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The Nazis Knew My Name

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'This thought-provoking book is a must-read for anyone interested in the Holocaust.' Ariana Neumann

The Nazis Knew My Name is one woman’s story about the bravery and kindness shown by her mother in the Holocaust concentration camps.

In the camps during the Second World War, prisoner Magda Hellinger Blau was selected by the SS as a Jewish prison leader and she eventually rises to the senior position of Lagerälteste (Camp Elder). Madga used her proximity to her fellow prisoners and the SS to engage in numerous acts of kindness, bravery and compassion to keep the prisoners alive in frightening and uncertain circumstances. Now, her daughter Maya Lee tells the definitive story of her mother, a woman who showed great bravery and compassion when stuck between worlds of authority and imprisonment.

Using her mother’s short memoir as a starting point, this book is Maya Lee’s deep-dive into her mother’s life and the power of kindness in the face of adversity, as she connects with fellow Auschwitz survivors and forms new friendships throughout her journey. The Nazis Knew My Name is a poignant and personal exploration of the prisoners in the Holocaust camps and the need to still tell these stories almost 70 years on.

Sophie Timothy

Maya Lee is the daughter of Magda Hellinger. She is an accomplished businesswoman and fundraiser with several nonprofit organizations. After coauthoring an autobiography of her Holocaust-survivor husband, she encouraged her mother to document her own story. Maya subsequently conducted wide-ranging research to fill out her mother’s story. The Nazis Knew My Name is the result.

Used with the permission of Maya Lee

Magda Hellinger was deported to Auschwitz on the second transport from Slovakia in March 1942, at the age of twenty-five. She was one of the very few to survive over three years in concentration camps. During her time in Auschwitz-Birkenau she held various prisoner functionary positions and had direct dealings with prominent SS personnel, using her unique position to save hundreds of lives.

  • Publisher: Gallery UK (September 9, 2021)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781398506282

'For too long, the stories of people like Magda, who were forced to make unthinkable choices, have remained untold. Unsentimental and filled with detail of her courageous dealings with notorious Nazis this is an important book that provides a rare insight into everyday life in the hellish structure of concentration camps. This thought-provoking book is a must-read for anyone interested in the Holocaust.'

– Ariana Neumann