Gift Guide

Sala's Gift: My Mother's Holocaust Story [NOOK Book]


"Do you know why I write so much? Because as long as you read, we are together."
-- Raizel Garncarz (Sala's sister),
April 24, 1941

Few family secrets have the power both to transform lives and to fill in crucial gaps in world history. But then, few families have a mother and a daughter quite like Sala and Ann Kirschner. For nearly fifty years, Sala kept a secret: She had ...
See more details below
Sala's Gift: My Mother's Holocaust Story

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • 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)
$11.66 price


"Do you know why I write so much? Because as long as you read, we are together."
-- Raizel Garncarz (Sala's sister),
April 24, 1941

Few family secrets have the power both to transform lives and to fill in crucial gaps in world history. But then, few families have a mother and a daughter quite like Sala and Ann Kirschner. For nearly fifty years, Sala kept a secret: She had survived five years as a slave in seven different Nazi work camps. Living in America after the war, she kept from her children any hint of her epic, inhuman odyssey. She held on to more than 350 letters, photographs, and a diary without ever mentioning them. Only in 1991, on the eve of heart surgery, did she suddenly present them to Ann and offer to answer any questions her daughter wished to ask. It was a life-changing moment for her scholar, writer, and entrepreneur daughter.

We know surprisingly little about the vast network of Nazi labor camps, where imprisoned Jews built railroads and highways, churned out munitions and materiel, and otherwise supported the limitless needs of the Nazi war machine. This book gives us an insider's account: Conditions were brutal. Death rates were high. As the war dragged on and the Nazis retreated, inmates were force-marched across hundreds of miles, or packed into cattle cars for grim journeys from one camp to another. When Sala first reported to a camp in Geppersdorf, Poland, at the age of sixteen, she thought it would be for six weeks. Five years later, she was still at a labor camp and only she and two of her sisters remained alive of an extended family of fifty. In the first years of the conflict, Sala was aided by her close friend Ala Gertner, who would later lead an uprising at Auschwitz and be executed just weeks before the liberation of that camp. Sala was also helped by other key friends. Yet above all, she survived thanks to the slender threads of support expressed in the letters of her friends and family. She kept them at great personal risk, and it is astonishing that she was able to receive as many as she did. With their heartwrenching expressions of longing, love, and hope, they offer a testament to the human spirit, an indomitable impulse even in the face of monstrosity.

Sala's Gift is a rare book, a gift from Ann to her mother, and a great gift from both women to the world.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This moving account illuminates a little-known aspect of the Holocaust: Organization Schmelt, in which Jewish leaders supplied slave labor to the Germans for the war effort. In 1940, 16-year-old Sala Garncarz, a young Polish Jew (and the author's mother), went to work in a Schmelt labor camp in place of her frail older sister, Raizel, who had been ordered there for six weeks by the local Jewish Council. But six weeks stretched into five years. Sala worked at seven German, Polish and Czech camps until she was liberated by Russian soldiers. In 1999 Sala shared with the author the box of letters that she had written and received during this period . Sala survived by her wits and the protection of Ala Gertner, an older woman who was later hanged for participating in an uprising at Auschwitz. Sala's correspondence with Ala after the latter left the work camp, and the letters she exchanged with Raizel and other family members and friends are heartrending testimony to the extreme suffering of Polish Jews. After the war, Sala married an American soldier and immigrated to the U.S. Kirschner, president of a management consulting company, has skillfully crafted her mother's documents, interspersed with a powerful and informed narrative. 16 pages of photos. (Nov. 7) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Restrained, well-handled chronicle, told primarily through letters among family members, of the five years spent by the author's mother in Nazi labor camps. Sala Garncarz married an American GI at the end of the war and never spoke to her children about her experiences. In 1991, at age 67 and headed for triple-bypass surgery, she handed a box of letters to her daughter. Kirschner, a New York management consultant, translated them and unraveled a terrible saga. Sala was the youngest of 11 children in Sosnowiec, Poland, which before the war enjoyed a thriving Jewish culture much like that of L-dz and nearby Bedzin. At 16, she was rebellious and determined to take her older sister Raizel's place when the occupying Nazis selected young people from poor homes to work in the growing labor camps. Her "job" was supposed to last for six weeks, but she was instead shuttled for five years among seven camps, part of the slave-labor network that sustained the Nazis' wartime manufacturing and construction. Part of Sala's amazing ability to survive was no doubt due to her skill at sewing; she became a seamstress and laundress for the German officers, chosen and accepted as "one clean Jew." She was also a leader among her peers, attractive and well-liked. Early on, she formed a protective friendship with an older woman named Ala Gertner, and relationships with various men helped her secure favored treatment. Unlike concentration camps such as Auschwitz (where most of her family perished after the roundup at Sosnowiec on Aug. 12, 1942), labor camps permitted inmates to send and receive letters, which were jealously hoarded as frail ties to family and truth. Kirschner allows her mother's poignant story toemerge from these heartbreaking missives, filling in the gaps with a dignified, quietly eloquent connecting narrative. A cold-eyed look at one woman's incredible journey through hell and back. Agent: Philippa Brophy/Sterling Lord Literistic Inc.
From the Publisher
"Sala's Gift is truly a gift. Meticulously researched and respectfully presented, Sala's Gift is a singular work, carefully crafted. It extends our understanding of Jewish women and the manner in which they struggled for survival — and for flickers of light amidst the darkness."

— Michael Berenbaum, Founding Director, United States Holocaust Museum, and Professor of Theology, University of Judaism

"This is a truly remarkable book, one from which both the general reader and the most experienced scholar will learn what can be learned in no other way. I read books on the Holocaust for a living, and I have rarely read one so economical in its prose, so elegant in its presentation, and so human in its narrative frame. It has uncommon power and deep effect."
— Douglas Greenberg, Executive Director, USC Shoah Foundation

"An intimate family memoir — at once vivid testimony and moving narrative — that opens up the larger horrors of the Nazi labor camps. Ann Kirschner has honored her remarkable mother by passing Sala's gift on to all of us."

— Joseph Kanon, author of The Good German

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416542582
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 11/7/2006
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 187,057
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Ann Kirschner is University Dean of Macaulay Honors College at the City University of New York. She began her career as a lecturer in Victorian literature at Princeton University, where she had earned a Ph.D. in English. A writer and contributor to a variety of newspapers and other publications, she has built a career as an entrepreneur in media and technology. She lives with her family in New York City, a short drive from her mother's home.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Introduction: Before She Was My Mother

My mother had a secret.

I knew that Sala Garncarz was born in Poland, the youngest of eleven children, and that she had survived a Nazi camp. I knew the names of my grandparents. I had one living aunt, but I didn't know anything about the rest of our once large family, not even their names.

In rare moments of retrospection, my mother would tell us about her arrival in the United States as the war bride of a handsome American soldier, ready to build a new life. I liked hearing her tale, especially since my brothers and I had starring roles. But even as a child, I was unconvinced. My mother was substituting a happy ending for an untold story. So fast, so complete a transformation from Sala, the survivor, to Sala, the happy American housewife and mother, seemed impossible. It was as if she had been snatched by extraterrestrials in 1939, and set down in New York in 1946.

Where did the old Sala go? What happened in the camp? Why didn't she have a number tattooed on her arm?

I had no one to ask. I never broached the subject with my brothers or my father. My mother's silence seemed to swallow up questions before they could be spoken aloud. When someone else -- a new friend, a careless relative -- wandered into the forbidden territory of Sala's years during the war, she turned her face away as if she had been slapped. Not all survivors refused to speak, I knew, and not all children were eager to listen. I had friends whose parents wouldn't stop talking about the past. Enough already, my friends would say, we're tired of playing Anne Frank.

I studied the faces in the old black-and-white photographs that stood like silent sentinels on her dresser. My favorite was a striking portrait of young Sala in profile, gazing intently at an older woman: "My friend Ala Gertner," my mother told me. She offered no details. Where did they meet? What happened to Ala Gertner? Sala, with her thick, glossy hair pulled back from her face and cascading down her back, her sharp cheekbones catching the light, looked like an irresistible ingÉnue from my favorite old movies with Katherine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Moira Shearer, Irene Dunne. Ala was not nearly as pretty, but there was something bold and sophisticated in the tilt of her hat and something hypnotic in the way her eyes locked with my mother's.

Of course, despite her best efforts, Sala could never build an impermeable wall between our present and her past. The fog seeped in. During the televised trials of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, she sat and watched for hours, chain smoking, stony and silent. She read every Holocaust book, watched every Holocaust movie, observed every Holocaust anniversary, but silently, privately, as if I wasn't watching.

I thought she might yield when I became a mother. Let's give it a try, I decided, when my children were old enough to ask questions. My daughter was preparing a school project on family history and wanted to interview both of her grandparents. The setting was auspicious: we sat comfortably in my parents' living room, the dishes washed and put away, the sofa cushions straightened, the toys back in the closet. My father was entirely cooperative, his memories of New York in the '30s charming and evocative. When it was Sala's turn, she began to fidget, to squirm, unable to find a comfortable position. She threw out a few innocuous anecdotes, about the rag doll that was her only toy, about her circle of friends, their school uniforms. I had heard these all before. But then her discomfort became acute; her always troublesome arthritis and back pain interrupted her, she had to stand up, she had to walk around, and the tentative, sputtering flow of memory dribbled to a halt. She kept her secrets.

All that ended in 1991 on a day that would change her forever in my eyes, a day that was to change my life as well.

Sala was about to be admitted into the hospital and she was spending her last weekend with my family. New symptoms had become acute while she was traveling in Israel. Suddenly, the hills of Jerusalem were too steep for her to climb. She returned to New York and learned that she needed triple-bypass surgery.

She was sixty-seven years old, miserable in her first week of giving up smoking, and her hands looked empty without her usual cigarette. I could tell that she was getting ready to say goodbye. It was a beautiful summer day, we had just finished lunch, and I was sitting alone. She came outside to join me. In her hands, I saw a red cardboard box that had once contained my old "Spill and Spell" game.

She held it out to me and said, "You should have this."

Her jewelry, I thought.

Instead, I found within the box a small, worn brown leather portfolio about the size of a paperback book. Within the portfolio were hundreds of letters, postcards, and scraps of papers, some written in barely legible, tiny, cramped handwriting, others in beautiful italic script, some dashed off in blunt pencil scrawls on scraps of ragged paper, all neatly tucked away. "These are my letters from camp," she said. She spread them before me. Postcards and letters and photographs covered the table, the smell of old paper escaping into the summer air.

"What do you want to know?" my mother said.

And so I began to ask.

Questions spilled out randomly. Where had she been? Who had written the letters? How had she managed to save them? Where were these people now? My mother answered as best she could, her voice wound tightly around names and places long unspoken.

She was soon tired. Together, we returned the letters to the box that had held them for so long -- but now the box was mine.

My mother's letters didn't just fill in a blank spot on the map of her past. They brought her to life -- my mother as a young girl -- and they also led our family out of the shadows, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who were killed during the war.

The letters were written by more than eighty different people. They told the story of a family, a city, and an elaborate system of slavery organized by government and embraced by businesses. Only the first few postcards were written in Polish; the rest of the correspondence was in German, with a sprinkling in Czech and Yiddish. Some markings seemed obvious, like the "Z" stamp that indicated review by a censor (zensiert in German), but others took more study to yield their secrets. There were dozens of charming hand-drawn birthday cards, some with poems and quaint printed illustrations of flowers and children. I commissioned English translations. I was impatient; the arrival of each translation was as thrilling as if the letters had been written yesterday, and to me. I found letters from Ala Gertner, whose writing proved to be as distinctive as her photograph. There were love letters that had been smuggled to my mother by a suitor named Harry, whose existence had been entirely unknown to me. My Aunt Rose, still living in Brooklyn, became a different person. The faded photographs on my mother's dresser began to come alive.

My mother and I read the letters together. She needed the English versions almost as much as I did; at the end of the war, she had spoken and written German fluently, and had also added a smattering of Russian, and a bit of Czech to her two native languages, Polish and Yiddish. But she put away those languages in 1946. Her command of Polish and German had been extinguished to the point where she read only with great difficulty, her rusty translation skills clogged by emotions. As she pronounced the strange syllables in her familiar voice, it seemed like an odd trick of impersonation.

We talked and talked. She tolerated my questions and my tape recorder, offering up revelation after revelation as if the prohibition against sharing her memories had never existed. She was telling these stories for the first time and I was an eager listener.

What I had always imagined as my mother's relatively brief ordeal as a prisoner in one Nazi camp turned out to be almost five years in seven different labor camps.* She was one of about fifty thousand slaves, young and healthy Jewish men and women from western Poland. They were the valuable property of Organization Schmelt, an SS division that was set up soon after the Nazi invasion of Poland.

Hundreds of labor camps were created in the early years of the war, usually attached to construction projects or factories that belonged to German businesses. Conditions varied, but in Sala's camps, they wore whatever clothes they had brought from home. Unlike the prisoners of Auschwitz, these men and women were not tattooed with numbers. These Jews were meant to survive, at least to finish the day's work. They had been torn from their loved ones, they were hungry, they worked impossible hours under unimaginable conditions, they slept in overcrowded wooden barracks without heat or ventilation, and they lived in constant terror -- but the Nazis delivered their mail. Letters and packages were allowed, even encouraged, as if they were not prisoners but first-time campers away from home and the Nazis were eager to reassure anxious parents that all was well. By the summer of 1943, however, all the regular mail stopped.

Organization Schmelt is a minor footnote in history. Relatively little has been written about the partnership between Nazi bureaucrats, Jewish leaders, and German businessmen that spirited away tens of thousands of people from the Eastern Upper Silesian region of Poland. Few books even mention Albrecht Schmelt, the chief architect who lent his thick slap of a name to a rapidly expanding slave trade that made him a rich man. The very existence of labor camps where Jews received mail is hardly known, and their locations are all but forgotten -- except by those who were imprisoned there. This is not surprising: to write about these places, which were constructed on the outer circles of hell, not its very core, might have appeared to compromise the agonizing reality of Auschwitz. In the Schmelt camps, there were no gas chambers, no crematoria, and no legions of spectral Musselmen, the walking dead who were common in Auschwitz, where the average survival time was three months.

Because the conditions in the death camps were so much worse, a certain competitiveness sometimes creeps in, even among survivors. "Oh, your mother was in the labor camps," one survivor told me, waving her arms dismissively, just enough for me to glimpse the number tattooed on her forearm. I had been showing her some of the letters. "I was in Auschwitz," she declared. "We could never have had such letters in Auschwitz." She had remained at home in Hungary until the summer of 1944, and most of her family had survived. How long was she in Auschwitz, I asked. "Four days," she said, her tone flat.

Four days in Auschwitz...five years in seven different labor camps. My mother lost her parents, sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, cousins: at least forty members of her extended family. I do not want to compare. Some threshold of suffering defies measurement.

I prefer the raucous laughter that I heard on this subject from Sala and her friends. "My father was so rich, he sent me to camp for two years!" boasted Gucia, pounding the table and laughing over her coffee. "Ha!" Sala snorted in derision. "My father was much richer than your father -- he sent me to camp for five whole years!"

Sala's courage and daring were matched with the instincts of an archivist. For five years, she kept everything hidden from camp guards, risking severe punishment. By creating a documentary record of her ordeal, she was participating in a time-honored tradition of chronicling communal disasters, as ancient as the Bible. In ghettos and concentration camps throughout Europe, people were writing and preserving firsthand testimonies and other documents. Contests were held to encourage individual chronicles and diaries. "Brothers, write down everything you see and hear," the historian Simon Dubnow urged as he was leaving the ghetto at Riga. "Keep a record of it all!" In milk cans buried in the Warsaw ghetto, in containers deposited within the wretched earth of Auschwitz itself, archives were carefully hidden. In contrast to the many eyewitness testimonies taken after the war, these primary sources are not subject to the vagaries of memory. In most cases, they quickly outlived their creators.

Sala's letters are drops of time, spontaneous outpourings rendered with the shapelessness of real life, their emotions raw and unfiltered. They never touch on world events. Since it is impossible not to read them without thinking about their context, I have filled in some essential background in telling my mother's story. The forward march of the German army, the entry of the United States into the war, Italian collaboration and treachery, the battle for the Pacific -- none are mentioned by the correspondents, if indeed they were known to them at all. They had only limited insight into what was happening to them. It was a world of shadowy rumor and tentative prayer. Instead of focusing on external events, these private papers create an emotional history of the war, a complex fugue of fear, loneliness, and despair, always returning to the dominant theme of hope for tomorrow.

"Do you know why I write so much? Because as long as you read, we are together," her sister Raizel wrote. Their connection was alive in a piece of paper. Once the letters were in Sala's possession, she had to preserve them. Sala's letters were the individuals she loved, the friends and family who loved her. So she hid the letters during lineups, handed them to trusted friends, threw them under a building, even buried them under the ground. The preservation of these written words -- for which she could have easily been killed -- was directly and inextricably linked to saving her own life. I began to understand her logic: the risks she undertook to preserve the letters were nothing compared to the ultimate danger she would face without them, because she would have lost her motivation to live.

I heard many poignant stories from survivors about letters from home. My mother's friend Sara fell gravely ill with typhus after liberation, and entrusted her letters to someone she hardly knew, someone who promised to keep the papers safe while she was hospitalized. The doctors told Sara that in her delirium, she kept jumping up to search frantically under the bed for her letters. When she recovered, the person was gone, and so were her letters. Danke, a woman in her late seventies, looked like a young girl again, her eyes brimming with tears, as she told me about the old suitcase that was stolen by Russian soldiers after liberation. The suitcase held her letters from her mother and father, and the poetry she had written during the war. "What did they think I had there?" she wailed. Zusi, who lost her letters during a brutal camp inspection, could not believe the sight of her own handwriting on a 1944 birthday card to my mother: "How could your mother have done this?" she said in amazement. "How could you have these? See how smart, how brave your mother was!"

Ten years after the first discovery, in response to a heated family debate about whether we should keep the original letters or entrust them to a library, my father declared that he too had a box of letters: his wartime correspondence with his friends and family when he was serving in the Army. "And it is bigger than Bubbe's," he boasted.

The box was indeed bigger. It included my father's energetic and optimistic reports to his brothers and sister, letters to his Army buddies, even the mischievous telegram that he sent to my grandmother about his wedding plans. As I set about the task of cataloging these new documents, I found another fifty-six letters that had been written to my mother during the war. Twelve of them were from Ala Gertner.

There was also a singular treasure: my mother's diary from October 1940. Until then, I knew her young self only as she had been portrayed in the letters of her friends and family, and by her recollections. But now Sala stepped to center stage, recording the first few weeks of her five-year journey. I saw her at sixteen, staring at the strange scene through her luminous grey eyes, assessing her future with a sharp awareness of her need for something that she could hardly define.

Years afterward, I asked my mother what she expected that day when she gave me the letters. "Nothing in particular," she said. "I didn't want you to find them later. I wanted you to have the letters from me with my blessing. This way, I can tell you what I want, that whatever you do with them is OK, and this was my reason for giving them to you."

I take some comfort in knowing that I am not the first child to pursue the hidden truth behind a parent's painful memories; not the first who felt compelled to learn how the long shadow of the past shaped my own identity and beliefs. It has been a journey of self-discovery for both of us, although I am holding the pencil. The letters have taught us about mothers and daughters, about the power of friendship and laughter, and the persistence of life and love amid the most extraordinary circumstances.

Here, then, is my mother's story.

Copyright © 2006 by Ann Kirschner

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide

Sala's Gift

By Ann Kirschner

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you think Ann Kirschner effectively strung together her mother's vast collection of letters with the information she gleaned from Sala's diary, survivor interviews, and her own library research to create a cohesive narrative?
  2. Was there any particular correspondence in the text that moved you the most by? What different emotions did you experience as you encountered each new letter? What feelings or conclusions do you think Ann Kirschner hoped you would carry away from this book?
  3. While the Holocaust was a time of unimaginable horror and inhumanity, it was also a time in which incredible generosity, selflessness, and bravery were demonstrated under the most difficult of circumstances. Sala relied on a network of supporters, such as Ala, the group of protecting male prisoners at Geppersdorf that included Chaim Kaufman and Bernhard Holtz, the Pachta family, and of course her family and friends. In what particular way do you think each of these people helped Sala survive her time in the labor camps? Is there one person who you believe played the most significant role in her survival?
  4. Ala, Sala's most dear friend during the war, is unanimously praised throughout various letters in the book for her inspiring spirit and her unwavering, pragmatic resolve. Kirschner wonders what motivated her to join the resistance movement at Auschwitz [p. 243]. What is your take on Ala's decision to put herself in great danger? Did she die a noble death?
  5. Did it come as a surprise that Sala did not see her sisters in Sweden after they were liberated and hospitalized and instead remained in Ansbach with Sydney? Beyond her engagement to Sydney, what may have motivated Sala to move to America without seeing her sisters first, even after suffering through heartbreaking years of separation and fear that they may not have survived?
  6. After suffering the crushing defeat of discovering Sosnowiec emptied of any hint of her family's previous life there, it appeared Sala had happily left it behind forever. Were you surprised to discover that Sala was willing to return with her children to Kollataja Street and the sites where the labor and death camps had once stood? Do you think that Sala found what she was looking for during her return visit?
  7. Kirschner refers to the comparisons that she observed being made among survivors between the Nazi labor camps and the death camps, "Four days in Auschwitz...five years in seven different labor camps. My mother had lost her parents, sisters, brothers...I do not want to compare. Some threshold of suffering defies measurement." [p.6]. After reading the book, do you agree with this assessment? Do you think that Sala and the other labor camp survivors would agree?
  8. Discuss Sala's heroism. In what moments was she particularly courageous? Were there any instances when she displayed weakness? Was Raizel heroic?
  9. Before the postscript, Kirschner closes her narrative with a letter that Raizel wrote to her mother after they were both liberated. "One thing you should know, Sala, is that the acknowledgment of one's guilt can mitigate it, but only if one starts to reform oneself. Let us forgive each other everything, and together ask forgiveness for the sins we committed against our dear parents. All alone, all alone, in peace and quiet, and filled with our own thoughts, we must be satisfied by self-reproach and rectification through good deeds." [p. 260] What do you make of Raizel's words? In what ways was the relationship between Sala and Raizel affected by all of the events resulting from the Holocaust? Why do you think Kirschner picked this to be the last letter referenced in the book?
  10. Did surviving the Holocaust, affect religion or spirituality among the survivors in Sala's Gift? In what ways? What might you expect to happen to someone's faith after living through such an experience?
  11. What were your feelings about the Holocaust prior to reading Sala's Gift? Have they changed at all now, having read the book? If so, in what way? What account(s) had previously shaped your perception of this infamous moment in history?

Enhance Your Book Club Experience

  1. Search within the New York Public Library's website,, to view some of the letters preserved as The Sala Garncarz Kirschner Collection. You'll find several original letters and photographs, and discover information regarding where and if the exhibition is currently showing at any particular branch. If possible, travel with your group to view the collection, or simply view it together on the Internet.
  2. Do you have any correspondences from older relatives saved in a collection? Bring these, or anything that you have that may revealed something about a member of your family, to the meeting and discuss their importance to you.
  3. Read The Diary of Anne Frank as a companion text. How did her story differ from Sala's? In what ways are they the same?
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & 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 & 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 & 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 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


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & 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 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
Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2007

    A remarkable story, elegantly written. This is an entirely new chapter of holocaust history.

    This book is much more than a story of a teenage girl, her family and their suffering in labor camps. It is a story of strength and hope. Sala, against all odds, sequestered the letters sent to her by family & friends throughout the war. After bringing them with her to America and keeping them secret for a lifetime, she gave them to her daughter who has written this most moving book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2011

    Awesome reading...

    This was one of the first holocaust books I ever picked up years ago and since then have devoured hundreds upon hundreds. I'll read just about anything on the subject - fiction, academic, ya, etc. but my real love are memoirs. Sala's Gift is beautifully written and grabs the reader immediately. It's one of those rare books where the reader can forget they're reading - instead feeling like they're listening to the story right from the authors mouth.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 24, 2006


    I could not put this book down. The story is riveting and universal in everyway. It not only documents a time that must be remembered but is a catalyst for our own discoveries. I found myself asking the questions, 'What would I have done in Sala's situation?' and 'What are the important things that comprise a legacy to pass on from generation to generation?' Sala's story and its impact on her family is an unforgettable journey written in a marvelous style.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:


    I enjoyed reading this book. Sala is just a young girl living her life when her life and the world changes. In her letters she has the thoughts of an innocent young girl, the love she has for her family and friends is remarkable and admireable. I'm glad her daughter decided to write this book "thank you" I will pass this book on to friends.

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

    Posted July 30, 2012

    Opens my eyes

    I have not finished this story yet, but, it opens my eyes. That no matter how much hatred and vainity in this world you must not give up hope, that someday there shall be peace in the world we live in. I hope that some day i find that peace and forgive those who have hurt me and the ones that hurt those i care about the most. This book gives me strength.

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

    Posted April 8, 2012


    One of the very best Holocaust Survivor's stories that I have read. A must-read.

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

    Posted December 29, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 18 of 17 Customer Reviews

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