Franci's War
The engrossing memoir of a spirited and glamorous young fashion designer who survived World War ll, with an afterword by her daughter, Helen Epstein.In the summer of 1942, twenty-two year-old Franci Rabinek--designated a Jew by the Nazi racial laws--arrived at Terezin, a concentration camp and ghetto forty miles north of her home in Prague. It would be the beginning of her three-year journey from Terezin to the Czech family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau, to the slave labor camps in Hamburg, and Bergen Belsen. After liberation by the British in April 1945, she finally returned to Prague.Franci was known in her group as the Prague dress designer who lied to Dr. Mengele at an Auschwitz selection, saying she was an electrician, an occupation that both endangered and saved her life. In this memoir, she offers her intense, candid, and sometimes funny account of those dark years, with the women prisoners in her tight-knit circle of friends.Franci's War is the powerful testimony of one incredibly strong young woman who endured the horrors of the Holocaust and survived.

Franci's War Details

TitleFranci's War
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 17th, 2020
PublisherPenguin Books
ISBN-139780143135579
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Religion, Judaism

Franci's War Review

  • Karren Sandercock
    January 1, 1970
    Franci's War is a story about a young woman caught up in the horror of WW II, her family was once wealthy, owned their own fashion house, they lived and worked in Prague. After the Nazi's arrive, things slowly started to change, the family had to give away or sell what they could and made to move.In 1942, Franci arrived alone at Terezin concentration camp, nothing could have prepared her for the horror, terror and the awful living conditions she endured at the camp. She carried the mark of being Franci's War is a story about a young woman caught up in the horror of WW II, her family was once wealthy, owned their own fashion house, they lived and worked in Prague. After the Nazi's arrive, things slowly started to change, the family had to give away or sell what they could and made to move.In 1942, Franci arrived alone at Terezin concentration camp, nothing could have prepared her for the horror, terror and the awful living conditions she endured at the camp. She carried the mark of being Jewish for the rest of her life, she had her identification number tattooed on her arm and it was roughly engraved into her skin.She survived three years of terrible living conditions, starvation and suffering. The first camp she stays at was Terezin, then she's was sent to Auschwitz, then Hamburg, and the last camp is Bergen Belsen. In 1945, the British finally liberated the camp, Franci eventually returned to Prague and nothing was the same. The family business is gone, their lavish apartment, her parents and her husband have all died.Franci’s War is a powerful story about how one brave young woman, endured three years living in four concentration camps and somehow she manged to survive.I enjoyed Franci's War and I gave it three stars. I shared my review on Goodreads, Edelweiss, Kobo, Twitter and my blog. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    Francis War is the memoir of Franci Rabinek a non-practising Czech Jew and the horrors that she experiences in WW2. Franci, came from a quite well-off family that owned their own Fashion house.This story shows the story shows Francis journey from Prague, to the horrors of the concentration camps to the Liberation and to her then making a life for herself in America after the war. The sheer determination of her survival. This is a straightforward tale of an account of what happened. Thank you Franci’s War is the memoir of Franci Rabinek a non-practising Czech Jew and the horrors that she experiences in WW2. Franci, came from a quite well-off family that owned their own Fashion house.This story shows the story shows Franci’s journey from Prague, to the horrors of the concentration camps to the Liberation and to her then making a life for herself in America after the war. The sheer determination of her survival. This is a straightforward tale of an account of what happened. Thank you NetGalley and Penguin Micheal Joseph for a copy of this book. I have read several books of this nature but never a memoir. To be honest I found this book quite hard to get into. There was no personalization. It was just hard cold facts. The copy had so many typos in it, but l learned later that this was deliberate as it was written this way originally. I understood that but for me I could not engage in this book properly because of this. 3 stars from me.
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  • Bex
    January 1, 1970
    There are many memoirs surrounding the events of WWII, but I'm not sure there are many which tackle it the way Franci's War does. It remains to be a memoir, but the approach is quite different, with a sudden change in narrative style around 30% of the way through. I haven't really considered before how the undeniably out-of-body experience a concentration camp evokes could be represented in literature, other than a standard approach; Franci's War perfectly captures that experience, demonstrating There are many memoirs surrounding the events of WWII, but I'm not sure there are many which tackle it the way Franci's War does. It remains to be a memoir, but the approach is quite different, with a sudden change in narrative style around 30% of the way through. I haven't really considered before how the undeniably out-of-body experience a concentration camp evokes could be represented in literature, other than a standard approach; Franci's War perfectly captures that experience, demonstrating the slip in persona remarkably well.As with many stories of this nature, the novel takes us through the life of a prisoner. Franci Rabinek is a non-practising Czechoslovakian Jew who finds herself throughout the early part of her life travelling between concentration camps, tenuously maintaining any friendship she can to keep grounded. This is also a complete journey, including pictures of Franci and some closure about her life after her time in the concentration camps. I struggled with the narrative voice sometimes as Franci's story unravels. Rather than feeling an emotional connection to Franci, I felt as though I was presented with a series of facts or fleeting events, leaving me quite detached from Franci herself; unfortunately it also makes the novel feel more like a descriptive list in parts which doesn't at all do Franci justice. Naturally the gravity and magnitude of the environment remains to be hard-hitting, but I feel a memoir should feel more personal in terms of understanding the personality of those affected and I can't say that I finished this book feeling like I really knew Franci. Nevertheless, if I could every personal account of this tragic time I would. God knows it's the least we can do. ARC provided from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Katrina
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book through Goodreads giveaways.A very interesting memoir from a group that does not have a lot of personal stories from, Czech Jews who were not practicing. The one thing about this book that bugged me was there was no explanation of why the author switched from using I statements to using her number given to her in Auschwitz. Was that her decision or her daughter (who edited the manuscript). That would have been nice to have an explanation for that.
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  • rina dunn
    January 1, 1970
    Franci's War is the memoir of Franci Rabinek a non practicing Czech Jew who grew up in a family quite well off, with her family owning a fashion house in Prague.Franci's journey tells of how her and her family were caught in the middle of World war ll and ultimately as Jews were separated and incarcerated in several Concentration camps including Terezin and Auschwitz. Some of the most reknown concentration camps for their cruelty and abuse, To ultimately the British releasing her for her to Franci's War is the memoir of Franci Rabinek a non practicing Czech Jew who grew up in a family quite well off, with her family owning a fashion house in Prague.Franci's journey tells of how her and her family were caught in the middle of World war ll and ultimately as Jews were separated and incarcerated in several Concentration camps including Terezin and Auschwitz. Some of the most reknown concentration camps for their cruelty and abuse, To ultimately the British releasing her for her to return to Prague and realise nothing will ever be the same.I feel like I learnt a lot reading this memoir. I found the fact that Franci classed herself as agnostic and not a practicing Jew but yet was still classed and treated as such by the nazis astonishing.This book really is fascinating, the level of detail and the intricacies in not just Franci's journey but those of the other prisoners is mind blowing.Theres no denying Franci's strength and resilience is remarkable. The only thing I found with this book is that for me the personalization wasn't really there. I wanted to know more about how Franci felt but this was a more factual account and I felt like in places it came across as cold hard facts rather than how this affected her.I definitely would recommend this book though, I'm completely in awe of Franci and I feel super grateful that I had the opportunity to read her story.
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  • David M
    January 1, 1970
    This review is a little biased, since I'm her son. Did not read this until 30 years after her death. Most of the accounts were told to me at least once during my childhood by her; there were some accounts that were new to me. Was not aware that she wrote so well in English as Czech was her native tongue. As people have already commented, these first hand accounts offer a young woman's experience during WWII, whereas most holocaust accounts have been from a male point of view. It can also bring This review is a little biased, since I'm her son. Did not read this until 30 years after her death. Most of the accounts were told to me at least once during my childhood by her; there were some accounts that were new to me. Was not aware that she wrote so well in English as Czech was her native tongue. As people have already commented, these first hand accounts offer a young woman's experience during WWII, whereas most holocaust accounts have been from a male point of view. It can also bring perspective to the current health problems we are experiencing.PS - thank you Penguin Random House books for taking a chance now where other publishers in the past did not.
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  • Betty Hutchinson
    January 1, 1970
    Franci's War is a story of a Holocaust survivor and the struggles one woman and her family suffered through during WWII. This is a story of a woman with immense strength, poise, and determination. This book follows Franci on her journey from her home in the Czechoslovakian home to the Auschwitz concentration camps through to her liberation and back to Prague where she started the journey. The book is heart wrenching and powerful as it takes you along such an emotional journey. A must read for Franci's War is a story of a Holocaust survivor and the struggles one woman and her family suffered through during WWII. This is a story of a woman with immense strength, poise, and determination. This book follows Franci on her journey from her home in the Czechoslovakian home to the Auschwitz concentration camps through to her liberation and back to Prague where she started the journey. The book is heart wrenching and powerful as it takes you along such an emotional journey. A must read for those interested in stories of WWII, the Holocaust, and the liberation of the Jews that did manage to survive such a horrific time. Five stars is the highest rating allowed or I would give more. I could not put this book down.
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  • Rosemary
    January 1, 1970
    A must read for understanding the terrors of the Holocaust from a woman's perspective.
  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed this book! The beginning was slow but she was soo determined and its motivational everything she went through and she still had the perseverance to survive. This is a very powerful story!
  • Janilyn Kocher
    January 1, 1970
    An incredible read about an extraordinary woman who survived endless nightmares. Epstein's mother wrote her memoir in the 1970s and passed away in 1989. It documents her time in several concentration camps ama eventual emigration to the US. It's straight forward and poignant. Thanks to Edelweiss and Penguin Publishing for the advance copy.
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  • Barbara White
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing. Gut wrenching. Honest. I hope writing Franci's War was a cathartic experience. It lends another look at the horrors of a Holocaust survivor. I can see Franci's War being used as a resource in high school or college history classes that cover WWII. Thanks to Goodreads First Reads for my copy. I highly recommend it.
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  • Donna Shaw
    January 1, 1970
    This memoir is a straight forward account written by Franci and later edited and published by her daughter. Franci, is young Czechoslovakian, non-practicing Jewish girl who spent 3 years in captivity in slave labor camps during WWII. She managed to survive and return to her hometown. Years later, she immigraged to NYC and established a fashion business.
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of this book.Franci Rabinek Epstein tells of her life in this beautifully written book. A Czechoslovakian Jew, Rabinek Epstein recounts how she went from a privileged life to the Nazi death camps, and emerged on the other side.
  • Dana Scott
    January 1, 1970
    I feel like Francis story is incredibly important to tell but I feel like it could have been executed better. I didnt like how the author went from first person narrating then to third and back all in the same paragraph. I read an ARC of the book so it definitely wasnt the finished version. I feel like Franci’s story is incredibly important to tell but I feel like it could have been executed better. I didn’t like how the author went from first person narrating then to third and back all in the same paragraph. I read an ARC of the book so it definitely wasn’t the finished version.
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  • Mary Nee
    January 1, 1970
    An interesting memoir! A good read!
  • Erick Brown
    January 1, 1970
    Patrickdea
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Very well-written. Includes photos and an afterward by her daughter(who is also an author writing about the Holocaust.) The true story of a Jewish woman who was a Czech during Hitler's rise to power. It details what happens to her and her family, in detail the different concentration camps she was in. It was so well-written it tugged at my heartstrings and left me emotionally drained. I have read quite a few fictional and non-fictional books about the Holocaust, and this one was the best by far. Very well-written. Includes photos and an afterward by her daughter(who is also an author writing about the Holocaust.) The true story of a Jewish woman who was a Czech during Hitler's rise to power. It details what happens to her and her family, in detail the different concentration camps she was in. It was so well-written it tugged at my heartstrings and left me emotionally drained. I have read quite a few fictional and non-fictional books about the Holocaust, and this one was the best by far. Very readable and highly recommended. (I won this book from Goodreads.)
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  • Nissa
    January 1, 1970
    Very nicely done. Enjoyed reading the emotional and fast-paced story. Thank you, Helen for sharing your mother, Francis holocaust survivor story. Truly inspirational, and what the Jewish people endured must not be forgotten. Very nicely done. Enjoyed reading the emotional and fast-paced story. Thank you, Helen for sharing your mother, Franci’s holocaust survivor story. Truly inspirational, and what the Jewish people endured must not be forgotten.
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  • Philippa Mckenna
    January 1, 1970
    Nobody can deny the horrors suffered by millions of Jews during the Holocaust, and this book provides a brief glimpse into how life was for Franci whilst she was held captive. I particularly liked the way the story continued to tell Franci's story after liberation, and gave a real insight into how she rebuilt her life.
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  • Tennille
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book as a Goodreads First Read. I loved reading about Franci's life and her strength to overcome. I would definitely recommend this book. It's important to understand what our grandparents experienced and to never repeat their mistakes. Though I'll never understand how it happened, we need to understand it did and the impacts it has left on all of us. This book makes it very real.
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  • Chrissie
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a very powerful account of a young Czech Jewish girl's experience during WWII.Being moved to four different camps Franci was determined to survive , such an inspiring woman and so brave .Franci did survive but when she returned to Prague after the war was over, nothing was the same she had lost everything including her Family and business but she was a survivor .Many thanks to the Publisher the Author and Netgalley for my review copy in return for an honest review.
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  • Shayla
    January 1, 1970
    I found it very difficult to read this book, but not for the expected cruelties of any book concerning the events of the holocaust.The author slips into a different voice about 1/3 of the way into the book. Depersonalization/derealization is not an uncommon reaction to trauma. It's perfectly understandable from a human standpoint, but not from a narrative one. The old adage of "show, don't tell" was taken perhaps a bit too literally here. In showing the DPDR, it became harder and harder to I found it very difficult to read this book, but not for the expected cruelties of any book concerning the events of the holocaust.The author slips into a different voice about 1/3 of the way into the book. Depersonalization/derealization is not an uncommon reaction to trauma. It's perfectly understandable from a human standpoint, but not from a narrative one. The old adage of "show, don't tell" was taken perhaps a bit too literally here. In showing the DPDR, it became harder and harder to understand what was going on. I suppose that lends to the confusion Franci no doubt felt at the turns her life had taken, but it just didn't work for me in print. I tried to read this for days, but finally gave up halfway into the book. I do feel for the woman, and appreciate her daughter trying to get this story out to the world. As this was an advanced reader copy obtained from a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review, I hope it is not too late for them to do a bit more editing before publication. I was really interested in Franci's story, but I just couldn't get past the writing.
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