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4.8 out of 5 stars
Two Rings: A Story of Love and War
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2012
This extraordinary memoir, rich with the imagery of a young adolescent girl thrust into the horrors of the Holocaust, is a tribute to love, endurance, and the human spirit. Millie Werber's frank and often shocking story of the horrors of her 5+ years of hell are captured masterfully by Eve Keller's lyrical prose that somehow manages to ring true to an Eastern European sheltered teen-age girl's voice reflecting on that which she experienced 65 years ago. Millie is philosophical in her observations regarding the utter senselessness of hate, violence, and the inexplicable twists and turns in which some lived and far too many died. A must-read that is certain to become a classic.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2012
I've never before written a review but this book was so evocative, thoughtful, powerful, and beautifully written that I must. My words won't do it justice but I want to share that I was humbled as a reader to be allowed into the private world of such experience. Ms. Werber shares perspective into injustice and inhumanity that is beyond explanation or understanding. Ms Keller beautifully captures her voice and story. I was moved and touched and inspired to be a better version of myself.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2012
As a Jew in 1941 Poland, Millie made the difficult choice to survive by working in an armaments factory near the Radom Ghetto. Despite the horrendous circumstances and physically demanding labor, Millie managed to meet and fall in love with a Henreich, a Jewish policeman. Shortly after they were married he was betrayed and led out of the factory. Millie never saw him again. Left with a single photograph and their wedding rings, Millie survives a hellish time in Auschwitz and a second factory before she was liberated. Not only a story of love and family, this is also a story of hidden strength and a young girl coming-of-age. I thought the story was heart-breakingly beautiful. It is a monument to love and what one can endure. Overall, I highly recommend this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2012
This heartfelt story takes you on the personal journey of a young and innocent Jewish girl, Millie Werber, as she steps from childhood to adult overnight in the midst and turmoil of World War II. Author Eve Keller gives readers a first hand perspective of what it was like to be a Jew under the German regime. From 12 hour days of factory work to Auschwitz, Millie shares with readers her own horrors of watching her friends and families torn apart, starved, beaten, and even murdered.

Even in all of the darkness the world shed upon Millie, she was able to find love, survive, and share her story with the world.

I highly recommend this book. This would be a profound historical asset alongside Anne Frank World War II history during Secondary schooling. You, the reader, will find a special place in your heart for Millie and the others as I know I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2012
Although the context of this book is the Shoah, this book is not principally about the horrors we are so familiar with. It is about one woman, Millie Werber, and the man she loved for a brief moment in the midst of the most well-known plague of savagery. First love in the darkest of all possible circumstances.

The telling of Millie's story is masterful. Professor Keller steers clear of a simple recounting of names, dates, places, faces, but instead gives the reader a highly personal narrative. The daily, even hourly, brushes with death are balanced with the happy vision of Millie's future. Out of the empty space of her years in concentration camps, springs an abundant life. Most significantly, abundance erupts sporadically EVEN IN THE MIDST of the absolute zero.

I suggest you try to read just a few sections at a time, as the intensity is sometimes overwhelming -- but I suspect you won't be able to.

Heart-stopping.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2012
I want to thank Millie Werber for telling her incredible story in this book. What a history she has! She leads us through her experiences in WWII with such detail. As she stops and questions what has happened to her, I too had to stop and think about her experiences. I am in awe of Millie. What strength she had, having to endure so much. The things she saw and experienced are unimaginable.
I found this book on the 'new arrivals' shelf of our local library here in northern California. I am so glad I saw it. This story will stay with me for a very long time. One thing Millie's story teaches all of us is that we have nothing to complain about in life. Thank you Millie for your book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 21, 2013
I have read scores of books and memoirs about the Holocaust...and Two Rings was poignant and bittersweet. It is about the author's experiences with two husbands, one for a few weeks and one for a lifetime. I am amazed that the rings survived and the picture, too--tucked inside her aunt's shoe during their time at Auschwitz.

When it comes to the Holocaust, each story is as compelling as if you read about it for the first time. This story was especially well told by Eve Keller who weaves Millie's story between the past, present and the war and post war years. The first husband, when she was a scared teenager, gave her the small hope to live, while the second marriage, to a kind, stable, non judgmental man, gave her a happy life. The fact that the rings survived, and the one photograph, is, when one considers the circumstances, amazing. Millie's story does not have her choose between the two men in her life: it honors the role that both men had. There were some searing recollections in the book: Millie's hiding underneath the floorboards while she is hunted by a Jewish (!) policeman and the rats are crawling all over her. Later, there is the terrible march to the railhead to Auschwitz, her "survival" there, and her post war journeys with Jack, her husband (including a hair-raising hike across the Italian Alps!).

I enjoyed the book so much I read it twice, and gained further appreciation for Mimi and Feyer, her aunt and uncle, who lost both their children when they were murdered by Nazis. Feyer told Millie to "work is to live"--and Feyer's advice saved her life again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 26, 2013
Two Rings: A Story of Love and war is a vivid and haunting memoir of love and survival during the Holocaust. The story follows that of Millie Werber, as she starts off in a small ghetto before being ushered to work in a factory. It is there where she meets her first love, Heniek. Unfortunately, it is also there where her love is taken away, ripped apart as Jews are forced into concentration camps. Mrs. Werber tells the tale of how she time and again eluded death when it seemed to be lurking behind every corner during her imprisonment at Auschwitz. This story is truly one that I could not put down, and almost couldn't believe.

Being a history buff, I was eager to read a tale from the Holocaust where love, through all other things, is the main theme of the memoir. The author tells her story with such startling detail that I often found myself holding my breath for her, worrying that somehow (despite the book being written these decades later) she would not make it out alive. My heart wrenched as hers did and quite simply, I could not put this book down.

This book deserves a place among memoirs such as Night, and should be read by anyone who believes in love or survival. Thank you, First Reads, for allowing me the honor of reading Millie's story. I received this book through Goodreads First Reads.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2012
I just finished the Two Rings today on Holocaust Remembrance Day. I found it very moving, saddening and inspirational. I believe this book to be an important part of the collected memory of what people suffered during those terrible days. Growing up in Brooklyn I met many Holocaust survivors. All had tragic stories to tell. Many were reluctant to tell them. It is important that all those stories to be told, so that what happened to the survivors and their loved ones will never be forgotten. I am grateful to Millie Werber for sharing her story.
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on June 21, 2012
When reviewing Holocaust memoirs, I automatically tend to rate them highly for a number of reasons. For one, I admire the amount of courage it takes for a victim to come forward with the truth, often after decades of painful silence, and secondly, for the valuable primary source material these stories provide. And although the reader understands from the outset that the protagonists of these memoirs will survive the Holocaust, I always find them difficult to put down, possibly because most of the more recent titles I've read - including this one -- feature an innocent young girl coming face-to-face with evil they weren't equipped to process, even decades later. Also, this type of reading takes Hitler's racial policies out of the calm, blurry, dry realm of statistics and history books and brings them into horrifyingly sharp focus. And finally, many of these memoirs - this one included -- feature selfless, courageous people who rescued these ill-prepared young girls at key points in their experiences and the tales of courageous, quick-thinking people always make for compelling reading.

Aside from the appealing love story that gives this memoir its title, what sets apart the story of Millie Werber -- a Jewish teen forced into the Radom ghetto, then a munitions factory, and finally Auschwitz -- is the incongruously poetic beauty of the writing, very similar to that found within the pages of "I Have Lived a Thousand Years." While attempting to take notes for this review, I found myself instead copying down reams of quotes, one more stunning than the next. For instance, Werber recalls the forced march from Radom to Auschwitz in this way:

"One loses a sense of time when all the world contracts into the single project of taking yet another step, step after step, for kilometers on end. And the heat all around, the heat burning down from the heavens and rising up in waves from under the road. All the world transformed into an oven, a terrific furnace, and all of us enveloped in it, burning it its belly, with no one to offer us relief."

The way in which her first impressions of Auschwitz are described is particularly insightful. She admits that while the images of Auschwitz are now easily recognizable, that "everyone knows now about the nightmare of Auschwitz," for her and her fellow sufferers it was horrifyingly new:

". . all of us had been through much. But until now, we had lived in a world that we recognized - a frightening world, a cruel world, to be sure, but it was a world we could understand, too. The reality of Auschwitz was unrecognizable. These affronts stunned us, tore us brutally from anything we were able to decipher for ourselves, and dropped us into the panicked insanity of this horrible, horrifying place."

I'm not sure how much of the writing's beauty can be credited to the book's co-author, Eve Keller, but reading Two Rings is a powerful, immediate, and extremely insightful way of observing Hitler's Final Solution through the eyes of one of his intended victims.

This review first appeared at CurledUpWithAGoodBook.com.
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