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4.7 out of 5 stars27
4.7 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 21 April 2012
An amazing story, utterly gripping. Unbelievable to think what the Chiger family went through, they ( and the people that helped them) are truly heroes. Inspiring.
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on 7 October 2013
It is hard to imagine a more moving, vivid and well written account of Holocaust survival. The struggles above ground in a Polish ghetto merely set the scene for what follows, in the sewers, where a daily battle for survival is graphically conveyed. Amidst the dirt, the dark, the rats and the water, the personalities of the characters (both hiders and helpers) are beautifully conveyed. For all it's depressing realism, this is a hugely uplifting book. It deserves a wide audience.
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on 7 May 2016
A profoundly moving book. It is so important that as many people as possible read and understand the horrors of this period so that we never again repeat it. It makes me so sad to think that these atrocities occurred less than 100 years ago in Europe when we were supposed to be so civilised. The Jews have suffered so much - it breaks my heart. This story is SO inspiring. It actually made me happy to read it because it reminded me how very very fortunate I am. I am so blessed and must never take my life for granted.
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on 30 March 2014
It was a very good read.sad but not without heart.would recommend it as a good read especially if interested in wwii
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on 24 May 2013
I saw the film and was compelled to read the book too.... Anything to do with the holocaust interests me as I had family members who were killed in the concentration camps and all these true stories bring tears to my eyes but there are some good endings too. This is a fantastic book and I highly recommend it to everyone.
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on 5 April 2016
I watched a film based on this story, as films can often miss or omit parts of a story i was very interested in reading this book.I thought it excellent ,especially if you want more insight into how these people managed to survive such horrific conditions in the sewers.
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on 25 February 2015
I don't doubt that this book is a true account but it is hard to believe people could survive in the sewers, as they did. All rather horrifying really but it's book that should be on school reading lists. The human instinct to survive is amazing.
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on 7 September 2014
Having seen the film "In Darkness" I thought it would be interesting to read about the same experience through a child's eyes. Thought provoking and easy to read.
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on 1 October 2013
I ordered this book for my mum who was so moved by reading it that I borrowed it afterwards. It is emotional and informative at the same time. A very good read.
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