The Red Ribbon

Lucy Adling­ton

  • Review
By – August 7, 2018

Fash­ion his­to­ri­an Adling­ton has fic­tion­al­ized a lit­tle-known aspect of Holo­caust his­to­ry: the exis­tence of a sewing stu­dio at Auschwitz where twen­ty-three pris­on­ers worked.

Four­teen-year-old Ella has been in Birch­wood — a fic­tion­al con­cen­tra­tion camp based on Auschwitz-Birke­nau — for three weeks when she applies for a job at the camp’s Upper Tai­lor­ing Stu­dio. She quick­ly demon­strates her exem­plary skills, win­ning an impromp­tu com­pe­ti­tion to sew a dress for one of the guards. Sewing becomes Ella’s way to sur­vive. When she forms an attach­ment to fel­low stu­dio work­er Rose, they cre­ate an unbreak­able bond. This rela­tion­ship forms much of the narrative’s strength.

While back­mat­ter about the his­tor­i­cal facts that inspired the book would have been help­ful, the sto­ry is fascinating.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 12 and up.

Bar­bara Kras­ner is the author of many books across gen­res, includ­ing fic­tion, poet­ry, cre­ative non­fic­tion, and chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture. Her recent titles include 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939, Civil­ian Casu­al­ties in War and Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosen­berg’s Life in Poems. Her book Goldie Takes a Stand! Gol­da Meir’s First Cru­sade was a recip­i­ent of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Hon­or Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies from Gratz Col­lege, teach­es in the Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies pro­gram at the Col­lege of New Jer­sey, and serves as direc­tor of the Mer­cer Coun­ty Holo­caust, Geno­cide, and Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter. She also holds an MFA in writ­ing for chil­dren and young adults from the Ver­mont Col­lege of Fine Arts.

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