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A testament to all the children who lost their lives in the Holocaust and to the author's own lost childhood
on 13 July 2010
A gripping yet extremely harrowing true life story both heartbreaking and uplifting about Krystyna Chiger's life in hiding from the Nazis and Ukrainian anti-Semites, during the Holocaust. Chiger talks of her experiences before the war, of the Soviet occupation and oppression of her family in Lvov, and how the family lost their possessions at this time, followed by the even more diabolical rule of the Nazis. Chiger was 4 years old when Poland was divided between the Nazis and Soviets and 6 when the Nazis seized her home town of Lvov. From then on the Jews of Lvov were hounded and massacred. The author relates witnessing the mass murders of Jews by Ukrainian mobs and the sadistic reign of terror of the evil Jew-killer SS Obersturmfuhrer Joseph Gryzmek, the Nazi cruelty and Krystina witnessing her grandmother and little four year cousin Inka being brutally forced onto the Nazi trucks to take them to their deaths. She relates how her father Ignacy Chiger demonstrated a genius for survival and outwitted Gryzmek. The family narrowly escaped the Nazi roundup of the Jews of Lvov, and after the 150 000 Jews of Lvov were killed or transported Krystina and her family together with a handful of other Jews escaped into the fetid sewers where they lived in the hellish conditions of darkness and very little space, together with the stink, disease, worms and rats.
The family and other Jewish were helped to survive by a Polish Catholic sewer inspector and former thief Leopold Socha, without whom they would certainly have perished.
Chiger relates how she and her four year old brother Pawel managed to survive 14 months in this unimaginable existence in a harrowing and fascinating real life story of death, suffering and ultimately survival. One of the best Holocaust childhood memoirs you will read.
The author explains how it is a testament to all the children who lost their lives in the Holocaust and to her own lost childhood.
she also relates the family's resettlement in Israel after the war where there were so many holocaust survivors whose experiences remained unspoken.
amazingly descriptive, poignant and penetrating.