Mischling by Affinity Konar

Mischling means half blood or hybrid. The term was first applied to people with one black and one white parent in Germany’s African colonies. In 1935, under Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, the term was applied to determine whether a person was considered a “Jew” or a “Mischling” (mixed-blood). Mischling is Affinity Konar’s debut novel and it is about two of the twin children that were kept in Dr. Josef Megele’s Zoo in Auschwitz.

Mengele who has come to be known as the Angel of Death because of the horrified experiments to the children, was experimented on twins to find out, in a very sadistic fashion, how much pain of separation the twins can handle; he would separate them, experimenting in one twin and keep the other intact to study the effects of his experiments.  In the novel, he is in the background, the emphasis is in the relationship, the bond between the two twin girls, Stasha and Pearl, who experienced the evil and darkness of which humans are capable.

We had to learn to love the world once more’, says Pearl at the end.

Mischling is an intimate, hunted and emotional book of memories, a book of unprecedented pain and loss, but also hope. Despite its intensity and the extremity of torture and cruelty, the language is extremely poetic and beautiful. It’s not an easy book, I found it very painful to read. But it is also an amazing and compelling book.