At the height of the Holocaust twenty-five young inmates of the infamous Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp – mainly Jewish women and girls – were selected to design, cut, and sew beautiful fashions for elite Nazi women in a dedicated salon. It was work that they hoped would spare them from the gas chambers. This fashion workshop – called the Upper Tailoring Studio – was established by Hedwig Höss, the camp commandant’s wife, and patronized by the wives of SS guards and officers.
Historian Lucy Adlington draws on diverse sources – including interviews, clothes and photographs from the 1940s to bring an extra dimension to the stories of these resilient, brave women. Weaving the dressmakers’ remarkable experiences within the context of Nazi policies for plunder and exploitation, Lucy exposes the greed, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the Third Reich and offers a fresh look at a little-known chapter of World War II and the Holocaust.