THROUGH THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH: A HOLOCAUST CHILDHOODby Gerda Bikales
What makes this book unique is that the author pulls the reader into the story. We get to know her parents and other/p>
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"This is a beautifully written, insightful chronicle of a young girl's Holocaust survival. Though very private and personal, it nevertheless captures the common torments of children living through this disastrous civilizational breakdown.
What makes this book unique is that the author pulls the reader into the story. We get to know her parents and other memorable characters for the kind of people they were. There is an immediacy in the writing that almost makes the reader a participant in the daily struggles to keep alive. We get an honest look at the relationships between men and women on the edge of annihilation and how children coped with these unusual alliances.
This emotionally powerful yet intellectually lucid work stands out within the Holocaust literature. Students and others will greatly benefit as the author guides the reader, setting forth the political and historical context in which the action unfolds."-Stefanie Seltzer, President of the World Federation of Jewish Child Survivors of the Holocaust
"The story of the relentless hunt of a Jewish child in Nazi Europe haunts the reader long after the last page has been turned This gripping memoir illuminates the fearsome experiences of a Holocaust child survivor with the intelligence and wisdom of an adult's retrospection."-Henryk Grynberg, Author of The Jewish Wars and The Victory, Children of Zion, and Drohobycz, Drohobycz: True Tales from the Holocaust and Life After.
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Gerda Bikales' story of her Jewish childhood in hiding in Hitler's Europe is told with a novelist's feel for scene and character - and terror. It is also authentic. There are no tortures or eyewitness murders to harrow those with little stomach for atrocities. Rather this is a profoundly moving story of the WWII through the half-comprehending eyes of child, a girl aged eight to 12, on the run for her life. Occasionally she grabs snatches of education in different countries and different languages but mostly she lives in hiding, afraid and observing with extraordinary sensitivity. Unlike many stories of this kind this one has a happy ending. If you are used to thinking about political events as semi-abstract movements and isms this book will provide a different perspective.
Being the same age as the author and also having survived the Holocaust I was particularly interested in this book. What the author describes probably did happen to her but there was a lack of authenticity to the telling of her story.