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I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree: A Memoir of a Schindler's List Survivor Hardcover – June 1, 2005

4.6 out of 5 stars 78 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–In a clear, objective narrative, Hillman (called by her German name, Hannelore, in the book) describes her life from April 1942, as a student at a private school in Berlin, until the German surrender in April 1945 that freed her from a detention camp. After her father's death, she left school and was deported with her mother and brothers to Poland. During her three years of captivity she was moved to several labor and concentration camps. Her inclusion on Oskar Schindler's list led, finally, to her deportation to the Brünnlitz camp in Czechoslovakia, where Jewish prisoners were treated humanely. At the fourth detention camp–Budzyn–Hannelore met the man who would become her husband. Her growing love and concern for him; her strong instinct for survival; and her endurance in the face of deprivation, inhumane conditions, and near-starvation provide considerable inspiration. Several photos of family members are included, along with a map that clearly indicates the locations of the camps in which Hannelore was held prisoner. While strong language, descriptions of brutality, a rape scene, and sexual innuendos suggest an audience of mature teens, this readable account of loss and survival during Hitler's Holocaust belongs in most collections.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 8-11. There are many YA Holocaust memoirs, but few of them deal with a teenager's survival in the concentration camps. That makes Hillman's affecting account particulalry noteworthy. In 1942 Berlin, Hannelore, 16, bravely volunteers to be deported with her mother and two younger brothers to Poland. Of course, they are soon separated, and during the next three years Hannelore is moved through eight concentration camps. In clipped, first-person narrative, she remembers the worst: crammed cattle cars; backbreaking work from stone quarries to salt mines; beatings; hunger; her own rape; the smell of children's bodies in the crematoria. She tells it as she endured it, quietly relaying the facts without sensationalism or sentimentality. She remembers making friends, one of whom is beaten to death because of a relationship with a German soldier. Hannelore herself falls in love with a young prisoner, Dick. At the end of the book is a photo of the lovers reunited and married; no one else in the family photos survived. The author never fully explains how she and Dick get onto Schindler's list, which saves them from Auschwitz (an explanatory note about the list would have been helpful), but the arbitrariness of the list was as true to the Holocaust survival experience as the loss. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689869800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689869808
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #471,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Laura Hillman's memoir of a Schindler's list survivor takes the form of a first-person account and tells of one Hannalore, who receives notice her family is being deported to a concentration camp, and who leaves safety to join them so they can be together. When Hannalore meets and falls in love with Polish POW Dick Hillman, they look to Oskar Schindler to survive: an effort which may well prove impossible. Specifically written for young readers, I Will Plant You A Lilac Tree is a gripping first-person account of one woman's struggle to survive Nazi concentration camps.
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Format: Hardcover
One day I had nothing to read and I decided to get this book because I heard was great. It kept me on the edge of my seat through the whole book! I finished in less than two days and have read it five more times since.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was one of those books I never wanted it to end. I was devastated . Even though it was fiction, I know I learned a whole lot about France in World War 2. The author was able to get me fully connected to every character even with the 75 year gap. I fully recommend this book to anyone. You will be part of their family, you will be brave, in love,in hate, and under the rein of Hitler and his army.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this book listed in my library's database under Holocaust. The librarian told me that it was in the 'teen' section and I wasn't going to read it because it was a rather short book and I thought it would be for kids. However, I'm glad I did check it out because it's one of the most moving autobiographical accounts of the Holocaust to date and I've read quite a few. How she made it through is a testament to the human will to survive. We are so lucky to have these firsthand accounts of what people actually went through. I can't say enough about this book! Don't make the mistake and pass it up because this book is for ALL age groups. Also you might want to check out "I Was a Doctor in Auschwitz" by Gisella Perl and "Tomorrow Will Be Better" by Zdena Kapral. Two very good books about the Holocaust.
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By JK in SC on February 16, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author captures the many difficulties Jews and others experienced at the hands of Germans under the influence of evil Hitler. She was so courageous. I'd like my 17 year old granddaughter to read it, so she can learn what bad people are capable of doing.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book, just as many others I have read on the subject of Holocaust. Very touching and painful yet true and eye-opening. Recommend for any serious reader who wants to be enlightened about the suffering of Jewish people during WWII.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a fascinating book to me. It took me quite a while to read it, but it was well worth it. Out of all the books pertaining to the Holocaust that I've read this one seemed to have the most feeling. Sadness and pain just permeated it through and through. A very good read, well worth buying.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I am very interested in the holocaust. I enjoy the true stories more than anything, and this one was another good one. Very easy to read and another amazing story of the strong people who survived that horrible event.
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