Lilac Girls Book Club Discussion Questions

Please put your comments for Lilac Girls book club discussion questions in the comments area below.

Here’s a video of Martha Hall Kelly introducing Lilac Girls.

Find Martha Hall Kelly: |Website | Facebook |Amazon Author Page |

Discussion Questions for Lilac Girls

1. Lilac Girls was based on real people and real events that happened during Hitler’s reign, were you aware of the Ravensbruck “Rabbits” before you read the book?

2. There were many gruesome events that happened in the book. Kelly’s focus on the harrowing experiments in Ravensbruck was very memorable. What message was Kelly trying to say by including heavy details of the women’s experiences? Did you find these parts hard to read?

3. The story spans over a long period. Were there any parts that surprised you? Which part made the most impact on you?

4. The story is told from Caroline, Kasia and Herta’s perspective. What did you think of the author’s style of narration? Did you enjoy it? Do you think it enriched the story or would you have preferred one narrative?

5. Herta Oberheuser was a real person. Do you think the author portrayed her life and thoughts adequately? Did you want to know more about Herta? Were you sympathetic to her?

6. Why do you think Kelly included Herta’s point of view? How did that affect your reading of the book?

7. Having read Caroline’s and Kasia’s stories, did you find it empowering for women?

Lilac Girls Book Club Discussion Questions

8. Halina’s ring was a major significance in the book. What did Halina’s ring represent? Why did Herta want to keep it?

9. The women endured and suffered not only in pre-war but post war. They found it difficult to adapt and assimilate after WWII. How well do you think the author addressed Kasia’s struggle to find peace in the aftermath of the trauma at Ravensbruck?

10. Do you think 20 years as a sentence for the war crimes was sufficient for Herta Oberheuser in the Doctor’s Trial at Nuremberg? How did Kasia feel when she found out the truth about Herta’s sentence?

11. Susana’s view of the world is very different to Kasia. Each reminds the reader how these viewpoints shape their actions. How well did Kelly’s  characters reveal their way of survival?

12. The book explores women’s role in WWII  and after, do you think Kelly successful showed the balance between the victim’s point of view and the women who helped the victim’s?

13. Many of the themes that appeared in the book, such as survival, political resistance and human rights were part and parcel of WWII. What has history taught us? Is it relevant today? What does it suggest about the human condition?

14. One of the many themes of Lilac Girls focused on women’s relationships- female friendship, sister relationship, mother-daughter relationship, love etc. How does these themes shape and impact the character’s lives?

15.Which character did you most connect with?

16.What did you think of the ending? Was it what you expected?

17. What was your take-away message from reading Lilac Girls?

18. Did you enjoy the Lilac Girls? Who would you recommend it to?

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13 thoughts on “Lilac Girls Book Club Discussion Questions

  1. I think books are always more interesting when based on real people. It sounds like this one could be interesting. Going to check out your review of the novel!

    1. Hi Olivia!
      Lilac Girls is definitely worth a read just to find out what happens to the Ravensbruck Lapins (rabbits).
      It’s a moving story and I think you will enjoy it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hiya, Dinh – sounds like an interesting book.

    Is this an anti-war book, ie, does it demonstrate how people become monsters when in a uniform & use their orders as an excuse to be psychopathic?

    I darn’t read this ‘coz of family background – they were at the mercy of the murderers as well – but all of this monsterous tragedy went slightly to the heads of the next generation who see the last war as a reason to still bear hatred.

    That way peace often doesn’t lie – as we can see demonstrated in all the wars and suffering still today – we didn’t learn from our parents, did we?

    All best wishes – Andre

    1. Hi Andre,
      history tends to repeat itself and I am hopefully for a better world even though there’s evidence to the contrary.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I’m loving the photos, Dinh! Yes, I was aware of Ravensbruck “Rabbits” because I read an article about the author and her insights into writing this book. There are so many great stories that need to be told. Glad she brought one photo that she saw to life. Great questions, Dinh!

    1. Hi Lonna!
      I am so glad Arlene mentioned this book.
      I am also glad that Kelly was inspired to write this book.
      I am really intrigue with war and what people do to survive. Are we as people altruistic? What is our nature?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

    1. Hi Josephine!
      Yes you can buy the book on your Ipad. If you have an Ipad you can buy the book through the Ibook app. The icon looks like an orange square with a white book inside.
      If you are a member of the library, I would suggest using their app and downloading it from there (perhaps OverDrive, OneClickDigital or Hoopla) for free.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

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