Monday, July 13, 2015

Clara's War

Clara's War
Clara Kramer

Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival

Genre:  Memoir

Summary (from Goodreads): On 21 July 1942 the Nazis invaded Poland. In the small town of Zolkiew, life for Jewish 15-year-old Clara Kramer was never to be the same again. While those around her were either slaughtered or transported, Clara and her family hid perilously in a hand-dug cellar. Living above and protecting them were the Becks.

Mr Beck was a womaniser, a drunkard and a self-professed anti-Semite, yet he risked his life throughout the war to keep his charges safe. Nevertheless, life with Mr Beck was far from predictable. From the house catching fire, to Beck's affair with Clara's cousin, to the nightly SS drinking sessions in the room just above, Clara's War transports you into the dark, cramped bunker, and sits you next to the families as they hold their breath time and again.

Sixty years later, Clara Kramer has created a memoir that is lyrical, dramatic and heartbreakingly compelling. Despite the worst of circumstances, this is a story full of hope and survival, courage and love.

Review:  Oh, this book was heartrending!  Along the lines of Anne Frank, Diary of a Young Girl, this book recounts a teenage Jewish Polish girl's struggle to hide from the Nazis during World War II.  While Clara talks about the unbelievably terrible things that happen to all of her friends, family, neighbors, schoolmates and acquaintances, she also makes a point of talking about the strength, courage and hope that her family had, and the bravery of the family who hid them for almost two years.  There is plenty of tragedy in this book, but that message of courage is the one that really stuck with me at the end.  It is amazing how anyone survived the circumstances that her family did.

Rating: 5 stars

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