Rose Under Fire, by Elizabeth Wein, is the second story about a fictional female air transport pilot during World War II. Rose Justice is a strong willed and strong bodied young woman with a clear sense of justice. Her views are challenged and irrevocably changed when she falls into the hands of Germans and ends up spending several months in Ravensbrück.
The author takes a small slice of what happened to the more than 150,000 female concentration camp prisoners, and tells the story through the eyes of Rose and her friends Róz’a and Irina. Róz’a and Irina are two of many “Rabbits” in the camp, so named because they endured experimental procedures. Though Rose Justice remains physically free of some of the horrors placed upon Róz’a and her friends, she does not survive unscathed.
This book deals with a horrific topic and brings it to a personal level, riveting the reader with its intensity. Yet at the same time, it remains sensitive to the memories of those who actually lived through these atrocities.
At the end of the book, the author lists the many references she used to get the history of Ravensbrück correct, and she also provides a link to a teacher’s guide about Ravensbrück, suitable for 5th through 12th grade studies of women in the Holocaust. This guide is graciously available free from Kennesaw State University.
In the book, Rose’s friends shout “TELL THE WORLD!” Now Elizabeth Wein honors that wish in her moving tribute.
I received an ARC of Rose Under Fire from Disney-Hyperion through NetGalley.com.