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Real life Holocaust story that reads like a classic novel
on 20 July 2010
Ram Oren is one of Israel's most popular authors' and indeed one of the most talented authors of the 21st century. This book is remarkable in that is non-fiction but reads like a brilliant novel. Begins with the story of the wealthy Stolowitzky family, who lose everything they own in Poland and flee to Lithuania after the Nazis and Soviets divide Poland between them in 1939.Michael Stolowitzky is only three when all this happens and his father travels to Paris to try to salvage the family business.
But Things get darker as the Nazis Einstatzgruppe sweep into Lithuania and begin the genocide of Jews there. The family disguise themselves and flee and Michael's mother suffers a fatal stroke. Michael's devoted Catholic nanny, Gertruda, promises Michael's dying mother she will always stay with the child and take him to Palestine when the war is over. Harrowing testimony of the mass murder of Jews in Eastern Europe by the Nazis, and the starvation that killed so many more innocents. The book follows on to how Michael is hidden in a Catholic orphanage and his identity hidden by a righteous Catholic Priest.
The real life story is paralleled by that of Karl Rink, who is married to a Jewess, Mira, but nonetheless out of desperation for the promising livelihood offered and patriotic fervour, agrees to join the SS. when his wife is murdered he sends their 24 year old daughter Elisheva to Palestine, out of danger from Nazi death machine, and she settles on a kibbutz in the Land of Israel.
Meanwhile Karl rink will be instrumental in saving the life of Gertruda and Michael.
Also focuses on the journey of the Exodus after World War, ruthlessly refused entrance to the Land of Israel by the British who force the ship back to Europe where many already traumatized Holocaust survivors are re-interned in Germany.
Others had been killed when British troops stormed the ships, determined that no Jew enter the Holy Land at any cost.
Beautifully written, harrowing and heartbreaking like all Holocaust memoirs, but thrilling and breathtaking at the same time as being soul-touching and revealing.Ultimately uplifting. If you read one holocaust memoir this must be the one.