Thursday, July 15, 2010

Children of Terror, by Inge Auerbacher and Bozenna Urbanowicz Gilbride

Children of TerrorInge was a young Jewish girl growing up in Germany.  Bozenna was a young Roman Catholic girl living in Poland.  Born in the same year, the girls lived very different lives, but they share similarly harrowing experiences of the concentration camps during the Holocaust.  This book tells both their stories.

The book opened with Bozenna's story.  Often, people do not stop to think about the millions of non Jewish victims of the Holocaust, so I thought Bozenna's story was so important.  I loved that she talked about her family's customs.  Raised in a Polish Catholic family, I was really able to relate when she discussed their holiday celebrations, as they are the same ones in which my family partakes every year.  Hearing her story made me realize what many of my ancestors went through.  My grandmother's family lived in Poland when she was a child, and we do still have relatives there.  Bozenna's story was very personal to me.

Inge's story details all the horrors we have come to associate with the Holocaust, and all the crimes perpetrated against European Jews, but it is also told in a way that makes it tremendously personal and moving.  It makes me so sad to read these stories, but so happy that they survived.  Particularly moving was the part of the story where Inge discusses the hardships that they met in America, especially in terms of her health.  Again, I think people forget that when the Holocaust was over, the effects lived on.  Yet still, both these women survived, and were successful.

I absolutely love it when survivors use their stories to raise awareness and help others, which both Inge and Bozenna have done.  The book is realistic, but tells the stories delicately, so that they would be appropriate for middle school and young adult readers; to me this is a fantastic way to teach them about this less savory portion of history. As an adult reader, I was fully captivated by the story, so I am certain others who like historical books and memoirs will also have an appreciation of the book.  Read this book, so that we never forget.

A review copy of this book was provided courtesy of the authors.