Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I picked up the book - not sure why - and could not put it down. From the cover you figure that it's a novel - a fictional one - so why bother? Maybe it was recommended by someone else in the house who had read it, I cannot remember now. But from the beginning this book is a tear-jerker, I tell ya. From the moment you pick it up you're engrossed in the story, in the tragedy that was the life of this girl, her mother and her family. There is one surprising aspect to the book, and that is that names are used - real names - when it comes to very delicate situations, which surprised me. In short, the story is like this: A young woman loses her husband. Her three children leave their "backwards" city in Transcarpathia/Marmures and leave their Yiddishkeit behind as well. She remarries, but her husband is drafted and gets TB while in the army. He dies and leaves her with a 6-month old child, but not before he makes her promise that she'll never abandon her child. Ever. The poor woman gets a job picking grapes in Hungary - menial labor, to say the least - for a Yiddishe Frau.
While working she gets a splinter, and ignores it. Soon enough the pain is too much to bear and she needs to be rushed to a Hospital in Budapest, Selish/ Nagyszollos/Sevlus doesn't have what it takes to do the job. Before she knows it her arm is (oyf kayn shum Yid gedacht) amputated in a very crude way, and she's almost helpless. Relatives of her husband convince her to leave the child with her so that she can recuperate without the child being a burden for her. And if it's at all possible - there starts her real trouble. Read all about the bravery, persistence, trust and strength of a woman on a mission to retrieve her child, as well as the child's amazing story of survival during WW2, when she manages to elude the Nazi murderers at the last moment and live out the war in hiding - in a very unusual way. The memoirs were only published posthumously for that reason. I'll let you guys in on a little secret: I cried often in this book. You cry for the mother, for the young heroine, and for the those that were rounded up and gassed, HY"D. And maybe most of all, you cry when she gets to the Holy Land after ww2 and meets up with family that was lucky enough to get out before it all was destroyed. I'd tell you more, but then you wouldn't read it on your own... Get this book!