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Hitler’s Brothel

(36 customer reviews)
Authors: Steve Matthews
Fiction, WWII
C Format

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‘War and what it does to people. No one escapes it’s clutches …’

Two sisters are cruelly separated by war in tragic circumstances. Ania is imprisoned in a concentration camp in Poland and Danuta’s search for her sister leads her into the Polish Underground. They each do what they must to survive long enough to find each other. Their dream of being united ends in shocking circumstances. Amazingly, the opportunity for revenge presents itself 60 years later in New Jersey, USA. But faced with the ultimate decision what will be the outcome: seek justice or revenge?

Spanning 60 years, Hitler’s Brothel follows the lives of two Polish sisters, separated by the vagaries of war. It examines their lives as well as those of their German masters.

Steve Matthews

Steve Matthews

Steve Matthews’ work in children’s literacy in Australia and abroad has been widely recognised and acknowledged, and his acclaimed children’s books are sold in Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA. After selling his business interests, Steve has now fulfilled a life-long ambition to write full time. Hitler’s Brothel is his second novel for adults. […]

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36 reviews for Hitler’s Brothel

  1. Inspired by true events, this is an incredible story of courage and one of history’s darkest secrets.

  2. I am constantly reminded of Steve Matthews’ talent during my reading of his newest masterpiece “Hitlers Brothel”. In what is such an unthinkable part of history, Steve manages to craft a story that leaves you pondering long after you’ve turned the last page!

    Steve’s words so beautifully depict such tragedies that sisters, Ania and Danuta face in the book. Though fictional, I could not help but feel everything the characters felt, every breath they held, every tear they shed, it was as if I too was present in all of the dips and twists that were thrown their way and I couldn’t get enough!

    It is a story that I never felt I could connect with the way that I did. I found myself so deeply and emotionally invested in every single character and I wanted more for them! It is gut-wrenching and at times completely unimaginable but I was kept on my toes with every word and, in true Steve fashion, I could never predict what was around the corner!

    If you love a story that keeps you wanting more, a story that truly takes you deeper than what the history books will tell you, then this is the book for you! It is a journey far from the unicorns and rainbows, but it is a journey that you will never forget.

    — Emma Houghton

  3. ‘Hitler’s Brothel’ is a gripping novel, full of dreadful and amazing twists and turns. It pulls you in from the first paragraph. You never quite know where you are going to end up when you read one of Steve Matthews masterpieces. I started this journey, with a clear mind; having no idea what was going to happen, but I knew that I was in for one hell of a ride and Steve did not disappoint. I reckon I would have read it in one sitting if I had the time. AMAZING!!
    Though Ania and Danuta’s story is fictional, for so many, it was their life, which is why even though I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Hitler’s Brothel’, I was also very saddened and shocked while reading it. I wanted to cry out ‘WHY?’ though I knew the answer. All the characters in this amazing novel felt so real and I was able to connect with each one (well maybe not the evil ones) to the point that I felt their pain, felt their joy. Steve’s writing is so powerful, that upon closing this book, I just wanted to cry, for this book travels through one of histories most darkest hours and you feel it right in your core; what these people must have suffered both during and after the Holocaust. I am also grateful to be able to know these people, learn their secrets and share their journey.
    A wonderful tale, brilliant writing, a true masterpiece! Well done Steve!!!

  4. For those interested in WW11 and stories of sisters separated by circumstances, this book will grip you.

    The story begins in New Jersey 2000 and with Anna (Ania) now in her 70’s. A new patient arrives at the retirement home where she works and this transports Anna back to 1940 with disastrous consequences.

    The story is based on two sisters Danuta and Ania Burczyk, separated when their village is raided by the German Army, it covers their gruelling and on occasion brutal
    journey. The sisters become separated following an attack on their home, and both Danuta and Ania follow different paths whilst doing what’s required to survive.
    Obersturmbannfuhrer Baldric Fischer (head of Whysznica, close to Austwitz) created a club (brothel) using Polish girls as stock, access to The Club was used as a reward system to increased motivation in the labour force.

    The author creates tangible tension through his telling of this story albeit it on occasion, brutally descriptive. The characters come alive on the pages, and I formed empathy with Ania and her friends as they struggled to survive.
    The thread throughout this story is the concern Danuta and Ania have for one and other and the longing to reunite. This comes about under brutal circumstances.
    On hearing the Allies are approaching Krakow panic sets in and with a rebel uprising things start to unravel.

    The author describes the arrival of the Allied forces and the survival attempts of the Third Reich commandants with chilling detail.

    We are then transported back to current times in New Jersey, and follow Ania’s
    thoughts and decisions as she writes her final act.

    This story held my attention throughout and is written with great compassion for the Polish and Jewish prisoners. I couldn’t put it down.

    Helen Weideman
    New Zealand

  5. Steve Matthews’ “Hitler’s Brothel” is a great read from cover to cover.

    I was kept in suspense as time and again he kept me guessing as to which way the story was heading. I did not want to put the book down.

    I found it particularly interesting as it is based on very sad actual historical events and it kept me wondering about what I would do if I was in the situation that the characters were facing.

    After reading “Hitler’s Brothel” I am looking forward to reading Steve’s other work.

    Highly recommended.

    Ian Irvine

  6. A page-turning, gripping tale of two sisters ensnared in Hitler’s brutal Nazi regime and their struggle to survive.
    Hitler’s Brothel goes deep inside the workings of a death camp to reveal a powerfully – told story, one laced with the intrigue of deception and hidden secrets that linger across time .

  7. After reading The Skinny Girl I could not wait for Steve Matthews’ second novel, Hitler’s Brothel. It did not disappoint. It is at times confronting and believe it or not, very funny in parts also (the nursing home scenes). It was difficult to put down and I couldn’t wait until I made the time to get back into it. The story moves quickly and keeps you involved with the characters, both good and bad. A thoroughly good read, and I can’t recommend it enough! 5 stars for Hitler’s Brothel!

  8. Hitler’s Brothel is more than a war book, although it is set in a concentration camp. Be prepared to be confronted when you read it, but remember also – concentration camps were confronting! I felt close to Ania and Danuta, and empathised with their attempts to reunite after the SS cruelly separated them. Throughout the book I felt… I will read just one more chapter… and so it went until I finished the story – yes, this is a real page turner! As the tension built towards the end I almost found myself cheering when I read the last page. But then, when I put the book down I started think ‘what would I have done in Anna’s place?’ This book truly is a thought provoking thriller.

  9. I loved this book and as a regular reader of war history, I was wary of reading a fictionalised account, but found it thoroughly enjoyable and believable, especially as the author uses the real names of historical figures where possible. The descriptions of the operation of a large death camp, with the dehumanising language, such as calling the inmates “units”, and hair-raising casual cruelty of participants and callous indifference of by-standers is often hard to read.
    I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in World War 2 and also anyone who wishes to be reminded of just how low humans can sink in a time of war.

  10. Oct 11, 2020Samantha rated it really liked it
    My first thoughts were that this book had a solid feel and bright appealing cover despite the serious topic it was delving into. I was also attracted by the notation that the story was based on true events.

    The narrative was very easy to follow and I enjoyed the weaving of modern times with past events. The story provided an angle that I had not previously come across with this topic, and makes one think about human behaviour and choices – a recommended read.

  11. Note: This review sent to the author via Messenger:

    The book Hitler’s Brothel hooked me from the start. I kept wanting to turn the page to find out what happened next. Any spare minute I had I was” just reading 1 chapter” which then turned into two or more chapters. This book has a very powerful story line which is at times confronting, and it was at these times that you have a reality check and remember that these atrocities actually happened. It is a story of incredible strength – what the victims endured during this time was devastating and throughout the book my emotions were definitely on show. Another great book from a great Australian Author, Steve Matthews. Can’t wait to see what you have for us next Steve…

  12. Hitler’s Brothel was a great read which I couldn’t put down. I found myself reading on in anticipation of the outcome and I wasn’t disappointed. Highly recommend it!

  13. Good Reads Rated 4 Stars!

  14. Troy Paynter Goodreads rated 4 stars!

  15. Sonya Beinart-Wolf Goodreads rated it 4stars

  16. I love a good historical fiction story and this book certainly delivered. Strong characters, an epic story and all the while I’m learning about events that really happened during World War II. This one goes straight to the must-read again part of my bookshelf

  17. Wow! A few weeks ago I would have said there wasn’t much that I hadn’t read about the Holocaust however I had no idea that any concentration camp had a brothel! This story is told with a sensitivity that carries you along with the characters. The ending displays the power of the apparently powerless and gives closure whilst still leaving just enough mystery for your imagination to fill in the blanks. A great read

  18. From Jennifer – Goodreads

    ‘Listen to me, I tell you. I tell you this: she was a good neighbour, a good worker and a good woman.’

    The novel opens in New Jersey, USA, on 7 February 2000. Something, involving Stella’s friend Anna, has happened. It looks like she is going to kill someone: who, and why?

    The next part of the story takes us back to 9 January 1940, to Zwinbrych in Poland.

    Over a period of sixty years, this story will unfold. The story of two sisters from a Polish village in World War II, separated when soldiers came to recruit women for the brothel at the Auschwitz concentration camp. One sister, Ania, was taken while Danuta fled. Danuta was shot and left for dead. When she recovered, she joined the Polish underground to try to find her sister. Ania was one of several women forced into sexual slavery, in a brothel which was set up to ‘reward’ the non-Jewish prisoners. A clever and evil motivational tool which destroyed lives. Those who survived were often shunned and treated as outcasts.

    Ania and Danuta set out to survive, hoping one day to be reunited.

    I did not know, until I read this novel and then did some research of my own that there was a brothel for the prisoners at Auschwitz. While the brothel was real, Ania and Danuta are fictional.

    The story is heartbreaking and yet another reminder of the cruelty and tragedy of war.

    This is a thought-provoking novel: both important and difficult to read.

    Highly recommended.

  19. From Instagram
    Perth WA
    Inspired by true events, this historical fiction novel commences in the USA in the year 2000. The protagonist, Anna, is 70 years old when her path unexpectedly crosses with someone significant from her harrowing time forced into sexual slavery in a Polish concentration camp. The story then goes back to 1940 in Poland, when young Anna (then Ania) was brutally separated from her sister Danuta and their respective struggles to try and survive the horrors of Nazi Europe during WW2. The ending of the book reverts to the USA in 2000 with an explosive ending that keeps you guessing to the very last paragraph. Sensitively told with historic integrity, Hitler’s Brothel reads like a high suspense thriller. The characters are vivid and I found myself very invested in following their journey. In my view an engaging standout in this genre. I highly recommend reading this book.

  20. From Kath – Sydney, posted on Facebook, Dec 2020

    I received your book on Christmas morning as a gift as I had seen it at BigW and my teenage son went back and bought me a copy for Christmas when he heard me talking about wanting to pick up a copy on my next pay day!
    I’ve not been able to put it down. It made me cry, sigh and reflect on my own Babcias life in Poland and being taken from her farm at 14 in Czhestochowa. Despite it being a fictional story, your book was amazing. It really gave an insight what life was like for the Polish during the war and I could see a lot of my Grandma in Ania.
    My grandmother came to Australia after the war as a displaced person. The rest is history.
    Love seeing that you’re a Sydney local! Wonderful book, can’t wait to see what you publish next!
    Kath – from Sydney

  21. I enjoyed reading each characters experience even though brutal in parts. The telling of the atrocities that really did occur during the reign of Hitler in the 2ndWW. The story kept you in suspense right up until the end. Looking forward to your next book Steve!

  22. Have just finished reading Hitler’s Brothel. So moving. Have also watched and read about the holocaust over the years. Your writing is so detailed that it is difficult to look at it as fiction. You have really captured the essence of what happened in those cruel times. I found it so confronting it was difficult to read but couldn’t stop. Really well written.

  23. Wow. What an emotional and brutal read. I don’t think I’ve come across a novel so incredibly well researched before. You’d be forgiven for forgetting that 𝗛𝗶𝘁𝗹𝗲𝗿’𝘀 𝗕𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗹 is indeed fiction. Despite the harrowing and heartbreaking scenes, I could not put it down.

    As a massive history buff, I personally found the intricate details compelling and necessary to achieve what makes this novel so great. Without them, it would be just another story of the Nazi occupation.

    I’ve not read much on the Polish Underground and I found that fascinating. I think a lot of people tend to forget that it wasn’t just Germany that was affected, but Poland and the majority of Eastern Europe also.

    I think what I liked most about this story, is the multiple narratives. You get a look inside the characters, from prisoner, Nazi, resistance.

    I highly recommend this novel if you’re wanting something intense and richly paced. And please, do read the author notes at the end for an insight into why he wrote this book and the research he undertook – including visits to the concentration camps.

  24. Hitlers Brothel is a truly gripping read about the torments of two sisters whose lives are dramatically affected by the Nazi’s during World War 2.
    Separated early in the book, one taken to a concentration camp for the pleasure of soldiers and officers and the other finding herself in the Polish Underground continually looking for her sister, culminating in a dramatic finale.
    Well written and researched about a time that we all hope never happens again!
    Steve Matthews I will be looking forward to your next book.
    Peter Clegg

  25. This review is from Alice David, in Hungary:
    I had to read the novel twice.
    The first time I simple read it, but at the second I felt it.
    The story you wrote is the thing we have to never forget.
    Specially the story of the two sister, Danuta and Ania, caught my mind and my heart.
    On the other side there is Tina the merciless woman.
    The other thing, that was so instructive, Baldrick Fischer’s case. When he changed his suit, as the necessity required, yes he was a real cameleon.
    At the same side was the brutal and silly Karl Braun. This two persons could represent the image of Nazis, while Grabowski and Slav tried to save as many people as possible.
    And yet how sad that evil has survived the war as Pawel Michalik and won above Anna.
    The story was very exciting, as it took place in several scenes, and these locations sometimes meet.

  26. Hitler’s Brothel: Started it on Monday and finished it Tuesday. Even though it is a work of fiction based on truth, it really highlights man’s inhumanity to man. I must compliment Steve Matthews on a book really well written, so compelling that I was not able to put it down.

  27. A fantastic series!’

  28. A Secret Room in Auschwitz is a moving story
    Steve Matthews shows the nightmare of a camp where human life had no meaning.
    The book A Secret Room in Auschwitz re-opens the discussion on the tragedy of prisoners, the tragedy of women, during World War II.
    I highly recommend.

  29. The writer gives them (the women in the camp brothel) their voice, their face, their human dignity.
    It certainly stands out among other positions in this genre.

  30. ….a deeply moving, fact-based story of ordinary people and what the war did to them, along with the ideology of putting aside everything connected with the concept of humanity.

    Steve Matthews’ novel is an honest story about the suffering of women during the war. What’s important (and the pure desire to learn is extremely interesting) this story is inspired by facts. This element of support, in fact, gives the reading an additional eloquence – an eloquence that is worth remembering after finishing the book, because it is a certain universal and timeless memento about what we must never allow again in the history of mankind.

    The book is essentially one big, moving story about the tragedy of human fate.

    “A Secret Room in Auschwitz” is a story that is both beautiful and sad, touching and morally uplifting. From a purely moral point of view… it delights. And I suspect that she will squeeze more than one tear from more than one pair of eyes.

  31. the style and language used by the author, despite the difficult and painful topics, is very pleasant to read, which makes the book read with great interest. I was hooked from the very first page and didn’t put the book down until I read the last sentence. The plot of the book has been outlined in an intriguing way, refined and equally well conducted, and the heroes we meet here are very real characters, they even come to life on the pages of the novel.
    … evokes an abundance of extreme emotions, a sense of injustice, anger, it also makes you think deeper about your own life. The author also shows how powerful love can be, in this case sisterly love – Anna and Danuta, which makes women able to endure a lot and do everything for each other. This is an ideal read for fans of camp literature, of war. I recommend!

  32. I will not forget this novel for a long time … Although I have read a lot of books about war and camps, I must say that this one is special. Powerful emotions flow down from its pages, which pierce the mind and heart like sharp, rusty nails. They hurt, tear apart and they hurt terribly… This pain is really felt… At times it is so intense that it forces you to put the book down and take a break so that your heart doesn’t break….

  33. The book will certainly remain in the memory, maybe it will lead to conversations,
    some reflection. It draws you in from the first page and it’s hard to tear yourself away and
    this is supposedly the 1st volume of a trilogy, so the question arises what will happen next ….

  34. …I haven’t read a book that has had such an emotional impact on me in a long time.

  35. Steve Matthews has written a moving novel that evokes many emotions in us. It hits our hearts with great strength, making the story of Anna and Danuta Burczyk bring tears.
    Without a doubt, the author deserves praise.

  36. …the chapters are short and the suspense palpable, making the pages literally turn by themselves. Of course I definitely recommend it!

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