How would you feel if you found out your American grandfather, who spoke perfect English, had a successful business and lived in a modern house, was born in Poland and lived for a decade not knowing if his family had survived the holocaust?
Georgia Hunter was shocked to find that her whole Polish family (grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins) had survived the holocaust when 90% of Polish Jews were killed in the war.
My mother picked up this book in an airport and told me to read it once she was finished. I devoured this book! It took me about half way through to realize that this was a true story. I stayed up late trying to finish the book and see if this family survived.
The idea for this book germinated during a family reunion where several of the survivors were in attendance and the story of their families survival started coming out. It took Hunter several years to document all of the stories ranging from hike over the Austrian Alps—while pregnant; of a forbidden wedding in a blacked-out house; of false IDs and a last-ditch attempt to disguise a circumcision; of a daring breakout from a ghetto; of a harrowing escape from a killing field. Each story was a shocking revelation, each somehow as astounding as the last.
I was astounded at how each families journey through WWII was so diverse. There were so many horrific experiences described that it’s a miracle they all survived. With so few Holocaust survivors still living, it’s become imperative that their stories are documented for future generations to learn from. To my daughters WWII seems like ancient history when I tell them stories of their grandfather fighting in the Pacific theater. This was one of my favorite books in 2019 and I’ve recommended it over and over for it’s beautiful and heartbreaking story.