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Lilac Girls- A Conversation and Book Signing with Author Martha Hall Kelly
In Lilac Girls author Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of the quest for love and freedom, of terrible secrets and redemption. At the Oliver Wolcott Library on Thursday, June 16, 2016 from 7:00- 8:00 p.m.
Between 1939 and 1945, it is estimated that 130,000 female prisoners passed through the Ravensbrück camp system. Only 15,000 of the total survived until liberation. Although the inmates came from every country in German-occupied Europe, the largest single national group incarcerated in the camp consisted of Polish women.
Starting in the summer of 1942, medical experiments were conducted without consent on 86 women; 74 of them were Polish inmates. Two types of the experiments were conducted on the Polish political prisoners. The first type tested the efficacy of sulfonamide drugs. These experiments involved deliberate cutting into and infecting of leg bones and muscles with virulent bacteria, cutting nerves, introducing substances like pieces of wood or glass into tissues, and fracturing bones
The second set of experiments studied bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration, and the possibility of transplanting bones from one person to another. Out of the 74 Polish victims, called Lapins, or Rabbits by the experimenters, five died as a result of the experiments, six with unhealed wounds were executed, and (with assistance from other inmates) the rest survived with permanent physical damage.
To prepare for the writing of the novel, Martha visited the Ravensbruck and the Museum of Martyrdom, a former Gestapo detention center. She describes on her website that, "It's somewhat terrifying descending into the Museum of Martyrdom Under the Clock. I'd read many cryptic references to 'Under the clock' in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp survivor testimonies and was beyond curious to see it for myself. The museum is….housed in the basement of the building the Nazis used for their Lublin headquarters. A visitor wouldn't give it a second look, for it's an ordinary looking building from the outside, but there is a hellish prison below, now a museum dedicated to those who gave their lives in the extraordinarily active Polish underground."
In Lilac Girls, Martha Hall Kelly has crafted a remarkable novel of the quest for love and freedom, of terrible secrets and redemption. It is a story that will keep readers bonded with the characters, searching for the truth, until the final pages.
Martha Hall Kelly worked as an advertising copywriter for many years. Lilac Girls, her first novel, took ten years to research and five years to write. She is currently working on a prequel to Lilac Girls. Visit her website at marthahallkelly.com.
Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates a very special conversation with author Martha Hall Kelly.
A wine and cheese reception will follow the event. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for signing and for purchase. All Oliver Wolcott Library events are free and open to the public. Space is limited. Registration is required and can be done by calling 860-567-8030 or logging onto www.owlibrary.org and clicking on Programs/Adult Programs.