Daily Express

Hollywood calls for death-camp seamstress tale

- By Paul Jeeves

A COSTUME historian’s novel about seamstress­es who sewed to stay alive in a Nazi death camp is set to become a Hollywood film.

Lucy Adlington had read a footnote that led to the story of 23 women who were dressmaker­s in Auschwitz-Birkenau. She discovered that fashion-lover Hedwig Hoss, wife of feared camp commander Rudolph, demanded a tailoring workshop.

The female prisoners initially made clothes exclusivel­y for Frau Hoss but when other officers’ wives saw the garments they also demanded them.

Lucy said: “I knew there were slave workers needed to make uniforms for SS guards at Auschwitz, but this was a fashion workshop.

“I followed it up and found survivor testimony of women who had worked there and it was incredible that in the middle of Auschwitz there were all these women doing fashion sewing to save their lives.”

The Red Ribbon, a novel published in 2017 and penned on the North Yorkshire farm where

Lucy lives with husband Richard, was aimed at the young adult market but has gained wider appeal across dozens of countries.

It is set to be a big-screen movie or a series for a major streaming site after Overbrook Entertainm­ent, founded by A-list actor Will Smith and James Lassiter, secured film rights.

Lucy, 48, who grew up in Derbyshire and read English at Cambridge, said: “I’m really pleased that it’s now been confirmed and we can tell people. It’s taken a couple of months and I’ve only been able to tell people that ‘I’m keeping a secret.’ They all thought I was pregnant.”

Using fact and fiction, the novel follows 14-year-old prisoner Ella as she desperatel­y manages to secure a job with dressmaker­s to help her stay alive.

The heroine, named after Lucy’s own seamstress gran, Ella Rose, becomes determined to make her own “liberation dress” which she can wear when she is finally free.

Lucy found that one of the seamstress­es is still alive at 98 and is to interview her in San Francisco next week. She added: “I cannot wait to hear her stories first hand.”

Left, author Lucy, above Hedwig Hoss with her family and, right, women at Auschwitz death camp

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 ?? Picture: DAN ROWLANDS ??
Picture: DAN ROWLANDS
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 ??  ?? Film rights…Lucy’s book
Film rights…Lucy’s book

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