74 pages 2 hours read

Antonio Iturbe

The Librarian of Auschwitz

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2012

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Teacher Introduction

The Librarian of Auschwitz

  • Genre: Fiction; young adult historical
  • Originally Published: 2012 (in Spanish), 2017 (English translation)
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 940L; grades 9-12; college/adult
  • Structure/Length: 32 chapters; approximately 425 pages; approximately 13 hours, 39 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The protagonist is Dita Kraus, a 14-year-old girl in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp who takes charge of the few books smuggled in and becomes the “librarian.” The central conflict revolves around Dita's struggle to maintain hope and a semblance of normalcy through books amidst the horrific conditions of the camp.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Graphic descriptions of the Holocaust; violence; death; themes of genocide and racism; profanity; sexual content

Antonio Iturbe, Author

  • Bio: Spanish author and journalist; his work often explores stories related to the Holocaust; based The Librarian of Auschwitz, originally published in Spanish, on the real-life experiences of Holocaust survivor Dita Kraus
  • Other Works: Días de Sal (1996); Rectos Torcidos (2005); A Cielo Abierto (2017)
  • Awards: Prix Jan Michalski Nominee (2019); Rhode Island Teen Book Award Nominee (2020)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • The Power of Books to Give Life Meaning
  • Love Is Stronger Than War
  • In War, Nothing Is as It Seems

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Teaching Guide, students will:

  • Develop an understanding of the social and historical contexts that impact the central conflict of Dita, Fredy, and others including the setting of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp during the Holocaust.