In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

( 166 )

Overview

Recounts the experiences of the author who, as a young Polish girl, hid and saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Recounts the experiences of the author who, as a young Polish girl, hid and saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Audiobook)
  • All (1) from $386.07   
  • New (1) from $386.07   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$386.07
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(5881)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand new book.

Ships from: Miamisburg, OH

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.

Overview

Recounts the experiences of the author who, as a young Polish girl, hid and saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Recounts the experiences of the author who, as a young Polish girl, hid and saved Jews during the Holocaust.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Few anti-Nazis could match the spunk of Irene Gut Opdyke. Not only did this spindly Polish teenager steel food for ghetto Jews from a German officers' club; she smuggled Jews out of work camps and, most daringly of all, hid a dozen fugitives in the home of Nazi major, for whom she worked as a housekeeper!
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Even among WWII memoirs--a genre studded with extraordinary stories--this autobiography looms large, a work of exceptional substance and style. Opdyke, born in 1922 to a Polish Catholic family, was a 17-year-old nursing student when Germany invaded her country in 1939. She spent a year tending to the ragtag remnants of a Polish military unit, hiding out in the forest with them; was captured and raped by Russians; was forced to work in a Russian military hospital; escaped and lived under a false identity in a village near Kiev; and was recaptured by the Russians. But her most remarkable adventures were still to come. Back in her homeland, she, like so many Poles, was made to serve the German army, and she eventually became a waitress in an officers' dining hall. She made good use of her position--risking her life, she helped Jews in the ghetto by passing along vital information, smuggling in food and helping them escape to the forest. When she was made the housekeeper of a German major, she used his villa to hide 12 Jews--and, at enormous personal cost, kept them safe throughout the war. In translating Opdyke's experiences to memoir see Children's Books, June 14, Armstrong and Opdyke demonstrate an almost uncanny power to place readers in the young Irene's shoes. Even as the authors handily distill the complexities of the military and political conditions of wartime Poland, they present Irene as simultaneously strong and vulnerable--a likable flesh-and-blood woman rather than a saint. Telling details, eloquent in their understatement, render Irene's shock at German atrocities and the gradually built foundation of her heroic resistance. Metaphors weave in and out, simultaneously providing a narrative structure and offering insight into Irene's experiences. Readers will be riveted--and no one can fail to be inspired by Opdyke's courage. Ages 10-up. Aug. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
Irene Gut, a student nurse, was living in Poland when the Nazis invaded. Later she became a Russian prisoner; still later she was a German prisoner. Even as she endured personal violence, she witnessed the Jewish population suffering their own horrors. For no reason that she could explain, she was compelled to help the Jews. She began by providing food surreptitiously. Soon she provided some Jews with a safe work environment. Eventually she hid 12 people in the basement of a German major's villa. As she moved around, she had one thought, to find her family; but it was not until many years after the war that she would accomplish this goal. As the war ended, it was all the souls she had helped who helped her. They fed her, hid her and helped her to move on with her life. This memoir offered another perspective on WW II. Irene performed heroic tasks without any thought of her own safety or well-being. She did it because she knew she had to or people would die. Her good deeds were repaid as those she had helped came back to help her later. Some pictures and two pronunciation guides as well as a historical note are included. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Random House, Anchor, 248p. map. 21cm. 98-54095., $12.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Robin S. Holab-Abelman; White Plains, NY , July 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 4)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-An amazing, courageous, uplifting autobiography (Knopf) about a brave teenager who was not afraid to get involved. Irene Gut Opdyke, Polish national, although homesick and separated from her own family, found herself in the right place during World War II to help at least 12 Jews survive the Nazi occupation. The author herself introduces the tape providing insight into her motivation. Her older voice contrasts nicely with the unaccented, talented, youthful film and Broadway actress, Hope Davis, who reads the first person memoir. Davis' expressive voice is gentle, effectively portraying Irene's personality. Although she relates emotional scenes, she remains detached so that the story can be told. The narration flows quickly and keeps listeners eagerly awaiting more. Davis expertly pronounces the many foreign names without hesitation. Opdyke's memoir is especially good for young people because she shows how one young person can make a significant difference. She recognizes that not all Germans were hateful. Although she refers to violence, there are very few graphic scenes. A wonderful addition to Holocaust collections.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Horn Book Magazine
Many wartime memories, including a brutal rape at the hands of the advancing Russian soldiers, haunt Polish teenager Irene Gutowna. But none more than the vision of a Jewish baby thrown into the air like a bird and shot. Irene's story-from happy eldest of four daughters to laborer in a German officer's mess hall to member of the Resistance-makes for gripping reading. Witness to the Germans' answer to the "Jewish problem," Irene begins to "not do nothing." She works, at first in small ways, against its evil; ultimately, she risks her own life by hiding twelve Jewish friends in the home of the Nazi major who employs her. Irene takes joy in the secret knowledge that, because of her, her town is not judenrein free of Jews as the Nazis proclaim. When the major discovers her betrayal, the reader's breath stops. Unfortunately, in an attempt to transform Irene's life into art, Jennifer Armstrong imposes upon it language whose beauty works against the horrific events she narrates, lessening rather than extending its force. Perhaps inspired by the fragment of the poem "Portrait of a Woman" by Wislawa Szmborska that serves as epigraph she "holds in her hands a sparrow with a broken wing", Armstrong creates bird and flight imagery that gives structure to a story whose truest understanding evades any meaning or structure. But despite the novelistic flourishes, the power of Irene's true story keeps the reader spellbound. The postscript that details, in words and photographs, the bittersweet histories of Irene and her Jewish "family" comes as a welcome relief.
Kirkus Reviews
Opdyke opens her story with her parents' first meeting in 1921, closes with a 1949 invitation to emigrate to the US, and in between straightforwardly, with restrained passion, lays out a strong tale of innocence burned away by repeated atrocity, of courage fueled by anger and opportunity. A teenaged student nurse separated from her Polish family, the narrator goes from caring for wounded to waiting tables in a German officers' mess and being a German major's housekeeper, but not before being sexually assaulted by Russian and German soldiers alike, arrested and interrogated, and witnessing systematic massacres and casual brutality. Unable to stand by, she contrives to shelter 12 Jews in the cellar of her employer's own villa, and helps them escape into the wild; in the war's closing months, she joins the Polish Resistance. Although there is evil in plenty here, Opdyke does not see all of her enemies as utter monsters, and with Armstrong seamlessly filling in the inevitable gaps in 50-year-old memories, she paints a coherent, compelling picture of her times, and of the moral necessity that compelled her to action. (b&w photos) (Biography. 13-15)
From the Publisher
“Few memoirs of the Holocaust tell in such vivid detail what it was like for a non-Jew to risk life day after day, year after year, to save the lives of people Hitler was bound to exterminate. No one reading In My Hands will ever forget the devotion to humanity this young Polish Catholic girl lived, and almost died, by.”–Milton Meltzer, author of Never to Forget: The Jews of the Holocaust
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807283431
  • Publisher: Listening Library, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/2004
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 4 Cassettes
  • Pages: 7
  • Age range: 14 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 7.34 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Irene Gut Opdyke was presented with the Israel Medal of Honor and a special commendation from the Vatican. She died in 2003.

Jennifer Armstrong is the author of many highly acclaimed books for young readers. She lives in Saratoga Springs, NY.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from In My Hands
Part Two: Finding Wings


I was awakened by gunfire and explosions. I sat bolt upright in bed, looking around in confusion. When I moved to the window and nudged aside the blackout curtain, I was greeted by the dull clap of detonation. Rokita's men were doing their work, the final Aktion in Ternopol. I could not keep the tears from coming. They spilled onto the front of my dress as I tied my apron around my waist.
——
Schulz was already in the kitchen when I arrived, wide-eyed and shaking. He handed me a cup of coffee and put one arm across my shoulders. "Irene, the pogrom will be over soon. You must compose yourself."
——
Through the window, we could see smoke billowing up beyond the roof of the factory, from the direction of the ghetto. Behind us, the door opened and the major came in, pale and sick-looking.
——
"Schulz, something for a hangover," he said, groping for a chair. He sat down, and with each explosion and burst of gunfire, his shoulders jerked. He was muttering to himself. "Stupid, stupid war."
——
In the dining room, the officers and secretaries were making their late appearance. Hardly anyone spoke, and when they did, it was with a sour, wincing irritableness. The entire German staff of HKP was hungover and in foul spirits. Beyond these walls, people were dying, but the officers and secretaries cared only that the noise hurt their heads, and that work would be hard enough today with disruptions from the SS. It was all I could do to serve those people breakfast, all the time knowing that my friends must be hearing the same terrible sounds I heard, andwondering about friends and relatives who had not escaped.
——
Finally, all the late arrivals had dragged themselves off to work. I was desperate to get to the major's suite and check on my friends. The moment the door shut behind the last straggler, I raced upstairs. The bathroom door was wide open, and I hurried inside, shutting it behind me. Just as I was about to open my mouth to speak, the door opened again.
——
I whirled around. A young SS trooper stood with his hand on the doorknob. He was turning pink with embarrassment at bursting in on me in the bathroom.
——
"Forgive me, Fraulein. I beg your pardon," he stammered.
——
My entire body had gone icy cold. "What are you doing here?"
——
"I — we have orders — " He pulled himself together before I did. "What are you doing here?"
——
"I'm Major R¸gemer's housekeeper, and I'm about to clean his suite. You are in the major's bedroom. Will you please excuse me?"
——
"Of course, Fraulein."
——
Looking quite sheepish, he turned and let himself out. Obviously, he did not expect to find any Jews hiding in the major's bathroom. If he had taken even a moment to look around, he would have spotted the vent. And he would have seen the shadowy form of Ida Haller, sitting cross-legged behind the screen.
——
I closed and locked the door, and drew a shaky breath.
——
"Irene!" Ida whispered. "You must turn us in. This is too dangerous for you."
——
"No! Just wait. I'll let you have a break when I know the SS are gone. Don't do anything until I get back!"
——
I fumbled open the lock and slipped out the door, refusing to argue with them for their lives. I hurried back to my duties, while the SS continued to search HKP. I was as conscious of their presence as a quail who knows a fox is nearby. My skin prickled with their movements around the hotel. By late morning, they had finished at the plant and gone away in their trucks, but detonations and gunfire from surrounding areas of Ternopol continued to break on the summer air all day.
——
As soon as the SS had left the factory complex, I had snuck upstairs to give my friends a chance to stretch their legs and use the toilet. Then I ordered them into the vent again, ignoring their pleas to stop endangering my own life for theirs. I told them it was impossible, what they were suggesting, and that I would not hear of it. I shoved the screen back in place and left them still arguing with me in urgent whispers.
——
After lunch, I went to the villa on foot. The tenants were just leaving as I arrived; they cursed me and called me a whore of the Germans. I stood silently aside to let them pass me; the lives of my friends were more important than my own wounded feelings. I prayed silently for them to hurry up, to leave, to turn the corner of the street and be gone, never to come back.
——
And then the house was mine. Perhaps the major thought it was to be his house, but I knew better. The house was mine, my treasure box, my sword, my henhouse. I turned around and around in the front hall, owning the moldings around the door frames, owning the chandelier over the staircase, owning the door to the basement.
——
I opened that door and went downstairs, taking the time to examine the space more thoroughly. As servants' quarters, the basement rooms were outfitted with everything necessary — two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a bathroom, closets. All the windows up by the ceiling, windows and ground level, were covered with dark cardboard for the Verdunklung, the blackouts. No one could see into the basement from the outside. No light would show. I felt a surge of elation as I went into the furnace room and opened the coal chute. For a moment, as I stood clapping coal dust from my hands, I had a picture of my friends sliding down the chute like children in a playground. I even pictured myself, like a proud mother, catching them in my arms and setting them safely on the ground, while a blue sky embraced us from above.
——
Then the sunny picture faded, and I was left with one more question: How was I going to get them out of the major's bathroom and out of HKP?


——
I would need a key. The street entrance of the hotel was not guarded, and was well out of sight of the guardhouse at the main gate. But the door was always locked at night, for fear of sabotage or murder by the locals, I suppose, or of unauthorized late-night rendezvous. All through dinner preparations I tried to think of ways to get the major's keys, trying out first one then another story to explain why I needed them. In the end, I decided simply to steal the keys.
——
Every one of staff was still suffering from the effects of their party the night before. The dining room was quiet during dinner. Voices were subdued, and barely a laugh rose above the sullen murmur. People tried to handle their forks and knives carefully to avoid clattering, and many officers and secretaries excused themselves early. There was little billiard playing or after-dinner drinking.
——
I went to the major's table, where he sat alone, nursing a glass of wine and looking down at his uneaten dinner.
——
"Can I get you anything, Herr Major?" I asked.
——
He looked up at me, his glasses catching the light in such a way as to obscure his eyes; he regarded me with a round, blank stare.
——
"I think perhaps I will take a glass of warm milk with me to bed, Irene. And I'll take something to help me sleep. This has been a terrible day."
——
I tried to keep the excitement out of my voice as I began clearing his dishes. "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that, Herr Major. I'll be happy to bring some milk to your room right away."
——
He pushed himself away from the table. "Good. And tomorrow I will send some men to paint inside the house. If you could just watch over them, see that they do the job properly . . ."
——
"Of course."
——
I practically hauled him to his feet and shoved him out of the dining room, so anxious was I to see him in bed and unconscious. At the bottom of the staircase I left him and ran to the kitchen to heat the milk, and in five minutes I was knocking on his door.
——
Major R¸gemer took the glass from the little tray and put a small white pill on his tongue. While he gulped down the milk I glanced at his dressing table. His keys were there.
——
——
"Sleep well, Herr Major," I said as he turned away.
——
"Hmm? What's that?"
——
I smiled and raised my voice. "Good night, Herr Major!"
——
        I left the door slightly ajar and hurried back downstairs. Now, for the second night in a row, I had to keep my vigil, waiting for the hotel to fall asleep. I sat on the edge of my bed, not daring to lie down while I waited, for in spite of my state of nervous anxiety, I was as weary as if I'd been juggling bricks all day. So I sat, staring out my open door into the hallway, listening to the sounds that came further and further apart. At last, the place was still. I kicked my shoes off and tiptoed up to the third floor.
——
        At the door to the major's bedroom I stopped to listen; from within came a labored snoring. I remembered the sensation of waiting in the wings offstage in high school, then taking a deep breath and walking out into the lights. There was the same fluttering in my stomach, the same twitch of muscles between my shoulder blades as I straightened my back. And so, I took a deep breath and went in.
——
The light from the hallway slanted in across the room and illuminated the dressing table. I gave a quick glance to the bed, which was in shadow. The major snored on. I closed my hand over the bulky set of keys to keep them from jingling, and then backed out, locking the door behind me. I don't know what I was thinking, for if the major had woken and tried to leave his room, he would have raised a commotion. But I could not have him walk into the bathroom until I'd gotten my friends.
——
They were stiff, cramped, and tired. One at a time they lowered themselves from the air duct and stood rubbing their aching muscles. Fanka swung her arms in circles to get the blood moving, and Steiner's back let out a crack as he stretched himself.
——
"Let's hurry," I said, opening the door to peek out. I waved them after me, and we went single file and down the staircase as fast as their stiff legs would allow. They stood behind me, watching anxiously, while I found the right key from the ring in my hands; then I had the street door open, and they were stepping out into the fresh night air.
——
"You know the address," I whispered. "Go through the coal chute on the left side of the house and wait for me in the basement. I'll be over first thing in the morning. Go! Stay in the shadows, and God bless you."
——
In a moment, they had disappeared into the darkness. I locked the door again, returned the keys to the major's room, and then threw myself onto my own bed, telling myself that they would make it. I did not allow myself to imagine otherwise.
——
Before I fell asleep, I felt a surge of triumph: Rokita thought Ternopol was judenrein tonight, that his Aktions had rid the city of Jews once and for all. But I had taken action myself. There were at least six Jews left in town. As long as I could help it, Ternopol would never be judenrein.
——
The instant I was able to get away after breakfast, I walked to the villa as quickly as I could — quickly enough to put a stitch in my side and to break a sweat in the heat. I unlocked the door and burst inside, dreading the sound of planters bumping ladders against the furniture. But it was silent. I was in
time — assuming that my friends were indeed waiting in the basement. The smell of cabbage and potatoes lingered in the air.
——
Almost fearing what I might find, I opened the basement door and clattered down the stairs, my shoes making a racket on the wooded steps. "Hoo-ee! It's Irene!" I called out.
——
The first room was empty. Trying not to worry, I opened the door to the furnace room, praying to find my six friends — and Henry Weinbaum. The door creaked as it swung open into the gloom, and I called out again.
——
"It's Irene!"
——
There was an almost audible sigh of relief. One by one, figures merged from the shadows: Ida, Lazar, Clara, Thomas, Fanka, Moses Steiner, and a young, handsome fellow I took to be Henry Weinbaum. I shook hands with them all silently, suddenly overcome with emotion. They were all there; they were safe and alive. And, to my surprise, I found three strangers, who greeted me with an odd mixture of sheepishness and defiance.
——
"I'm Joseph Weiss," the eldest of the three said. "And this is Marian Wilner and Alex Rosen. Henry told us."
——
For a moment I was at a loss. I had ten lives in my hands now! But there wasn't time for lengthy introductions. The soldiers from the plant were due any minute to start painting.
——
"Hurry, everyone," I said. "You'll have to stay in the attic until the house is painted. I'll check on you as often as I can. I don't need to tell you not to make any noise at all."
——
This was met with grim nods all around. Then we made our way upstairs. The attic was musty; dust swirled in a shaft of light from the high window, and the air smelled of mouse droppings. "Shoes off," I said. "Don't walk around unless you absolutely must."
——
I locked them in just as trucks ground to a halt out on the street.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Tears 1
Part 1 I Was Almost Fast Enough 3
Part 2 Finding Wings 69
Part 3 Where Could I Come to Rest? 207
Amber 235
Postscript 237
Polish: A Rough Guide to Pronunciation 239
German: A Rough Guide to Pronunciation 241
Some Historical Background 243
A Note on the Writing of This Book 247
Read More Show Less

Introduction

The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are intended to enhance your group's reading of In My Hands, written by Irene Gut Opdyke with Jennifer Armstrong. This awe-inspiring memoir of a young Polish girl who became a Holocaust rescuer—responsible for saving twelve Jews—portrays with stunning vividness the triumph of a real-life heroine over the grossest of human atrocities.

Read More Show Less

Foreword

1. In the first pages of the memoir we are introduced to the Black Madonna of Czestochowa at the shrine of Jasna Gora, and Irene recounts that she prayed to God to get her through particularly difficult or lonely times. What role does religion play in Irene's story? Does religion sustain her or fail her in her times of need? As she watches the last trucks full of Jews drive away from the Ternopol ghetto she says, "I tried to pray, but the words in my head did not fit together in the right order. I wanted to say 'Holy Father,' but I could not. I thought He must have gone far away, taking His name with Him" [p. 147]. Does her faith waiver at other times? How do the different clergymen that Irene encounters strengthen or weaken her resolve?

2. Irene's father assures Irene during their brief reunion by telling her, "God has plans for you. He did not let you die" [p. 74]. Yet later, Irene explains, "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" [p. 126]. And, finally, in her epilogue she tells us, "Yes, it was me, a girl, with nothing but my free will clutched in my hand like an amber bead. God gave me this free will for my treasure. I can say this now. I understand this now. The war was a series of choices made by many people" [p. 234]. Were Irene's actions predestined or the result of her free will? How is free will an important theme in understanding the Holocaust overall?

3. How much of Irene's success is based on sheer luck and how much on quick thinking? Forexample, she easily escapes the Russian commissar [p. 63], she finds the vent in the major's bathroom to hide the Jews before moving them to the major's villa [p. 150], and she escapes through the prison window in Krakow [p. 224].

4. From the first chapter when we meet Bociek, the stork that Irene and her sisters care for, different images of birds permeate Irene's memoir. References to birds or bird images appear at least seven more times in the memoir in different contexts [pp. 68, 80, 104, 133, 142, 215, 234]. How are these images symbolic of Irene? What else do the birds represent? What is the significance of the moments in Irene's story when bird imagery is used? How does the bird motif characterize the style Jennifer Armstrong uses in telling Irene's story?

5. Irene tells us, "Sometimes, when I thought of the amount of hatred dwelling in Poland, I was surprised to see that the grass was still green, that the trees still flourished their leaves against a blue sky. . . . The birds can hop from one branch to another, tipping their heads and honing their small beaks against the bark while a child dies in the mud below" [pp. 99<ETH>100]. How is nature portrayed in In My Hands? How does Irene perceive man's relationship with nature and the land during the war? How is the land of Poland simultaneously a force for man to reckon with, as in the cruel cold of Polish winters, and a symbol of hope, as in the flowers of Poland heralding the arrival of spring?

6. So many questions remain at the end of the memoir, and the pictorials raise questions about Irene's life after Poland: What was her courtship and marriage like? What were her sisters' lives like after the war? Did she ever communicate with Eduard R?gemer again? Why did her sisters and her Jewish friends decide to remain in Europe? Why does the author choose to end Irene's memoir where she does and leave these and other questions unanswered?

7. In significant passages, Irene recalls the manifestation of German anti-Semitism in Poland. She writes of her home town: And in some shops not many, but some there were signs saying, "Don't Buy from Jews!" or "A Poland Free from Jews Is a Free Poland." This mystified me. In my home, there had never been any distinction made between people. . . . We did not imagine where it would lead. How could we? To us, Germany had always been a seat of civilization, the home of poets and musicians, philosophers and scientists. We believed it was a rational, cultured country. How could we know that the Germans did not feel the same about us? How could we know the depth of their scorn for us? Despite our centuries of glorious achievements, despite our Chopins and our Copernicuses, our cathedrals and our heroes and our horses—despite all this, Germany viewed Poland as a land of Slavic brutes, fit only for labor. And so Hitler wanted to destroy us [pp. 17<ETH>18].

It was now impossible not to understand what Hitler's plans for the Jews were. . . . Janina and I would recall Jewish friends from our girlhood. . . . It seemed to us . . . that if our childhood friends could be considered enemies, what was to keep us from the same fate? Weren't we all the same? Hitler would finish the Jews, ghetto by ghetto, and then turn his full attention to the rest of us Poles [p. 98].

In both of these passages, Irene begins by discussing anti-Semitic acts and ends with fear of what such German behavior might mean to Poland and the Poles. From Irene's point of view, how did these anti-Semitic actions and sentiments differ from anti-Polish actions and sentiments?

8. Except for the incidental German women echoing the anti-Semitism of their Nazi soldier boyfriends, all of the perpetrators of evil in Irene's wartime experience are men. How are Irene's actions made possible by the fact that she is a woman? How might a man read her memoirs differently than a woman?

9. In Irene's memoirs she juxtaposes the major's decentness against Rokita's iciness [pp. 134<ETH>135]. Yet, after he elicits sex from her in exchange for protecting her secret she reflects, "I wondered how the major's honor would allow him to make such a bargain. I had always felt that behind the uniform was a decent man. I had never seen him do anything cruel or rash. . . ." [p. 191]. Is the major a sympathetic person? What are Irene's feelings toward Major R?gemer? Are the major's actions toward Irene"justified," or is Irene rationalizing? While Irene had clearly realized his feelings for her before this fateful moment and, more and more, had exploited them [pp. 113, 123, 142, 164], was the major's demand in fact inevitable?

10. Equally complex is Irene's opinion of the average German, as epitomized by Herr Schulz. On one hand, he is a "good, friendly man" and "had none of the ferocity and malevolence that [Irene] had come to expect of the Germans" [p. 88]. But she also admits, "As good and kind as he was, he was a German, and I could not reconcile those two things in my mind" [p. 93], and "He made hating the Germans a complex matter, when it should have been such a straightforward one" [p. 119]. Is Herr Schulz's behavior understandable? Excusable?

11. Is it possible that Dr. David and Dr. Miriam are Jewish, as their names would indicate? Was the "Rachel Meyer," whom Irene poses as in Kiev, supposed to be Jewish? If so, why would Irene not explicitly note this irony? After the war, when Irene is in the repatriation camp posing as a Jew, she notes twice, "I fooled myself that I belonged" [p. 231]. And, after three years, the village still "did not feel like home" [p. 232]. Why might Irene have felt this way?

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. In the first pages of the memoir we are introduced to the Black Madonna of Czestochowa at the shrine of Jasna Gora, and Irene recounts that she prayed to God to get her through particularly difficult or lonely times. What role does religion play in Irene's story? Does religion sustain her or fail her in her times of need? As she watches the last trucks full of Jews drive away from the Ternopol ghetto she says, "I tried to pray, but the words in my head did not fit together in the right order. I wanted to say 'Holy Father, ' but I could not. I thought He must have gone far away, taking His name with Him" [p. 147]. Does her faith waiver at other times? How do the different clergymen that Irene encounters strengthen or weaken her resolve?

2. Irene's father assures Irene during their brief reunion by telling her, "God has plans for you. He did not let you die" [p. 74]. Yet later, Irene explains, "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" [p. 126]. And, finally, in her epilogue she tells us, "Yes, it was me, a girl, with nothing but my free will clutched in my hand like an amber bead. God gave me this free will for my treasure. I can say this now. I understand this now. The war was a series of choices made by many people" [p. 234]. Were Irene's actions predestined or the result of her free will? How is free will an important theme in understanding the Holocaust overall?

3. How much of Irene's success is based on sheer luck and how much on quick thinking? For example,she easily escapes the Russian commissar [p. 63], she finds the vent in the major's bathroom to hide the Jews before moving them to the major's villa [p. 150], and she escapes through the prison window in Krakow [p. 224].

4. From the first chapter when we meet Bociek, the stork that Irene and her sisters care for, different images of birds permeate Irene's memoir. References to birds or bird images appear at least seven more times in the memoir in different contexts [pp. 68, 80, 104, 133, 142, 215, 234]. How are these images symbolic of Irene? What else do the birds represent? What is the significance of the moments in Irene's story when bird imagery is used? How does the bird motif characterize the style Jennifer Armstrong uses in telling Irene's story?

5. Irene tells us, "Sometimes, when I thought of the amount of hatred dwelling in Poland, I was surprised to see that the grass was still green, that the trees still flourished their leaves against a blue sky. . . . The birds can hop from one branch to another, tipping their heads and honing their small beaks against the bark while a child dies in the mud below" [pp. 99-100]. How is nature portrayed in In My Hands? How does Irene perceive man's relationship with nature and the land during the war? How is the land of Poland simultaneously a force for man to reckon with, as in the cruel cold of Polish winters, and a symbol of hope, as in the flowers of Poland heralding the arrival of spring?

6. So many questions remain at the end of the memoir, and the pictorials raise questions about Irene's life after Poland: What was her courtship and marriage like? What were her sisters' lives like after the war? Did she ever communicate with Eduard R? gemer again? Why did her sisters and her Jewish friends decide to remain in Europe? Why does the author choose to end Irene's memoir where she does and leave these and other questions unanswered?

7. In significant passages, Irene recalls the manifestation of German anti-Semitism in Poland. She writes of her home town: And in some shops not many, but some there were signs saying, "Don't Buy from Jews!" or "A Poland Free from Jews Is a Free Poland." This mystified me. In my home, there had never been any distinction made between people. . . . We did not imagine where it would lead. How could we? To us, Germany had always been a seat of civilization, the home of poets and musicians, philosophers and scientists. We believed it was a rational, cultured country. How could we know that the Germans did not feel the same about us? How could we know the depth of their scorn for us? Despite our centuries of glorious achievements, despite our Chopins and our Copernicuses, our cathedrals and our heroes and our horses--despite all this, Germany viewed Poland as a land of Slavic brutes, fit only for labor. And so Hitler wanted to destroy us [pp. 17-18].

It was now impossible not to understand what Hitler's plans for the Jews were. . . . Janina and I would recall Jewish friends from our girlhood. . . . It seemed to us . . . that if our childhood friends could be considered enemies, what was to keep us from the same fate? Weren't we all the same? Hitler would finish the Jews, ghetto by ghetto, and then turn his full attention to the rest of us Poles [p. 98].

In both of these passages, Irene begins by discussing anti-Semitic acts and ends with fear of what such German behavior might mean to Poland and the Poles. From Irene's point of view, how did these anti-Semitic actions and sentiments differ from anti-Polish actions and sentiments?

8. Except for the incidental German women echoing the anti-Semitism of their Nazi soldier boyfriends, all of the perpetrators of evil in Irene's wartime experience are men. How are Irene's actions made possible by the fact that she is a woman? How might a man read her memoirs differently than a woman?

9. In Irene's memoirs she juxtaposes the major's decentness against Rokita's iciness [pp. 134-135]. Yet, after he elicits sex from her in exchange for protecting her secret she reflects, "I wondered how the major's honor would allow him to make such a bargain. I had always felt that behind the uniform was a decent man. I had never seen him do anything cruel or rash. . . ." [p. 191]. Is the major a sympathetic person? What are Irene's feelings toward Major R? gemer? Are the major's actions toward Irene"justified, " or is Irene rationalizing? While Irene had clearly realized his feelings for her before this fateful moment and, more and more, had exploited them [pp. 113, 123, 142, 164], was the major's demand in fact inevitable?

10. Equally complex is Irene's opinion of the average German, as epitomized by Herr Schulz. On one hand, he is a "good, friendly man" and "had none of the ferocity and malevolence that [Irene] had come to expect of the Germans" [p. 88]. But she also admits, "As good and kind as he was, he was a German, and I could not reconcile those two things in my mind" [p. 93], and "He made hating the Germans a complex matter, when it should have been such a straightforward one" [p. 119]. Is Herr Schulz's behavior understandable? Excusable?

11. Is it possible that Dr. David and Dr. Miriam are Jewish, as their names would indicate? Was the "Rachel Meyer, " whom Irene poses as in Kiev, supposed to be Jewish? If so, why would Irene not explicitly note this irony? After the war, when Irene is in the repatriation camp posing as a Jew, she notes twice, "I fooled myself that I belonged" [p. 231]. And, after three years, the village still "did not feel like home" [p. 232]. Why might Irene have felt this way?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 166 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(120)

4 Star

(29)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2008

    Close and personal story

    I read this book when I begin to be interested in World War II and this close, personal story puts you there in the action. It is unforgivingly real and true to this woman's story and life. If you have read Anne Frank, you will want to read this more mature, yet heart-breakingly similiar memoir of life in the face of absolute hatred.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Not cool

    This book sucks

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2014

    Highly recommend

    Riveting in its detail. Amazing courage and endurance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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!



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    Great read

    Would loved to have met Irene Gut.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2013

    Wondeeful Wonderful!

    Very well written

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)