Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Review: Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
In the Lodz ghetto of Poland, thousands of Jewish people were forced to live in an already burgeoning area. Of all the people sent there only 800 adults and 12 children survived.
Author Jennifer Roy, who wrote the book, Yellow Star, tells life in the Lodz ghetto in first person narrative. Her aunt, Syvia Perlmutter (Rozines) now know as Sylvia was one of the 12 children to survive. She was 10 years old when the Russians liberated the area. This is her story told through her eyes as a young child.
The book begins all chapters with a bit of history timeline for the area. The first chapters open the book as Syvia is just 4 year old and must move from their home to the Lodz ghetto. She speaks about her older sister, Dora and her parents. She adores all of them as they do her.
The story moves along with each year of Syvia getting older and each year a hardship on her family. Syvia is too young to work and often is left alone or in hiding so as not to be captured and shipped off by the Nazi's.
She speaks of people missing including her best friends to never return. She laments about her favorite doll being 'misplaced' knowing full well that the doll was sold in order for her family to eat. She never complains.
In more than a harrowing time, she is forced to hide with her father in a dug out ditch in a graveyard to save herself from being killed. Another time, she is hidden in a cellar, right under the noses of the Nazi's, with the 11 other remaining children in the ghetto, which includes her baby cousin. There she faces illness and always near starvation.
At a mere one day shy of her 10th birthday, Syvia had a brave streak and managed to wake her father who in turn awakened the entire community in order to save them from a mass bombing that the allies had begun on the ghetto.
What saved them most? Their will to live, their tenacity and yes, believe it or not, their sewn yellow stars.
This book I read in two hours. I simply could not put it down. Syvia's story must be told!
It took her 50 years after the events to tell her niece, the author, her story but tell it she did.
I applaud Mrs. Rozines' bravery once again to tell her painful story. Without these stories of those who survived such an atrocity of history, their names and legends would never be remembered. Worse yet, the history would be long forgotten and it should not be.
This book well deserves the 5 stars I am giving it. In fact, it deserves much more. I encourage you to visit a Holocaust Museum in your area if there is one or if you are in the Washington DC area visit the National Holocaust Museum. You might even find Sylvia Rozine there.
Disclosure: I downloaded a free copy of this book on my Kindle. The views expressed here are 100% my own.
Where to find the author:
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