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on 1 January 2011
This book does more than tell the hard-to-believe story of one brave young woman's response to persecution by Stalin's Russians and the Nazis; it also describes the very great bravery shown by the Polish nation.

While Britain was allegedly standing alone, the Polish people never ceased fighting the Germans. Whilst Churchill braced Britain for the possibility of a war amongst its hedgerows, the Polish people fought such a war in reality and never, ever stopped.

Once I started reading this book, I could not put it down. It is easy to read and makes extraordinary human actions sound ordinary. The ease with which one comes to believe in the kindness, compassion and courage of ordinary citizens in the face of mortal danger, is a credit to the Polish people. How many British then, and particularly now, would risk their own lives to help a stranger? As a British citizen I feel humble that the Polish people faced so much, with such fortitude and gained so little from their actions. It feels good now to have them within the Eurean Economic Community. The Polish are a truly great nation.

J.R.Richardson.
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on 10 August 2017
Would recommend this to anyone wanting to learn more about this horrible time caused by Hitler. Such an interesting read that its shocking that its true
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on 26 June 2001
I have recently read this book and found it truly amazing. It is unbeliveable what this girl went through and only at the age of 17. It is a tale of what it really means to be a true hero. This girl put her own life at risk to save the lives of 11 Jewish people at a time when Jews were regarded as the enemy. But she stood by her belifs and all that was true and right, and refused to give them away to the evil that Hitlar had caused. And at a time when most people would have abandoned thier faith, she kept hers strong, believing that amist all this evil, there was still good people in the world. It makes your daily problems seem insignifficant compared to what she had to go though, and her courage and strengh makes you feel very humble. She is a remarkable woman proving what it really is to be a human being. This book is a small price to pay for the impact it will have on you for the rest of your life. This book is truly unforgettable.
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on 22 April 2001
This book will tell you the storey of a young girl of a strong catholic women who i beleive went to hell and back again. i know for a fact that i myself could never have had the strength to carry on helping these jews in such a situation. being raped once by a russian soldier must have been terrible enough but then to be given the option of being repeatidly forced to have sex or have you friends killed is just unbeleivable.i think that everyone should read this book and see, that even in the extreme evil of war there is a glimmer of hope for those in need, and Irene Gut Opdyke proved herself to be one of these glimmers of light to those twelve people who she hid. this book is one that i know i will re read and re read over and over again because, it has made a powerful impact on me.
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on 16 September 2017
An inspirational memoir of Irene Gut Opdyke's heroic experiences in her country (Poland) during WWII when it was occupied in turn by Germany and The Soviet Union. Brought to life by ghostwriter Jennifer Armstrong and narrated by Hope Davis.
@crushingcinders
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on 6 February 2001
Irene Gut, a patriotic Polish girl of 17, was training to be a nurse when the war broke out. Caught behind the advancing Russian lines, she is raped and left for dead. She is rescued by other soldiers and taken to a hospital where she works as a nurse and begins to recover. Again faced with sexual abuse, she is helped to flee, and gradually works her way back across the lines to her family in the German controlled region.
She takes up a position as waitress in a German officer's dining room, from where she first witnesses the suffering of the Jews. The dining room overlooks the ghetto.
Irene leaves food for the Jews in the ghetto by the fence: a crime punishable by death. Gradually she takes on bigger risks and eventually hides a number of Jews right under the nose of a Nazi major.
"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 began by hiding food under a fence"
The most amazing part about this story is that it is based on a real person's life.
I found it refreshing to hear a story of the Holocaust from the perspective of a Polish Gentile. I was somewhat troubled by the fact that the book was so enjoyable to read. Irene's actions are built up so carefully that as a reader one is encouraged to feel that one could act the same way. Given that so few were able to show such moral presence of mind, leads me to question whether we should experience such moments of triumph alongside such a truly remarkable woman.
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on 10 March 2001
This is THE most moving and awe inspiring book I have ever read. It tells of the hardship of thousands of ordinary people during the War years, but the main theme is the amazing courage of an individual woman - namely Irene Gut Opdyke - who saved the lives of many people, despite suffering many unspeakable traumas herself. I could not put this book down !
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on 24 March 2001
This book was truly amazing! I couldnt beleive one woman could go through all this and manage to survive. This is an excellent book from anyone ages 13-100, all ages would suit it! Read it and you will have to read it again.
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on 23 November 2001
This book is about a 17 year old girl who lives through the 2nd world war hiding and helping jews through the loss of her own family and various other incidents even though knowing she could die for it. I really admire her and do not beleive that under her circumstances would do the same thing. It was very moving and made me cry in some parts because of the bad luck that she comes across. You have to read this book because it gives you a totally realistic, moving point of view.
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VINE VOICEon 3 May 2009
I was a bit apprehensive about reading a book soley about the holocaust, that it would just be to sad but was amazed at how she managed such acts of humanity in amongst such tyranny. The story of Irene Opdyke is an incredible and deeply moving one, anyone interested in WWII and the Nazi atrocities this is a must read.
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