One of our recommended books for 2019 is 999 by Heather Dune Macadam

999

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


From Heather Dune Macadam, the untold story of the 999 young, unmarried Jewish women who were tricked on March 25, 1942 into boarding the train that became the first official transport to Auschwitz. Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees, 999 is an important addition to Holocaust literature and women’s history.

On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. Believing they were going to work in a factory for a few months,

more …

From Heather Dune Macadam, the untold story of the 999 young, unmarried Jewish women who were tricked on March 25, 1942 into boarding the train that became the first official transport to Auschwitz. Timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and drawing on extensive interviews with survivors, historians, witnesses, and relatives of those first deportees, 999 is an important addition to Holocaust literature and women’s history.

On March 25, 1942, nearly a thousand young, unmarried Jewish women boarded a train in Poprad, Slovakia. 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.

less …
  • Citadel Press
  • Hardcover
  • December 2019
  • 400 Pages
  • 9780806539362

Buy the Book

$28.00

indies Bookstore indies Bookstore

About Heather Dune Macadam

Heather Dune Macadam is the author of 999: The Extraordinary Young Women of the First Official Jewish Transport to Auschwitz and Rena’s Promise: A Story of Sisters in Auschwitz. A board member of the Cities of Peace: Auschwitz and the director and president of the Rena’s Promise Foundation, her work in the battle against Holocaust denial have been recognized by Yad Vashem in the UK and Israel, the USC Shoah Foundation, the National Museum of Jewish History in Bratislava, Slovakia, and the Panstowe Museum of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland.

She divides her time between New York and Herefordshire, England, and can be found online at HeatherDune.com and at 999themovie.com.

Discussion Questions

1. How does the author’s research bring the reader into the immediacy of the looming horrors of The Holocaust?  How does the author paint a picture not just of being a Jew during the War, but of being a woman?

2. Macadam, along with several families, retraced the girls’ journey to Auschwitz and then on to Birkenau. How did that experience inform her descriptions of their passage?  How did she use that first-hand information to make it more immediate for you?

3. In reading about the Nazis’ government-mandated separations, deportations, and resettlements of Jewish people, how did you feel reading the book about these separations?  What did you think about when people had their belongings taken away, then their children?

4. Much of the book’s tragedy comes from the deep loss of their tight-knit community – the collective loss of their loved ones and neighbors, how and why they are targeted by the law, how they are lied to, the coded messages their daughters send to them.  How do these horrors make you think about your own life?

5. 999 reviews how the government justified its actions, how the press disseminated falsehoods about the Jews resettlements with fake pictures, misleading headlines, and manipulative articles.  How does this make you think about “fake news”?

6. One of the ways the sisters survive is by securing “decent work,” not manual labor, that would protect them from potential accidental and mortal hazards, and improve their physical conditions, but it could not save those you loved. How does this revise your view of the work, of the power you have over your own life?

7. 999 describes how the strong survive and the weak are exterminated. Today the weak are tended to in order to grow strong again.  What kinds of emotions do you feel upon reading of this reversal of humanity – dread, pity, horror, shock, disbelief?

8. The book highlights the entwined lives of two sisters and their friend. Which one of the three women’s stories did you find most compelling, and why?