Cilka's Journey

Cilka's Journey

by Heather Morris

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From the author of the multi-million copy bestseller The Tattooist of Auschwitz comes a new novel based on a riveting true story of love and resilience.

Her beauty saved her — and condemned her.

Cilka is just sixteen years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp in 1942, where the commandant immediately notices how beautiful she is. Forcibly separated from the other women prisoners, Cilka learns quickly that power, even unwillingly taken, equals survival.

When the war is over and the camp is liberated, freedom is not granted to Cilka: She is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp. But did she really have a choice? And where do the lines of morality lie for Cilka, who was send to Auschwitz when she was still a child?

In Siberia, Cilka faces challenges both new and horribly familiar, including the unwanted attention of the guards. But when she meets a kind female doctor, Cilka is taken under her wing and begins to tend to the ill in the camp, struggling to care for them under brutal conditions.

Confronting death and terror daily, Cilka discovers a strength she never knew she had. And when she begins to tentatively form bonds and relationships in this harsh, new reality, Cilka finds that despite everything that has happened to her, there is room in her heart for love.

From child to woman, from woman to healer, Cilka's journey illuminates the resilience of the human spirit—and the will we have to survive.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250265791
Publisher: St. Martin''s Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 439
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.
HEATHER MORRIS is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia. For several years, while working in a large public hospital in Melbourne, she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives. Their friendship grew and Lale embarked on a journey of self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

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Cilka's Journey 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 158 reviews.
Noorpreet 4 months ago
This book once again was incredibly amazing (as the title suggests) and heart-wrenching! I loved it so much! While reading this book I was feeling as if the incidents that Cilka went through should’ve happened to me instead because Cilka is just an amazing character and I felt incredibly sad for her. Right when I read the first page I felt so bad for Cilka because she never even thought that she would ever be free I’m her entire life. I am so lucky to not be living in a world like that, although we still have our own struggles and stories there are always people that are suffering and/or have suffered way more than you have or ever will. We should always consider other people as well instead of just being absorbed by our own problems. Anyways I incredibly loved this book! And I loved the cover a lot! Thank you so much for sending me this book!
cloggiedownunder 6 months ago
4.5★s “What you are doing, Cilka, is the only form of resistance you have – staying alive. You are the bravest person I have ever known, I hope you know that.” Cilka’s Journey is the second novel by Australian author, Heather Morris and is a sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz, featuring one of the secondary characters from that story, Cecelia Klein (Cilka). When Russian soldiers liberated Birkenau in January of 1945, Cilka hardly dared believe her ordeal was over. And it seemed that it wasn't. The Russian agency overseeing the camp quoted from a report on Cilka stating that she collaborated with the Nazis (a position of privilege in a concentration camp, double-edged sword that it is, is bound to engender resentment). For this, she was found to be an enemy of the Russian state and a spy, and was sentenced to fifteen years’ hard labour, to be served at Vorkuta Gulag in northern Siberia. Even though she had already experienced much of what the were being subjected to, it seemed, at first, that each new day brought some fresh hell. Wary of doing anything that might set her apart as in Birkenau, Cilka hesitated when a doctor at the short-staffed hospital, impressed by her languages and her speed of learning, encouraged her to train there as a nurse. When she reluctantly agreed, she made sure to share any advantage her position gave her with the women in her hut. While Morris never got to interview Cilka the way she did Lale for the Tattooist of Auschwitz, her research is clearly extensive, and she explains in her notes that the story is fiction built on the bones of fact. War, like any adversity, brings out the worst and the best in people. Thus we see that these women, as prisoners of war and as political prisoners, are subjected to deprivation, cruelty and abuse; we also see that some go out of their way to show kindness and care to others. Morris touches on the murky subject of collaborators (and the stigma attached thereto) if indeed the behaviour of a sixteen year old Jewish girl in a concentration camp, in fear of her life, who is put into an unsolicited position of authority and has to endure regular sexual assault by German officers, could be ever be deemed, as Cilka’s was by the Russians, as collaboration. Could any of us say how we might act, put in the same position? What is clear is that Cilka was resilient and very courageous. A moving and thought-provoking read. This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and St Martin’s Press and Echo Publishing
paigereadsthepage 6 months ago
Having survived being the enslaved mistress of a powerful Nazi leader at Auschwitz, the story begins with Cilka charged as a collaborator, loaded on a train with other women, and taken to the now-notorious Vorkuta Gulag in 1945. After arriving at the work camp, her and the other women in her “hut” battle for trust, hope, and forgiveness. She finds herself, yet again, in a position where survival trumps ethics. Cilka grasps for a greater purpose after leaving behind her dark past and quickly finds herself in a position to work within the confines of the Gulag hospital. She struggles to justify some of the hospital policies but also questions her own intentions. Having discerned hope as only a barren illusion, Cilka takes the reader on a haunting and remarkable journey. Cilka’s account specifically centers around the treatment of women in a Soviet Gulag. The brutality, rape, and undernourishment are intense but are an essential part of the gulag experience for the women who were imprisoned there. Vorkuta Gulag resonated in maltreatment and violence, and the details are richly accounted for in this novel. Although this is the second novel for The Tattooist of Auschwitz, it easily works as a standalone. The author provides the background about what happened to Cilka very early on. Throughout the novel, flashbacks spanning from 1939-1945 give additional information about Cilka that was not included in the first novel, and each flashback is beautifully coated in irony. The location and date are noted above the flashbacks and each flashback is indicated by a page break and written in italics. A must read because not enough is written about the Gulags! I could not put this one down. The notes from Heather Morris at the end are a must. But do not read them before because they contain spoilers. HIGHLY RECOMMEND to fans of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and historical fiction. This one is much darker than The Tattooist, but equally critical and a story that needs to be heard. Many thanks to St. Martin's Press, Heather Morris, and NetGalley for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
D_Maddox 2 days ago
This is a great book! This is a follow up to The Tattooist of Auschwitz which I have not yet read. However, it is not necessary to understand this book. Cilka is a very interesting, brave, and resilient character. The story was enhanced by knowing that there really was a Cilka and these things did happen in the German concentration camps and Soviet Gulags. I will definitely look for more works by Heather Morris.
judgie39 13 days ago
A must read!!! I cannot say enough good things about this book. It is phenomenal!!!! Upon hearing about it's release, I quickly reread "The Tattooist of Auschwitz", Heather Morris's first novel in which Cilka Klein is introduced. "Cilka's Journey" is the story of what happened to the real Cilka Klein after being liberated from the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp and then sent to a Siberian prison camp to serve 15 years of hard labor. At the end of the book, the author explains that the details of her time in the camp are not fully known. This story may have been similar to what her life was like, so this book is mainly a fictional story about a real person. This book is both heart-breaking and hopefully. It tells the tale of a strong survivor who went through years of horror doing what she had to to survive, but never losing her humanity and willingness to help others. Thank you Heather Morris for giving Cilka a voice and sharing her story with the world.
Carolefort 17 days ago
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris is a work of fiction based on the actual life of a woman who lived during and after the Holocaust. I hesitated to request this title due to its serious subject matter but I have not regretted a single word. Sixteen-year-old Cilka Klein and her family were transported in cattle cars to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps and she remained there for three years, fighting to stay alive by any means available. When the camps were liberated, Cilka, instead of leaving for her country, was sentenced to fifteen years in a Siberian gulag, charged with sleeping with the enemy. While there, Cilka was befriended by a doctor who helped her to become a nurse and, as the years passed, she helped many. The novel alternates between her time in the camps and her time in Siberia. This is a story of courage and perseverance under the worst of circumstances. Thank you to St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
readatnight00 24 days ago
When I saw this book, I knew I wanted to read it. The cover caught my attention and the summary, a historical fiction novel based on a true survivor of the Holocaust, won me The story revolves around Cilka Kein, a young Jewish girl who was taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp when she was sixteen. When the war ends, the Soviets save the prisoners, unless you were found guilty of helping the Nazis. Cilka was one of those condemned to fifteen years of labor at the gulag camps in Siberia for "working with the Nazis". Cilka's Journey revolves around her time at the Siberian camp, as she tries to cope with her losses and gains. Why does she continue to survive when so many have died? Does she deserve the little bits of happiness and opportunities she keeps receiving? I decided to rate this book a 5/5. I had read a holocaust book a few years ago by Ruta Sepetys that made me cry, however, it quickly left my mind as the writing was typical to the subject matter. I expected all the horrors I read in that book. Cilka's Journey is different and this made me uncomfortable. Cilka has spent years submitting to violence against her body and mind, is now tired and resigned to her fate. The story tells about the horrors women faced at concentration camps, but the emphasis is on the psychological trauma they developed. We see women with survivor's guilt, Stockholm syndrome, addiction, how they come to normalize and domesticize their situation (similarly to men who went to war), etc. At moments it feels less like I'm reading about prisoners at a camp, and more like the story of poor women in a foreign country, which is scary. I tell myself it wasn't so bad and then have to pause because this is the mentality these women had to force themselves into in order to survive. Cilka's Journey can be a hard book to get through unless you're really interested in the nonfiction background. Often it feels like the author could have added more details, especially so that we could better connect with Cilka, but I don't think her goal was to dramatize the events. It's a book with a heavily somber tone on every page
Debable 24 days ago
4.5 stars, rounded up. What happens when a young woman is imprisoned in a Soviet gulag for acts she did in saving her own life during WWII? …Wow. Morris illustrates this work of fiction based on the real Cilka Klein and extensive research with compassion and drama. Mostly set in an unforgiving, life threatening Soviet work camp in the aftermath of WWII, Cilka’s story is one of survival. But so much more than that, it is a story of friendship, resilience, love and resistance. Everything about this story is strong: the writing, the dialog, the characters. The grim settings could have brought me down, but the drama and care shown by Cilka and others provide hope in horrific times. The author’s notes, historical information and afterword about the Vorkuta gulag add important context to Cilka’s story. Don’t be afraid to read that part first. Highly recommended. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing an ARC of this inspiring book in exchange for an honest review.
KimJ228 27 days ago
WOW!!! There is no better word to describe this book. When The Tattooist of Auschwitz book ended I was left wondering what happened to Cilka, well wonder no more!!! This is an amazingly written book about all of Cilka's life. To grow up in the conditions that she did, to learn to become a woman while you are being exploited for your youth and beauty. I can't even imagine and was pulled in from the beginning just like with the first book. This book is a must read!!!
dSouthernGal 29 days ago
The author writes, “After the book “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” many asked the question, “What happened to Cilka?” So this is the story of Cilka, a fictional character (based on the life of an actual women) who survived three years in the Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp and then sentenced to fifteen years in a Siberian prison camp (by Russian liberators), for so called cooperating with the enemy. Cilka’s Journey takes us into the world of inhumane treatment, and loss of identity through rape, starvation, inadequate living provisions and hard labor in arctic temperature. During her time spent in the Siberian camp, she suffers much of the same abuse, as before, bringing back awful memories of the past, in which she tries very hard to stuff down and keep secret. And although, Cilka tries hard to keep to herself, she can not stand by while others suffer from injustice and pain. Her courage and strength keep her moving forward time and time again. I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.
sban 29 days ago
A beautiful 16 year old girl is sent to Auschwitz where the commandant turns her into a sex slave. When the prisoners are set free she is charged and found guilty of voluntary involvement with the enemy and sentenced to 15 years in Siberia where she continues to be starved and abused. She helps the other prisoners in her hut. She also works as an aide in the infirmary until she finally becomes friends with a young woman doctor who helps her get a better job in the hospital. Her jobs make it possible for her to sneak food into the hut at night to help her friends survive. This book uncovers so many of the ugly truths of life in the Concentration Camps and we learn what life is also like in the Siberian Gulags. It is amazing that anyone was able to survive. The subject of the book is hard to read but one that will inform you, sadden you and have you cheering for Cilka as her solid sense of survival pushes her through those hard years. In this day and time when many doubt that concentration camps even existed. This book gives you an inside view of what those that were able to survive had to endure. I highly recommend the book. Heather Morris is a brilliant writer and her research was really impresssive. I would like to read more of her books and will definitely recommend this one to other readers. Thank you Net Galley for allowing me to read and review this book. #Cilka’sJourney#NetGalley #Goodreads #BN
Anonymous 3 months ago
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Cilka Klein is only 16 years old when she is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp where she is forced to become a Nazi commandant's sex slave. Given priveledges that the other women in the camp lack, she uses her influence and extra food rations to help her friends to survive. But upon her release 2 years later, she is charged by the soviets for sleeping with the enemy and sentenced to 15 years hard labor in a Siberian prison camp. After a friend becomes injured, a doctor notices Cilka's skills with language and first aid and offers to train her as a nurse. I loved Cilka in the Tattooist of Auschwitz and I was so excited to review this book and learn more of her story. The things she witnessed and endured are just heartbreaking.
Emilio Alaniz 3 months ago
As a thank, you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an advanced readers copy I shall give an honest review of Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris. Cilka’s Journey takes place before and after events shared in “The Tattooist of Auschwitz”. Lale Sokolov introduced us to Cilka Klein describing her as the bravest person he had ever met. In this novel, we learn why. The novel follows Cilka as a young woman of sixteen when she was taken to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration camp in 1942. Once the war is over and its prisoners are liberated is Cilka’s freedom still held onto by her oppressors. Cilka is then sent to a prison camp for sleeping with the enemy. In doing so meant her survival. In this camp does she find roles that will assist her in surviving her circumstances. Eventually, it is her role as an assistant nurse does, she harnesses the resilience needed to move forward despite the brutal conditions of what she has endured. It was moving, heartfelt, and overall a joy to read. This novel is one that I would highly recommend to others and give it four out of five stars on good reads. #book #books #booklover #bibliophile #bookaddict #bookaholic #bilbliophile #bookaddict #bookworm #bookstagram #bookstagrammer #bookish #Reading #greatbooks #igbooks #bookstography #booknerd #instabook #ilovebooks #booknerd #bookphoto #bookdragon #bookstagram #books #bookstagram #bookstagram #bookstoread
Anonymous 3 months ago
Anonymous 3 months ago
Cilka's Journey by Heather Morris Cilka's Journey (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #2) by Heather Morris (Goodreads Author) Beth Olion's review Aug 30, 2019 · edit Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book before publication. I was excited to see a book about Cilka after ready The Tattooist of Auschwitz and Cilka’s Journey did not disappoint. By intermingling Cilka’s struggles in the Gulag with her memories of Auschwitz, Heather Morris weaves a fascinating tale of true survival. The author uses a nice mix of historical events with fiction. I especially liked the notes and additional information at the end of the book. I would definitely recommend this book. Thank you again NetGalley for the chance to read this early!
ErraticElle 3 months ago
4.5 stars. This is yet another emotional historical read from Heather Morris. It explores the world of the Gulag in post-WWII Russia, an area of history that I was highly unfamiliar with. Having read The Tattooist of Auschwitz prior to this one, I was familiar with Cilka as a person and a character and this was a very good follow up. It was not as involved as Lale's story, but Morris does admit that she had much less information to utilize on this novel and so a good portion of the story comes from the melding of the histories of multiple people or solely from her imagination. That didn't take away from the power of this narrative. The writing remains intriguing and the topic remains gut-wrenching. This wasn't as emotional a read for me as Tattooist, but this may have been due to a few possible things, including the fact I was already emotionally drained from reading The Tattooist of Auschwitz JUST prior to this one. Overall, I very much enjoyed the story and thought it was well done. The narrative is solid, the character development is well done, and the historical portrayal seems to be realistic and well-rounded. However, the ending just didn't feel complete to me. It felt like too quick of a wrap up and didn't give me any sense of closure or transition. That may just be my own personal experience, as I tend to be rather picky about my endings. Regardless, this is still a very good read and a solid follow up novel. * Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. *
booksta 3 months ago
Cilka’s journey is a beautifully written account of Cilka Klein’s story after her life at Auschwitz. I just can’t comprehend the horrific life she had to endure at the concentration camp and survive the inhumane treatment at the age of sixteen. My heart goes out to Cilka and all other similar regular folks who had to endure such terrible stuff. It definitely will make the readers cry their hearts out for the plight of Cilka. How Cilka handles the camp and still comes through stronger is truly admirable. But at the end, it shows there is light at the end of the tunnel. It is a tale of such hope which will inspire everyone to keep going irrespective of all the troubles in life. This was a quick, easy read; and I liked the fact the writing was perfectly simple. I highly recommend reading it. Thank you to @netgalley and @stmartinspress for the advanced copy!⁣
Laurice 3 months ago
This is an amazing story. It is filled with love and sacrifice as we are taken along one woman's journey after World War Two. I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Definitely should read it if you are a fan of the WWII era.
Anonymous 4 months ago
I loved the Tattooist of Auschwitz! I was so excited when I saw that we got to learn more about Cilka. While it had its very dark, depressing moments- you also see that good people will always exist. Cilka’s Journey is what happens AFTER Auschwitz. Cilka is sentenced to hard labor for simply doing what needed to be done to survive “the other place”. This is is her fight to survive. To grow. To help others. To remind us- Good will always win!
co_d_evans 4 months ago
"Such a small space of time has passed, but the words have been so large." Cilka's Journey is Heather Morris's follow up to her acclaimed Tattooist of Auschwitz and follows the story of Cilka Klein. Cilka is a Jew that is first imprisoned in Auschwitz-Birkenau and forced to endure and witness true horror. Her experiences there, unfortunately, sentence her to 15 years of hard labor in a Soviet Gulag. This, however, is not a story of injustice and suffering, though clearly that does occur. It is instead the story of healing, finding love in unlikely places and an unbeatable fortitude in the face of adversity. Cilka's Journey captivated me from the opening chapter. It is masterfully written and full of turns that keep you reading hours after you've decided to go to bed. It is not a pleasant read, as no book about Camps and Gulags can be, but the book will certainly leave you changed.
KLS2017 4 months ago
** spoiler alert ** After surviving three years at Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Cilka was arrested for "helping" the Nazis and was sentenced to 15 years in a Siberian prison camp well above the Arctic circle. At the prison camp she was given another number and wondered, powerfully, how many times a person can disappear and still keep living. Faced (once again) with suffering and pain, humiliation and abuse, Cilka keeps surviving. The book takes us through her time at the prison camp and is at times infuriating and at other times heartwarming. As a reader, you fluctuate from outrage and fear for Cilka to smiling and cheering for her victories, both small and large. This is both a historical piece that details some of the absolute worst of humanity as well as a character study on a person who not only survived two of the worst places on earth, but made others' lives better while she was there, whenever she could. She showed more bravery and integrity and humanity and compassion than most people ever would, even under ideal circumstances. The only thing that kind of left me wondering was what happened to Josie. Did Cilka ever look for her? Otherwise, I loved everything about this story. I couldn't wait to read it. Every time I had to put it down, I was planning when I'd be able to pick it up again!
Anonymous 4 months ago
A good book about a courageous woman.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Heart Puller I read The Tattooist of Auschwitz over the summer. Afterwards I heard Cilka was getting a follow up story to share her journey. I absolutely adored this book. I am a huge fan of WWII era books. I love historical fiction and it was nice how this fit in so well with events that were going on during post WWII. There is plenty of movement of characters, chances to fall in love with the characters. Cilka and her journey really makes your heart break thinking about how she was freed from captivity only to be charged with aiding the Germans as she had been forced to satisfy a camp director. She did it out of survival and was still punished. The writing is not very deep, but the emotional pull is there and it’s crazy how these were things that people actually went through.
mississippimomreads 4 months ago
Cilka's Journey is based on Cilka who was first introduced to us in The Tattooist of Auschwitz. This novel tells the story of Cilka who is charged as a collaborator for sleeping with the enemy and sent to a Siberian prison camp! Her hardships and tragedies she endured are incredulous, but an important part of history for us to learn. I am glad I got to know more about Cilka. This novel is based on numerous stories similar to Cilka's Journey. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I did not connect with the characters as much as I did in The Tattoist of Auschwitz but I am glad I read this follow up novel and appreciate the author's research and retelling.
ColoradoGirl71 4 months ago
4.5 heart-wrenching stars This one is a companion to “The Tattooist of Auschwitz” but can definitely be read as a stand-alone. My interpretation is that this is historical fiction, based on the lives of real people. In this tale, we have Cilka, who knew Lale and Gita from the first book, they were all prisoners at Auschwitz. Because of her beauty, Cilka has been chosen to be the “mistress” of two German leaders at the camp. She is faced with rape from these leaders almost every night. She also oversees the prisoners in a block that are condemned to die the next day. All this starting when she was a 16-year-old. Faced with surviving or dying like the other women, she does what it takes to make it through the war. Imagine the horror of the camp being liberated after the war and Cilka is not freed. Instead she is charged with collaborating with the enemy and sent to a Russian gulag in Siberia. The rest of the book chronicles the horrible conditions she faces at the gulag. I had to read this one in small chunks because it was depressing and heart-wrenching. This is not a romanticized tale of concentration camps or Russian prisons. There are some interesting stories as Cilka ends up working at the hospital and gets some training as a nurse. She has amazing resiliency and I’m amazed at all she survives. This one finally concludes with some happiness for Cilka. I recommend reading this one at the right time as I found it depressing and horribly realistic.