From Dust and Ashes
From Dust and Ashes is a fictionalized narrative of the liberation of Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps at the close of World War II. The little town of St Georgen, where most of the story takes place, lies just a few miles southeast of Linz on the Danube. The book appears to be heavily based on personal records of actual participants.
Since it is published by Moody, the Christian context is naturally present and indeed provides the basis for the actions of the three people most central to the story. Peter, a Montanan interrupted in his ministry ambition by the war, finds his faith tested by what he is experiencing. Michaela, a Polish inmate of the camp on the brink of death before liberation, must re-evaluate her life when it is unexpectedly returned to her. Saddest and most central to the story is Helena, the German wife of an SS guard. Despite her involvement with the Nazis and her natural fear of retribution, she brings food to the camp upon liberation and directly nurses two camp inmates back to health. This simple act of kindness eventually results in her spiritual liberation as she and her children contend with the war’s aftermath. The Holocaust horrors are not sugarcoated, downplayed or passed over. The full brutality is present, but this is a work of redemption, so it ends not Hollywood happy, but with the deep joy of Christian commitment.