Article Title

The Red Ribbon


Karen Abbott


Outstanding, Intermediate, Young Adult, Lucy Adlington, WWII, Prison Camp, Auschwitz-Birkenbaum, Sewing, Seamstress, Survival, Kindness, Beauty

Document Type

Book Review


Ella and Rose meet in the Birchwood Concentration Camp Upper Tailoring Studio, located in notorious Auschwitz. The two become fast friends. Ella is practical with strong survival instincts. Rose is more fanciful and kind. In the brutality of Auschwitz they need each other, especially when the random cruelty of a prison guard turns on Ella and ruins one of her hands. Ella can no longer sew, and the fight to survive becomes even more difficult. The girls are separated when Rose becomes too ill to work, and one day the hospital she is in is wiped out. Ella assumes that her friend has “gone up the chimneys.” Heartbroken, she makes a garment for herself as an act of determination and calls it her liberation dress—but even liberation does not guarantee safety in a world that is out of control.