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My Enemy's Cradle (2009)

av Sara Young

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
4532142,605 (3.88)34
Cyrla's neighbors have begun to whisper. Her cousin, Anneke, is pregnant and has passed the rigorous exams for admission to the Lebensborn, a maternity home for girls carrying German babies. But Anneke's soldier has disappeared, and Lebensborn babies are only ever released to their father's custody-- or taken away. A note is left under the mat.Someoneknows that Cyrla, sent from Poland years before for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. The Nazis are imposing more and more restrictions; she won't be safe there for long. And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. Cyrla must choose between certain discovery in her cousin's home and taking Anneke's place in the Lebensborn--Cyrla and Anneke are nearly identical. If she takes refuge in the enemy's lair, can Cyrla fool the doctors, nurses, guards, and other mothers-to-be? Can she escape before they discover she is not who she claims? Mining a lost piece of history, Sara Young takes us deep into the lives of women living in the worst of times. Part love story and part elegy for the terrible choices we must often make to survive, MY ENEMY'S CRADLE keens for what we lose in war and sings for the hope we sometimes find.… (mer)
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During the Nazi occupation, parents often sent their children to what they considered safer areas. Cryla's father sends her to her aunt, uncle and cousin's home in Holland where they are safe...but only briefly until Nazis arrive and change everything. Food, jobs, money becomes scarce, and soon curfews and racial laws against Jews are implemented. Because Cyrla's father is Jewish, (but she is blond like her mother), the family has to be extra vigilant. Cryla is anxious because her uncle's behavior toward her has changed for the worse.

When Cyrla's beautiful and sweet older cousin Anneke comes home pregnant, the situation worsens. Her furious father makes plans to send her to one of the Nazi Lebensborn maternity homes for girls and women impregnated by Nazi soldiers. The women are fed well and their babies adopted out to loyal German families with the plan to increase Germany's future military. Some women choose to remain after giving birth to become impregnated again during periodical orgies held at these maternity homes.

When Anneke learns her boyfriend Karl has left Holland supposedly to return to his fiance she feels abandoned and devastated. Her father's frightening behavior and plans drive her to take an action that will change life for all of them forever.

My Enemy's Cradle is about Cyrla's coping with a horrific situation, forcing herself to maintain a calm exterior while experiencing deeply troubling feelings. But because she is young, smart and a naturally caring person, she is able to quickly grasp other people's feelings and situations, and provide friendship and support. She is trusted by some of the staff, and is able to carefully request unconventional favors.

Before long, she is challenged with a new set of circumstances that include Anneke's boyfriend Karl. Not trusting him, she uses her instincts to deal with him, and remains wary, careful and alert.

While frightening I was glad I read this and learned about the Lebensborn homes. I plan on learning more about this German program. ( )
  Bookish59 | May 7, 2016 |
This was a very easy book to read. And yet, it was a very difficult story to take in. The writing was exceptional, drawing me in from the beginning. The characters were very sympathetic and real and the situations in which each found themselves were harrowing.

I had no idea that there truly were Lebensborn facilities during the war; but it makes perfect sense, knowing what we now know about how the Nazi regime thought and worked. The fact that these women had a place to go for excellent care and safety was a good thing, but the fact that many of these children were taken from the beginning to be raised as potential soldiers seemed as cold as a munitions factory. I was also saddened by the lack of physical contact for the babies, and wonder how that affected those who survived the war into adulthood.

I liked the characters immediately. Of course, Anneke and Cyrla were irritating as almost all late-teen girls are. They were perhaps to little too naive and full of wanderlust for the tone of the story, especially given Anneke's mother and father's stern dispositions, and Cyrla's difficult past. I would have thought that, realistically, they would have been more subdued and in touch with the reality of war. I became irritated over and and over by Cyrla's persistent refusal to see the danger she was in.

Karl and Isaac were excellent characters on both sides of the spectrum. One loving and forthright, a Nazi soldier. The other a Jew, but very stoic and stiff with people.

This was a very humanizing story and intriguing part of history that I want to learn more about. A great read, and highly recommended. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
3.5 Stars

The story for My Enemy's Cradle was very intriguing. I've never read a novel that centered on the Lebensborn program until now. And to have Jewish girl hiding in that setting?!?! Definitely a unique story. Once Cyrla got into the center, I was on pins and needles working my way through the novel. I desperately wanted to know how, or even if, she survived the ordeal and what ever happened to her baby. The actual story was the strongest part of this novel. It sucks you in, all the way through to the end.

Now the characters? That's another story.... Pretty much most of them, I could live without. I thought Anneke was a flighty bit of fluff. Isaak was a cold SOB I wouldn't have put up with nearly the amount that Cyrla did. And Cyrla? Wwwweeelllll..... Her characterization pre-Lebensborn I found pretty awful. She's so hung up on her "love" for Isaak that almost nothing else registers. I found myself wishing for more depth something awful.

Yet, once she got into the Lebensborn program and was really on her own, I think her characterization improved over all. Besides burning hot and cold on Karl and making me want to smack her more than once, I found her to be far more "with the program" and have more depth of character. Being isolated in such surroundings, I think, helped her to find herself. She became smarter, more focused, and more aware of her environment, with all its inherent dangers.

The whole love story between Karl and Cyrla I actually found pretty sweet. It came with some heavy baggage, but in the end, they overcame it all to achieve a happy ending, post-war. I actually liked how realistically it was portrayed. The heavy guilt of their combined history, their backgrounds, and the hostile environment they were in provided obstacles they were able to overcome, strengthening their relationship in my eyes. It made the romance all the sweeter.

Overall, I found this book enjoyable. It had a captivating and unique story to tell and a sweet romance to divulge. Characterization was hit or miss, but at least the main character found herself for most of the book. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Holocaust fiction or fiction set in the domestic world of WWII. I'd recommend it if only for the portrayal of the Lebensborn world; I don't know of another novel that portrays it. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 12, 2016 |
I had never heard of Nazi Lebensborn before -- places where young German and girls from occupied countries went to give birth to "perfect German babies." Cyrla, a Polish-born Dutch girl of half Jewish parentage, goes to a Lebensborn in Hamburg after her cousin dies from a botched self-abortion.

There's a lot going on in this story on an emotional level, but not much action. In fact, once Cyrla reaches the home, there's a lot of inaction as she waits to be rescued by the Jewish father of her baby.

The writing reminds me of Girl with One Pearl Earring.

I got a little bored near the end, but on the whole, the story held my attention. ( )
  Stembie3 | Jun 14, 2015 |
I mostly really liked My Enemy's Cradle. It sheds light on an aspect of WWII I'd never even heard of before picking up this book. And the few main characters were nicely drawn. There was something...slightly out of step here and there in the book for me, like one thing would be glossed over and another looked at in depth. But overall, definitely worth the read. ( )
  erelsi183 | Nov 18, 2013 |
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Cyrla's neighbors have begun to whisper. Her cousin, Anneke, is pregnant and has passed the rigorous exams for admission to the Lebensborn, a maternity home for girls carrying German babies. But Anneke's soldier has disappeared, and Lebensborn babies are only ever released to their father's custody-- or taken away. A note is left under the mat.Someoneknows that Cyrla, sent from Poland years before for safekeeping with her Dutch relatives, is Jewish. The Nazis are imposing more and more restrictions; she won't be safe there for long. And then in the space of an afternoon, life falls apart. Cyrla must choose between certain discovery in her cousin's home and taking Anneke's place in the Lebensborn--Cyrla and Anneke are nearly identical. If she takes refuge in the enemy's lair, can Cyrla fool the doctors, nurses, guards, and other mothers-to-be? Can she escape before they discover she is not who she claims? Mining a lost piece of history, Sara Young takes us deep into the lives of women living in the worst of times. Part love story and part elegy for the terrible choices we must often make to survive, MY ENEMY'S CRADLE keens for what we lose in war and sings for the hope we sometimes find.

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