages for these women. For what they went through and what they had to do to survive. We all knew that the prisoners of WWII were transported by train to the concentration camps, that they were standing room only and horrifically over packed. But what we didn't know was what happened within those trains, how the girls thought they were only leaving their families for three months, how they thought they would be fed and cared for. This book reads as easy as fiction and the pages keep turning. The additional quotes from the survivors give it a feeling of authenticity and realty, a punch of emotion and the sense of 'how could they do that to other human beings' If you read one book, based on the Holocaust in 2020, make it this one.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Dana

    A moving book about the stories of the 997 teenage girls and young women who were on the first transport to Auschwitz. Their experiences speak to your emotions, keeping you up reading in hopes of their survival. While a long book, it is focused more on these women’s story than in facts and data. Highly recommend for those wanting a non-fiction description of what occurred at Auschwitz. Thank you Kensington Publishing for an advanced copy in exchange an honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dru

    I’ve read and saw a lot about Auschwitz but never something like this book. It was incredibly detailed with women’s testimonies of their time in the death camp. The author was able to present their stories in a way that both emphasized their strength and horror they had to endure as a woman in a Nazi concentration camp, whether Jewish or not. I was horrified as I read what they had to go through. I was also very aware that they all had resiliency. Macadam did a wonderful job sharing their I’ve read and saw a lot about Auschwitz but never something like this book. It was incredibly detailed with women’s testimonies of their time in the death camp. The author was able to present their stories in a way that both emphasized their strength and horror they had to endure as a woman in a Nazi concentration camp, whether Jewish or not. I was horrified as I read what they had to go through. I was also very aware that they all had resiliency. Macadam did a wonderful job sharing their stories that still saw them as individuals. I’ve already recommended this book to so many people. I think it’s a must read for whoever wants to embrace the goodness in humanity but also needs to understand what people are capable of as well in order to avoid from having it happen again.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Absolutely amazing. I'll admit all the names in the beginning made it hard to follow, but once I got a grasp of that, I'm so glad I didn't give it up. What these women were put through is heartbreaking and Heather Dune Macadam did an excellent job of helping us to see it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sayo

    Heart breaking and informative, this is not a light or easy read. Often times when I read books on the Holocaust, unless they are written by survivors, I wonder how much has been assumed, or embellished by the author for the sake of the story. However I never got that feeling with this book. Macadams tells the story of the 999 young girls who, under the guise of going to work at a factory, made up the first transport of women to Auschwitz. With firsthand accounts from Auschwitz survivors, this Heart breaking and informative, this is not a light or easy read. Often times when I read books on the Holocaust, unless they are written by survivors, I wonder how much has been assumed, or embellished by the author for the sake of the story. However I never got that feeling with this book. Macadams tells the story of the 999 young girls who, under the guise of going to work at a factory, made up the first transport of women to Auschwitz. With firsthand accounts from Auschwitz survivors, this book is not for the faint of heart

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    I was lucky enough to receive this wonderful book in a Goodreads Giveaway. The Holocaust is entirely overwhelming to think about in terms of sheer numbers. This book really brought home the individual experiences these women faced. I highly encourage anyone interested in the concentration camps to read this book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Betty Davis

    Excellent book with a serious historical examination of the first "official" transport (first Jewish transport that was tattooed upon arrival). I had never heard about these women even tho I have read camp memoirs for 30+ years! Extremely well written!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Stellato

    A wonderful compilation of a dark time in history. The lives of these brave women is beyond description. I found that I could only read 2 to 3 chapters at a time because the stories were so powerful and emotionally disturbing. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to learn from history and pray that it never happens again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    I received this book from Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Just when you think all the stories have been told and the horror of Auschwitz can not be added to, a book comes along that resonates with fortitude and ingenuity, filled with stories of survival and yes, even hope. With photos and individual survivors accounts, this book will stay with me for a very long time. This is the story of the first official transport of Jewish women to Auschwitz. Told this would be I received this book from Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Just when you think all the stories have been told and the horror of Auschwitz can not be added to, a book comes along that resonates with fortitude and ingenuity, filled with stories of survival and yes, even hope. With photos and individual survivors accounts, this book will stay with me for a very long time. This is the story of the first official transport of Jewish women to Auschwitz. Told this would be a work opportunity, that they would return in a few months, these young girls and women would leave Slovenia hopeful and excited. Few returned. How can I say I enjoyed the book as I read from the comfort of my home, with warmth and a full belly. Not an easy read, but a necessary one. As the history books state, do not forget the past or be doomed to repeat it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Donna Huber

    This is a really interesting book. The writing is much more accessible than many other nonfiction works. In other words, it doesn't read like an academic text. Anyone who loves WWII fiction should read this. Read my full review at Girl Who Reads

  25. 5 out of 5

    Schmimmerock

    I told myself I would stop reading Holocaust literature for a while after finishing The Child of Auschwitz . I've been fighting a book slump by reading on familiar topics, reading books that I've always enjoyed reading. So, in my hopes to return to what I know in regards to reading, I've been diving into a lot of very easy, fluffy romance novels, and then again into a lot of very difficult, heavy Holocaust fiction and nonfiction. So it's been fun. I decided to read this anyway because even with I told myself I would stop reading Holocaust literature for a while after finishing The Child of Auschwitz . I've been fighting a book slump by reading on familiar topics, reading books that I've always enjoyed reading. So, in my hopes to return to what I know in regards to reading, I've been diving into a lot of very easy, fluffy romance novels, and then again into a lot of very difficult, heavy Holocaust fiction and nonfiction. So it's been fun. I decided to read this anyway because even with how much I've read and studied WWII and the Holocaust, the events leading up to and following, and everything in between, I knew of the 999 in name only. Nearly a thousand unmarried Jewish girls and women boarded a train departing Poprad in March of 1942, feeling spirited, no doubt, as they headed for what they believed to be a few months of work service. This was the first ever transport of Jews to Aushwitz. One thousand women were sold by their own government to Germany as slave labor. They would arrive in Aushwitz on March 26, and while at the time of their arrival it wasn't the Nazi center of mass extermination that it would grow to be by its end in 1945, the women of the first transport would be forced to build that camp. It was not the work they expected when they left the warmth and comforts of their homes, to say the least. Of the 999, only a handful would survive the three years at the camp. Dozens of books, articles, essays, and accounts, and this is the first thing I've read about the first transport, this first deportation. This is such a disservice to these women, to the small but mighty few survivors, to the legacy of the 999 Jewish women who went on that train, most of whom never made it back home. Macadam's book is excruciatingly detailed, thoroughly well-researched, and at its heart, a surprisingly hopeful story of survival. I think that might be why, in spite of the heartbreak they inspire, I keep coming back to Holocaust narratives. There is a thrum of hope in every single one, because while you cannot open one without encountering some of the worst humanity and history have to offer, the other side of it is that we get to hear about the survivors. In every tale of pain, suffering, and loss, there is the relentlessness of the human spirit, there is humanity's sheer will to survive and thrive, even in places created to strip people of their identities, of their humanity, and there is hope. It isn't an easy book to read, but then I don't think anyone considering reading this thinks they are signing up for a lighthearted read. Still, I feel a sense of obligation to these women to hear out their stories. The suffering they experienced is difficult to comprehend, but I feel we owe it to these women to read about them, to remember them as the bright young women they were, who had families and dreams and so much potential. To honor the memory of the 999, the first ones to go. Macadam does the very difficult subject matter justice. She isn't overly sentimental, doesn't embellish, and really it's an amazing feat that she has as much information to offer to us as she does given just how little is actually known of the first transport. As is the run with this sort of book, it was compelling and emotionally charged and a bit of work to finish. More importantly, it was absolutely meticulous in the research. I cannot emphasize enough how impressed I am with the obvious, exhaustive amount of effort that Macadam poured into these pages. If you only read one more book about the Holocaust, only have it in you for one more story about the horrors of Auschwitz, make it this one. Thank you so very muchly to NetGalley, Heather Dune Macadam, and Citadel Press for a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    999, The Extraordinary Young Women Of The First Official Jewish Transport To Auschwitz was the story of the women who unknowingly cemented their place in history by being the first victims to arrive in Auschwitz. Just from reading the introduction, I was already a fan of this work through the author’s emotional statements to the reader. The author was determined to tell a truthful story that would honor the women in the first transport to Auschwitz, and she more than succeeded. That 999, The Extraordinary Young Women Of The First Official Jewish Transport To Auschwitz was the story of the women who unknowingly cemented their place in history by being the first victims to arrive in Auschwitz. Just from reading the introduction, I was already a fan of this work through the author’s emotional statements to the reader. The author was determined to tell a truthful story that would honor the women in the first transport to Auschwitz, and she more than succeeded. That determination resonated throughout the book as she described the way the women responded to the horrific events that they were forced to endure. This novel was a beautiful ode to those brave women. This was a very comprehensive look at this death camp and the German laws and decisions behind it. This book was so well researched that at times I felt that the author was a little too intent on reciting the facts behind the events that the story stalled a little. For example, the book was a little slow to start. The author gave almost too much detail about the town the women lived where a town crier declared that young unmarried women were to report to the center in two weeks. At times, the information was so overwhelmingly negative and frankly, still so unimaginable, that it was hard to read. What this author did so well was to evoke the emotional journey that they girls felt through each stage of their life once they were taken away from their families. The interviews of the girls and their quotes helped to infuse their stories and personal journey into this very well researched work. There was no shortage of emotion here. The women’s fear and isolation came through in a way that evoked immediate sympathy for their horrific experience. I have read many books about the Holocaust and so I was surprised to learn so many new facts about Auschwitz, such as that Birkenau was as large as 391 football fields, that it was a 40 minute walk between the camps, and that the female prisoners of Auschwitz used their bare hands to demolish the polish homes that were confiscated to make room for the Birkenau camp. This was a very well researched work that told the women’s stories in a very detailed way.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Turkdal

    999 The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam is worth your time to read! The research that went into this book is phenomenal! Seldom is such a factual book so interesting to read. The detail puts the reader right next to the girls of this true tale. At first, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of information that was presented in the early chapters because I was trying to remember it all. As the action progressed, it was not 999 The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz by Heather Dune Macadam is worth your time to read! The research that went into this book is phenomenal! Seldom is such a factual book so interesting to read. The detail puts the reader right next to the girls of this true tale. At first, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of information that was presented in the early chapters because I was trying to remember it all. As the action progressed, it was not necessary to remember every detail as the author kept the characters in line for me. This book made me think very much about what these young sheltered, innocent girls, yes, girls experienced. Rude awakenings and no way home. Horrific conditions and treatment and no way out. Inhumane living arrangements and minimal sustenance. Just because of who they were born. How could others that breathe do this to humans? How could their hatred be so deep and unreasonable? This period of history has fascinated me and I have done much reading about this time. I was hesitant to read another book about the concentration camps because they honestly upset me too much. Mrs Macadam made this recounting very easy to read. Although the horrors were talked of, it was handled in a way that the reader (me) could ponder the subject and continue to the next chapter with ease. I am so glad the women who survive Auschwitz -Birkenau were willing to be forthright with their experiences while they still could. I sit here shaking my head. This is one book that tells the history and doesn't have a happy ending. 999 girls were taken away on that First Transport and only a handful came back. The First Transport was one of so many that took people, like you and I to their deaths, or worse. This book was sent to me as an advance copy, just happened to be of great interest to me personally. I was reading over the holidays chapter by chapter until school went back in and I cold immerse myself into the book. Yes, this is a fine book and should be read by all.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Title: 999 Author: Heather Dune Macadm Gener: Nonfiction ( WW 2 History) Pages : 417 Read as a NetGalley ARC Rating:4.5 On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young Title: 999 Author: Heather Dune Macadm Gener: Nonfiction ( WW 2 History) Pages : 417 Read as a NetGalley ARC Rating:4.5 On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Filled with a sense of adventure and national pride, they left their parents' homes wearing their best clothes and confidently waving good-bye. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months, they were eager to report for government service. Instead, the young women--many of them teenagers--were sent to Auschwitz. Their government paid 500 Reich Marks (about $200) apiece for the Nazis to take them as slave labor. Of those 999 innocent deportees, only a few would survive. The facts of the first official Jewish transport to Auschwitz are little known, yet profoundly relevant today. These were not resistance fighters or prisoners of war. There were no men among them. Sent to almost certain death, the young women were powerless and insignificant not only because they were Jewish--but also because they were female. Now acclaimed author Heather Dune Macadam reveals their poignant stories, drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, and consulting with historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees to create an important addition to Holocaust literature and women's history. My thoughts Would I recommend it ? Yes Will I read more by this author? Yes This is a most read book even though it's on a really tough topic to read about and will make you very emotional as well. Because up until I read 2 historical fiction books about this horrible place I had no idea it existed and what went on there, and while those historical fiction books did nothing to bring this place or the story of the people who was there alive ,this author did the complete opposite ,she really did her research and not only that but she brought to life the characters as well as the places she was talking about, she brought their fears and their struggles to life so much so that you could feel it. As well as the stories of the ones that didn't come back , in many ways she give them a voice to tell their story so they could be remembered. With that said I want to thank NetGalley for letting me read and review it .

  29. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    "'It is very important to take the kids back to camps with survivors to teach them the Holocaust is not a hoax. You should study and learn as much as you can. Carry on and be active in organizations. After I am gone, it's all going to be forgotten. Who will remember?' [Bertha] asks. You will, reader. You will." I'm almost rendered speechless as I reflect on what I've just finished reading. The horrors these women (and all who were at concentration camps) faced are abhorrent. People who knew I was "'It is very important to take the kids back to camps with survivors to teach them the Holocaust is not a hoax. You should study and learn as much as you can. Carry on and be active in organizations. After I am gone, it's all going to be forgotten. Who will remember?' [Bertha] asks. You will, reader. You will." I'm almost rendered speechless as I reflect on what I've just finished reading. The horrors these women (and all who were at concentration camps) faced are abhorrent. People who knew I was reading this book asked why I would want to read about such a depressing time in history. The reason is just what Bertha, one of the survivors featured in the book, stated above. It's important to remember. It's important to make sure this never happens again. I will remember, Bertha. Thank you, Heather Dune Macadam.

  30. 4 out of 5

    june3

    This is aN extraordinary book that reveals the stories of some remarkable women. First, just wanted to note here that Ms. Macadam (together with survivor Rena Kornreich Gelissen) authored what may be the most profoundly moving of all the holocaust memoirs, a small volume entitled "Rena's Promise." "999" builds on the stories recorded by Ms. Gelissen and her surviving contemporaries, all young women who found themselves on the earliest transports to Auschwitz. While many of these stories were This is aN extraordinary book that reveals the stories of some remarkable women. First, just wanted to note here that Ms. Macadam (together with survivor Rena Kornreich Gelissen) authored what may be the most profoundly moving of all the holocaust memoirs, a small volume entitled "Rena's Promise." "999" builds on the stories recorded by Ms. Gelissen and her surviving contemporaries, all young women who found themselves on the earliest transports to Auschwitz. While many of these stories were recorded by and are maintained in the records of the USC Shoah Foundation, Ms. Macadam brings them to life. I have little more to add to the strong, positive reviews that have preceded mine. Never Again. To Anyone. Or Anywhere.

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