Hitler’s Brothel by Steve Matthews

Hitler’s Brothel is not just a fictional story about two young Polish girls separated by the tragic circumstances of World War 2. It is a tale interwoven with real historical events including some little known facts that had me constantly reaching for Google for clarification.

Yes, Auschwitz did have a brothel which was used as a reward for hardworking prisoners as an incentive to work even harder, and yes, the renowned fashion house Hugo Boss did make uniforms for the SS.

The story begins strongly in New Jersey USA in 2000, though it’s not until author Steve Matthews takes us back to Poland in 1940 that this reader became invested in sisters Ania and Danuta and the ghastly activities in which they became involved in order to survive on a daily basis.

This is no easy read thanks to the descriptive narrative. It is at times both bleak and brutal highlighting the ugliness of war and reinforcing that the Holocaust, that stain on humanity, must never be forgotten.

Although I have been a keen collector of Prisoner of War Diaries for many years I struggled with the details within this book. Was this because it is so much based on the female perspective?

Matthews states in his Notes, “ War is never over for those who experience it first hand. This story is for all the Anias who suffered in the concentration camps of WW2 – may your God bless you, and may you have finally found peace – whether you sleep beneath the ground or above it.” AMEN to that.

A copy of this book should be in every High School Library in Australia.

And another History Lesson:

Between 1971 and ‘76 I attended a High School in Sydney. Nothing special, nothing flash. One of the girls in the same form was dating a young apprentice plumber who drove a grey Vauxhall Velox. Another girl friend was dating his mate who drove a green Vauxhall Velox. Ugly old cars. That girl friend duck shovelled that fellow and started dating another of his mates, later marrying him and bearing two kiddies down the track.

Long story short: I started dating Mr Green Vauxhall and on weekends we would often have Vauxhall convoys, green and grey, and double date. Life in the Big Smoke, hey…..Another of my girlfriends was dating a bloke from our form who drove an ugly old Worsley. Is it any wonder I never had an interest in motor vehicles ?

Vauxhalls and why I hate them

The driver of the grey Vauxhall went on to marry a younger lass from the same high school and who also had a brother in my form. She had an older half sister who was my economics teacher in Year 12. ( It’s ok, I crushed economics). The teacher’s mother, who I met as an early teen and way before GDP and Fiscal Pie Charts, was the sister of my Dad’s best friend during World War 2 who was killed flying over the skies of Germany.

I knew little of Spud except for a couple of small black and white photos I found hidden in an old tobacco tin after my fathers death, though it explained my families connection to Spike, whom I later learned was Spud’s younger brother.

The author’s wife is the lass who used to be in the grey Vauxhall all those years ago. Like getting close to 50 years ago – gulp.

Mr Green Vauxhall? That’s another story.

I’ll go now and prepare a quick quiz for tomorrow to make sure you’ve all been listening ………

3 thoughts on “Hitler’s Brothel by Steve Matthews

  1. I’m not sure I can force my self to read The Steve Mathews book. Although I will probably research it. But not right now, the contents are just too painful. You see, all but one cousin of my father’s family perished in Auschwitz. They were deported from Paris and the only survivors were two children hidden away. My father, an U.S. army Lieutenant, searched after the war but couldn’t find any family survivors. My grandfather left for America in the early 20th century. The rest of his Family stayed in France. As a child he went back and met his cousins, aunts and uncles. However,ALL died in Auschwitz and their names are displayed in the Museum de la Shoah in Paris. Before he died, a decade ago, he was trying to get DNA information, still looking for family survivors. My sister and I after retiring began an investigation and I did my DNA on ancestry. I also submitted a post card written in Yiddish with a Paris address asking on a Jewish website for a translation. Unbelievably, I received a message from a young woman, who looked like she could have been my daughter. She is the last of the Kluchinsky family in Paris. Her mother, then a young child hid while her entire family were hauled off. This young woman’s mother was my father’s first cousin. Her great grandfather was my grandpa’s brother. She FaceTimed me from Paris and we connected. She thought she was the end of the line since she had no children, and joyfully learned she has loads of Kluchin cousins. She also worked several years for the Shoah museum compiling information on those who had died. In doing so she found our family members. Beautiful people who all looked incredibly similar to my immediate family . Strange to see the faces of family members who died at the hands of the Nazis.

    I knew about some of the atrocities that happened but chose not to delve to deeply… I was afraid to learn the truth. As a child I lived in a neighborhood where several families had relatives with numbers on their arms. I knew about the beautiful lady down the street who owned the local dress shop but had no children because she was subject to experiments done by the Nazis. (She looked like a combination of Liz Taylor and Natalie Wood). And I also knew that she survived only because she was beautiful. I didn’t understand that until I was older.

    I’m not sure I can read the book. I don’t want to think about what some of my cousins had to endure. Several of these women were very pretty. And that could only mean one thing…perhaps one day I can check out the book. But not just yet. I do appreciate you sharing though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lesley, firstly my apologies that my post triggered such dreadful memories for you.
      Your family history is a reminder that these atrocities happened not so long ago. Thank you from the heart for sharing, Lesley. It’s unfortunate, but hearing these stories confirmed from people like yourself brings it all home. They’ve not just been devised for TV or Box Office ratings. I hope this means we can therefore learn from what has occurred, never allowing such atrocities to be repeated.
      I developed an interest in Prisoner of War stories thirty odd years ago. No family connections whatsoever. It was more a respect for the harrowing circumstances they endured (or not) and their resilience, their mental strength, and all things intrinsically good about mankind.
      Take care of yourself, young Lesley. Sending you a big hug to keep you warm.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you so much. No need to apologize at all. It triggered a response because recently the people who died were just names to me. However, recently seeing pictures of them I’ve been haunted by their faces. They are now real to me. They look like my father, and my youngest son who is his spitting image. And they look like me. That was chilling. And finding a cousin whose face looks like a younger version of myself is extraordinary. I am not young . I am 71. But age, is all relative isn’t it? After fighting cancer for a year and a half fighting for ones life has become precious to me. Chemo was miserable. But I gained strength from my lost relatives who I knew had it so much harder. I lived. They did not. I’m going today to spend Valentine’s Day with my oldest son and grandchildren and I’m so grateful for that opportunity . Double masks and all!
        . But, yesterday seeing Trump acquitted and reading this made me temporarily sad. ( I see Trump following in Hitlers footsteps).
        But I have learned to find joy in every moment. So I’m off to see my grandchildren and embrace my good fortune. ❤️✌️

        Liked by 2 people

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