I can count on one hand the number of books I have picked up, started and then never finished. I have this uncanny desire to finish what I’ve started no matter how disastrous it is.
This book is by no means disastrous, but it’s left me nearly sleepless the last few nights. I’ve read many books about World War II and what happened to the Jews, but something about this one has just rocked my world.
This is the story of a young girl and her family + many other families in Poland. They are Polish Jews and when the Russians and Germans invade Poland they are forced into hiding. They hide in a bunker under the floors of their former housekeeper and are at the mercy of her husband (who ironically enough has a reputation of being a Jew hater). They shelter this family, while all around them they are losing other family members who went to the ghettos, were sent to camps and others who went into hiding only to be found out.
It’s the matter of fact way she relates the death of family member after family member. Not that she isn’t being sentimental and heartbroken over each one, it’s the realization of that was what her world looked like for so many years. Her childhood of school and frolicking in the streets was ripped out from under her and her wealthy family is reduced to hiding in conditions that were horrible, but sadly not half as horrible as those who ended up in the ghetto. She listens from under the floorboards and behind the brick wall as massacre after massacre occurs and they continue to wait for information about their loved ones. What hits me as I read this, and what is causing me to have to pause, is the reality of it all…this really and truly happened.
I don’t know what happens in the end. Obviously she lives to tell her story, but as for the rest of her family I don’t know. Only halfway through I can tell you already that it is a beautiful story of redemption, faith and just trust in those that you would never think you could trust…the impossible.