The Love That I Have
Margot Baumann is sent to work in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. In the mail room. One of her main jobs is to collect letters being sent out by the inmates and destroying them.
But it doesn’t take long for Margot, who’s one brother is suffering in a Soviet camp, knows full-well the horror that families back home feel as they await news of their missing loved ones. This aching feeling prompts her to return a favor she hopes some girl near Stalingrad will do for her – allow some of the letters to be posted along so that she can learn the fate of her beloved Walther.
As she starts going through the smuggled letters, she finds one addressed to a Margot Lipsky. The coincidence of the shared name is just too much for Margot. Not only that, but the letter is by far the most beautiful thing she has ever read. She cannot stop herself from posing as Margot Lipsky and writing back.
But, of course, by writing back to this Dieter Kleinschmidt, she has bitten off more than she can chew, so to speak. Because suddenly, just writing to Dieter isn’t enough. Margot needs to keep Dieter alive – if not for the Margot she thinks she loves, but for herself. And then Dieter drops his own bombshell, he has known all along that the Margot responding to his letters is not his Margot. Now that Dieter and Margot both know the truth about the letters, Margot feels all the more determined to keep Dieter alive, no matter what it will cost her.
Then as the war draws to a close and the prisoners of Sachsenhausen are marched away from camp as the Allied approach grows nearer and nearer, the tables have suddenly turned. Sachsenhausen is still a death camp; one run by the Soviets and not the Germans. Now, Dieter must find a way to keep Margot alive.
The Love That I Have tells that horrors of the camp, but it also shows that even in the worst of circumstances, the best of humanity can still shine through. A German girl, despite her previous belief in Nazi propaganda, learns to see through it. She learns to love despite the divisions the Germans and Soviets have placed in society. Yet Margot pays an unspeakable price for her crime of working in the camp, meaning that not only must she learn to love others, but she must learn to forgive and love herself.
The Love That I Have is definitely one of the best Holocaust novels I’ve read. It tells of Sachsenhausen under German command and Soviet command. It tugs at the heartstrings while showing that love can present itself even in Nazi Germany.
Just a fair warning, The Love That I Have is an Australian novel, and not easily obtained in America. I found my copy on ebay.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Featured in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Goodreads: The Love That I Have