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In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Absolutely Inspirational!

The book In My Hands: Memoires of a Holocaust Rescuer, tells the inspiring tale of a young Polish girl, Irene Gut, and how she became a Holocaust rescuer. Irene was a seventeen-year-old, Catholic girl living in Poland at the time of Hitler's invasion in 1939. As the wa...
The book In My Hands: Memoires of a Holocaust Rescuer, tells the inspiring tale of a young Polish girl, Irene Gut, and how she became a Holocaust rescuer. Irene was a seventeen-year-old, Catholic girl living in Poland at the time of Hitler's invasion in 1939. As the war progressed, Irene's family, country and life apart began to be torn apart Through small actions at first, Irene strived to help the Jews. She began with simply smuggling food to the Jews in the neighboring ghetto. Irene's impact quickly turned into much more when she ultimately risked her own life in order to save the lives of 16 other Jews. This book displayed the horrors of World War II, but also the compassion of people during the war. Through the vividly described events and scenes, the reader is drawn in and allowed to feel the emotions that could only be felt, not seen. Her tale gives realism to the Holocaust that I had never experienced before. Overall, I completely adored this book. I could hardly put it down! There was not a single part that I disliked or would change. The plot is constantly thickening and always throwing new obstacles in the way of Irene. Her story is an inspiration to all those that read it and carries strong themes of patriotism and courage. Despite her young age or how bad circumstances looked, Irene never gave up on herself or her country. Her courage is an example of how everyone can do something, despite how small, to change the world. Although this novel is categorized as young adult, I would encourage people of all ages to read it. There is a lesson to learn by everyone within these pages. Overall I would give this book a 5 out of 5 star rating. Other recommended readings similar to this book would include The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne and The Diary of Anne Frank.

posted by KS24 on September 30, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Not cool

This book sucks

posted by Anonymous on March 7, 2013

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  • Posted September 30, 2010

    Absolutely Inspirational!

    The book In My Hands: Memoires of a Holocaust Rescuer, tells the inspiring tale of a young Polish girl, Irene Gut, and how she became a Holocaust rescuer. Irene was a seventeen-year-old, Catholic girl living in Poland at the time of Hitler's invasion in 1939. As the war progressed, Irene's family, country and life apart began to be torn apart Through small actions at first, Irene strived to help the Jews. She began with simply smuggling food to the Jews in the neighboring ghetto. Irene's impact quickly turned into much more when she ultimately risked her own life in order to save the lives of 16 other Jews. This book displayed the horrors of World War II, but also the compassion of people during the war. Through the vividly described events and scenes, the reader is drawn in and allowed to feel the emotions that could only be felt, not seen. Her tale gives realism to the Holocaust that I had never experienced before. Overall, I completely adored this book. I could hardly put it down! There was not a single part that I disliked or would change. The plot is constantly thickening and always throwing new obstacles in the way of Irene. Her story is an inspiration to all those that read it and carries strong themes of patriotism and courage. Despite her young age or how bad circumstances looked, Irene never gave up on herself or her country. Her courage is an example of how everyone can do something, despite how small, to change the world. Although this novel is categorized as young adult, I would encourage people of all ages to read it. There is a lesson to learn by everyone within these pages. Overall I would give this book a 5 out of 5 star rating. Other recommended readings similar to this book would include The Boy in the Stripped Pajamas by John Boyne and The Diary of Anne Frank.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing!

    This is an amazing story of how one young woman overcame so many hurdles to keep herself alive all the while saving the lives of others.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

         Imagine living with the image in your mind everyday of seei

         Imagine living with the image in your mind everyday of seeing an infant whipped into the air and shot. Imagine witnessing struggling, 
    famished laborers being worked to death before your very eyes. While all this is going on, imagine you are working in a kitchen, feeding 
    officers large feasts for every meal and watch them waste tons of food while there are young children just a mile away starving. All you can
    do is stand and watch. If you try to interfere, you are sentenced to imminent death. 
    The autobiography In My Hands tell the horrible life story of Irene Gut Opdyke as a Holocaust rescuer. That is exactly how her life 
    was. She was surrounded by horror and agony, and she was told she could do nothing. In her autobiography, she tells about escaping 
    from the Red Army, being taken prisoner and forced to work for the Nazis party, escaping and working with the Polish resistance and all 
    throughout her journey, rescuing many Jewish prisoners escape to freedom. Throughout the book, you are following her emotional 
    roller-coaster. One minute she is free and happy living with her sisters and family and the next, her family is ripped away from her, and
     they are forced to work in caves and her living conditions are horrible.
    I found this book to be eye opening, inspirational, interesting, and all around an amazing read. It ties in aspects of action, drama, 
    war, struggle, history, triumph, and selflessness. This book is perfect for those who have a passion for the Holocaust and World War II, 
    but also people who like books about rebellion, and it is overall a great book to teach people to do what is right, even though the 
    consequences may be alarming and dangerous. That is what Irene did. She knew it was extraordinarily dangerous to help Jewish
    prisoners but she did it anyway. She went against the law, risking her life, just to save the lives of innocent people. 
    This book is a bit graphic so it might not be the best idea to read for young people, but is perfect for anyone around the age of a high 
    schooler or older. It is a wonderful life lesson for all groups of people and it is important to learn about the past and learn lessons from 
    the tragedies of the past and this is a wonderful and truly beneficial book to anyone who reads.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2010

    A great read

    I could not put this one down. Highly recommend. It takes a look at WWII from the perspective of a young Polish girl and her journey through the war years.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Extremely good!

    I have read many books and have a long list of favorites but this book will be in the top 5 and Irene's story will stay with me forever. I read this book in 3 days and when I was not reading it I was thinking about it and what it must have been like to live during WWII and the Holocaust. I tried to picture myself walking in Irene's shoes or being one of the Jews that was sent to a camp or being a German who had Jewish neighbors. How would I have handled it all? How would I have acted? Would I have been brave and stong like Irene or would I have been scrared and looked away? I highly recommend this book. It is a wonderful and good story of a beautiful, stong and caring person & I wish I could have known Irene.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    In My Hands  is the  memoir by Irene Gut Opdyke. What I like the

    In My Hands  is the  memoir by Irene Gut Opdyke. What I like the about this memoir is the change in plotlines. First she’s a girl trying to become a nurse; then she is a rescuer of Jews. Next she a part of a partisan group then a housekeeper of a German officer. Another part of the story that I like is the excitement. At moments where she is almost caught hiding Jews or escaping a Soviet prison, it is constant excitement. But it did have its downside. The author went too much into detail about killings. The memoir is a great book, and I would strongly recommend others to read this book.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2014

    In my Hands is a book you can¿t put down! It¿s a type of book t

    In my Hands is a book you can’t put down! It’s a type of book that you won’t be able to stop reading after you have picked it up. It’s full of action, suspense, and can make you want to cry at some point. It’s a book where when you have to stop reading, you will question yourself about what happens next! When I picked up the book at first I thought it was kind of boring, since nothing was really happening, but I’m glad I kept reading! In my Hands is a real page turner!

    Through this intimate and compelling memoir, we are witness to the growth of a hero. Irene Gut was just a girl when the war began: seventeen, a Polish patriot, a student nurse, a good Catholic girl. As the war progressed, the soldiers of two countries stripped her of all she loved her family, her home, her innocence -- but the degradations only strengthened her will. She began to fight back. Irene was forced to work for the German Army, but her blond hair, her blue eyes, and her youth bought her the relatively safe job of waitress in an officers' dining room. She would use this Aryan mask as both a shield and a sword: She picked up snatches of conversation along with the Nazis' dirty dishes and passed the information to Jews in the ghetto. She raided the German Warenhaus for food and blankets. She smuggled people from the work camp into the forest. And, when she was made the housekeeper of a Nazi major, she successfully hid twelve Jews in the basement of his home until the Germans' defeat. This young woman was determined to deliver her friends from evil. It was as simple and as impossible as that.

    This is an outstanding and fascinating book to read! However, I would not recommend this book for anyone under the age of 14. Many horrible things happen to this young woman, and can be very descriptive on how it happened also. If you were to read this book, I think you need to be mature enough, to realize what horrible things had happened to her. My examples, when she was helping injured ones when a bomb went off, two Nazi soldiers came and brutally beaten and then raped her. Another example would be, Major Rugemor found out that she was hiding the Jews in his house, so he said he would keep the secret if she would become his mistress.

    This was a real page turner! If it were turned into a movie, it would be an edge of the seat type of movie! If you get a chance to read this, don’t miss a great opportunity!



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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    This woman deserves a oskar

    This woman was very brave for what she did, all that she did to keep the jews hid in the basement safe. This woman should have got a oskar

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Great read

    Would loved to have met Irene Gut.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2013

                   The book In My hands: Memories of a Holocaust Res

         
             The book In My hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer by Irene Gut is an inspirational book to many readers. This book takes place during the era of the Holocaust. Irene 
    is a 17 year old girl, and her country is split between two nations: Germany and Russia. Irene is now on the run for survival. in some 
    situations she can pass for a Russian with her blonde hair and blue eyes and in others, trouble is calling her name. Irene faced a lot of 
    situations in her book that make you thankful for our world today. Ms. Gut never gives up on her country or on her family throughout the 
    book. She struggles throughout the Holocaust trying to help Jews escape the wrath of Adolf Hitler, and there may be a couple of loops she has to jump through to get to the other side, but never does she quit , never does she stop hoping that one day things will be okay for her family and her country. Throughout this book there is a lot of suspense that builds up because you keep wondering what will happen next. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Wondeeful Wonderful!

    Very well written

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  • Posted December 31, 2012

    Beautiful story from outside of the concentration and death camp

    Beautiful story from outside of the concentration and death camps.  An inspiration to everyone - I can only hope that I would be as loving, brave, and selfless as Irene if push came to shove.  We should all hope to be like her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Such a sad story.

    I never read this book, but I met this woman's daughterand heard her mom's story!

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  • Posted September 12, 2012

    Inspiring!! Thats the word i use to describe this sensational bo

    Inspiring!! Thats the word i use to describe this sensational book. The story of Irene Gut Opdyke is amazing, a young polish girl in 1939 who has been training to be a nurse when at 16 has her country is invaded by russians and germans. She is then forced to work for the german army ( but defined them in every way). She works there for a while and then while working in the laundry room in the NAZI barracks, she began to save hundreds of lives by warning jews in the turnpool ghetto about raids and smugling food and supplies to jews hiding in the polish forest. She then becomes housekeeper in a german majors house and smuggles 12 jews into his basement secretly . After nearly a year of hiding them the major finds out and in the reward for silence he asks her to be his mistress. After months of this the germansbegin to loose ground and she helps the jews escape into the woods. When the Germans were driven from Poland, the Russians remained and Irene continued to help the people she could she joined a group of partisan saboteurs and soon found herself on the Russian Red Army's Most Wanted list. In an ironic way she was herself hidden by the same Jews she had hidden in the German Major's basement. At age 26 she goes to new york to begin a new life. 5 years later she sees a man she was interviewd by, WilliamOpdyke, who had interviewed her in a Jewish repatriation camp. Six weeks later they were married. it wasn't until years later when people started calling the holocaust a hoax that she felt the need to share her story.
    "You must understand that I did not become a resistance fighter, a smuggler of Jews, a defier of the SS and the Nazis all at once. One's first steps are always small: I had begun by hiding food under a fence."
    -- Irene Gut Opdyke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2012

    A thrilling and unique read that I loved every minute of. I had

    A thrilling and unique read that I loved every minute of. I had a very hard time putting this book down. This true story is about a young woman, Irene, who starts out as a nurse in Poland at the beginning of World War II. As the war progresses, she is separated from her family, and took to other countries to work in hospitals. Eventually she gets away from her nursing job, and gets a job as a waitress serving food to German officers. The dining hall is right across the street from the Ghetto, where hundreds of Jews are being held. Irene overhears the German officers’ conversations about the war, and what they are going to do with the Jews in the Ghetto. Irene’s mindset is completely opposite of keeping herself safe and letting the Jews be killed. With bravery and perseverance, Irene figures out a way to hide seven Jews and keep them from being killed in the Ghetto. How she gets them out and where she hides them next is for you to find out by reading this book. I would strongly recommend this memoir because he suspense level is off the charts. Irene goes through several life threatening situations that most people don’t even go through once in their lifetime. This type of excitement is extremely fun and entertaining to read. I would also recommend this book because you can learn a ton about what life was like in Europe during World War II. You can also learn that sitting back and keeping yourself safe is the wrong thing to do. You need to go out, take chances, and try to change something. Irene Gut Opdyke single handedly changed the course of history by doing this. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I have a single dislike about this book. I enjoyed reading every page. I would strongly recommend this remarkable memoir to anyone. -Jordan Harnum

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  • Posted September 10, 2012

    It was heartbreaking yet perspective changing. The novel discuss

    It was heartbreaking yet perspective changing. The novel discusses Irene’s journey and experiences throughout and of the holocaust. She provides insight into how it affected her as a Polish native instead of a Jew and how it led to her hiding, protecting, and trying to save Jews. Major themes include suspense with her escapes, survival in many different places, love of people and wanting what’s best for them, and selflessness as she sacrificed her life to do the right thing by saving people and putting others first. All these themes contribute to major overall messages of what is right verses what is easy, and finding good among what seems to be all bad. The things I liked most were that the author, Irene, wasn’t afraid to provide vivid detail in tragic situations even though the recollections may have been difficult she wanted the reader to feel every amount of emotion possible. Also I liked how there was a happy ending and she didn’t leave any loose ends; she resolved and explained everything in the end. People should read this novel because it provides a closer look into someone’s perspective of what it was like to help Jews during the holocaust and being faced with the responsibility of having people’s lives in your hands.

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  • Posted September 9, 2012

    Great read about how Poland was during World War II! In My Hand

    Great read about how Poland was during World War II!

    In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer was one of the most eye opening books that I have read in a while. This story tells about a 17 year old Polish girl who survived World War II. She survived the war hearing about her country having no more military, getting abused by the Russians, running away from them only to get captured by the Germans who tried to work her to death and loss of a fiancé. All throughout her travels Irene helped people by giving first aid when they’re were sick, smuggling food to Jews in a ghetto or trying to save 12 Jews and keep them safe during the war. This book had many messages and themes that I noticed while reading this book. The two biggest are never give up and help people whenever you can. Throughout Irene’s story she never gave up and helped everyone who needed it. She proved that no matter who you are and where you live people need to help others for the sake of humanity and to do that you should never give up and continue fighting no matter how much you don’t want to! I liked how this book was written, as if the reader was there watching over Irene’s back; when she was doing the acts of smuggling food and people or just running away from the Russians who would hurt her. I felt the same feelings which Irene felt like the stress of keeping a deadly secret and the fear of getting caught. I didn’t like how there were no details of how Poland looked after the war and how the people felt. It left me with many questions of what happened after the war and how was Poland going to move on after what just happened to it and its people. I think this book should be read by everyone because it is such an eye opening book which tells about a different side of World War II which many people don’t really know about. In addition it is written in a way that makes the reader feel like they are part of Irene’s story. I would also like to recommend Night by Elie Wiesel because it is another account of the Holocaust and about the people who were in it. Overall I would rate this book 5 out of 5 stars because this book was just mindboggling.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    In My Hands is an inspiring, brave, and haunting story of a youn

    In My Hands is an inspiring, brave, and haunting story of a young girl, Irene Gut, and her courageous actions during the Holocaust. The book goes throughout the course of the war and Irene leads a life separated from her family while the plot is constantly changing and thickening, sometimes better and sometimes worse. Irene is constantly helping people, especially the Jews wherever she goes. She does anything from hiding small amounts of food in a box and sliding it under a fence all the way up to hiding 12 Jews in the house of a German general. The entire book demonstrates selfless acts and extreme courage in doing what’s right. At one point Irene states that she would rather die for a sheep instead of a lamb, everything she does is to impact more and do the most she can. The main message of her life is clearly to help people and help them as much as possible. It displays such great characteristics and in such a grabbing story. It gets started with action and suspension very quickly in the book and is packed with it for the most part. There is constant feel of excitement and terror with every action she does which makes the book impossible to put down. The only time the book lacks in this is toward the end, after the war has ended. There is a major shift in the book in the tone and mood. There is a feeling of rushing through events without detail and almost trying to finish it off as quickly as possible. I lost a lot of interest in the book at this point because of the tone and blur throughout the events leading to the end. But overall, this is an inspirational and incredible life to hear about and i adored it. I would suggest this book to anybody and everybody whether they are interested in the Holocaust or not. It was a truly life changing and memorable book which causes you to really appreciate the country you live in now.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Inspirational & Heartfelt! Inspirational and heartfelt are

    Inspirational & Heartfelt!

    Inspirational and heartfelt are two words I would use to describe In My Hands. In My Hands is a great read for anybody willing to listen to Irene’s touching and inspirational story. Irene Gut was just 17 when WWII started. She took pride in her country, Poland, and morals of her church. Irene rescued many lives of those who were Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Despite what ever was going on in her life she put others first and always did whatever she could to help them. She was faced with many hardships and terrors that she persevered through, for this I admire her greatly. The book really shows a perspective of a passionate and hardworking young woman, willing to put her own life I jeopardy for those of others. One reason I really liked this novel, is not just the historical context of it but the emotion and passion she put into telling her story. I really enjoyed that she wears many masks throughout this novel, all showing courage, bravery, passion, dedication and heroism. I would recommend this book for teens and adults, just because of some of the maturity and language. The only thing I disliked about this book was the slow start, but once you got into a little more it was phenomenal. I would definitely recommend In My Hands to a friend or anybody, because its overall message is just wonderful. It really gets you to think about, if you were in her place, would you do the same. It also allows you to be very appreciative of your life and your country.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    This book was a sensational read, I am not too fond of reading

    This book was a sensational read, I am not too fond of reading but this book pulled me in and i was interested from the first to last page. The story line is extremely eventful and is played out miraculously! Irene Gut (The main character) goes through the most tragic time of her life during the Holocaust. The author and Irene teach you that not only Jews were affected by Hitler. That time was tremendously painful for many innocent, helpless families and Irene’s story shows you how her family made it through the years and fought without giving up. I really liked how the book was planned out, the events made sense and having one of the Authors be who the story is about, really helps because it is her own words. There is nothing I can think of that I didn’t like this book. The message In My Hands sent me was that The Holocaust and other wars/tragedies like that are extremely devastating and make me a lot more thankful for my life. This book also taught me that all kinds of religions were affected n the Holocaust. Again, it was very eye opening and interesting to read. Because I am Jewish and my family is from Poland, it was very easy to relate to this book. I really feel for Irene and her family and because of this book I feel even more aware and thankful of what I have in my life and the religion I am blessed with. People of all ages should read this book because of how eye opening and interesting it is. It would touch anyone’s heart and really show you how awful the Holocaust really was. My overall rating of this book is definitely 5 stars. It kept me interested the whole time, it never had a dull moment. This book made me feel a lot more connected to my religion and really made me feel for the poor people effected by the Holocaust. I would seriously consider reading In My Hands.

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