Wednesday, February 16, 2011

:BOOKSHELF: The Girl in the Green Sweater by Krystyna Chiger

The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow
When we think of the Holocaust, we generally think concentration camps and senseless killing. However, we might too easily forget that even those that managed to slip through the Nazis fingers and avoided the atrocities of the camps had still other kinds of atrocities to endure before their suffering would end.

In The Girl in the Green Sweater, author Krystyna Chiger recounts the story of how her immediate family (including her father, mother, and younger brother) survived the Nazi occupation.

Chiger belonged to a rather prominent Jewish family. Her parents and grandparents owed their own businesses that did quite well. Her father was well-educated. Chiger remembers thinking she must be a princess...she wanted for nothing.

Then came the Russians...then the Nazis. Their position deteriorated quickly and, at a certain point, they only had one course of action to have any hope of avoiding capture and, likely, death.

They spent 14 months in the dark, dangerous and unsanitary sewer system of their hometown of Lvov, Poland.

Chiger was only 7 years old at the time.

What they endured is, at numerous times throughout this memoir, simply jaw-dropping. And while they suffered greatly - many other family and friends were lost along the way - their determination and strength of spirit is inspiring as well.

Still, they would have never survived had it not been for caring of a reformed thief, Leopold Socha, who happened to be Catholic. He put himself and his family at a huge risk to help the Chiger's and the others that became part of their underground family.

This is not your typical view of the Holocaust.

As you read, you get the feeling that you're sitting across from Chiger and she's simply telling you the story over tea from the perspective of her seven-year-old self.

Although there is ample foreshadowing of numerous events of the story, you still can't help but to want to read (hear) more of the story. The details are astounding.

One thing that I especially love is that Chiger included a section of photos in the center of the book. As this is a true story, it was amazing to put faces to the names of those immortalized within the pages of this memoir.

If you've enjoyed memoirs, or stories of the Holocaust, in the past, I would highly encourage you to pick up this book!

The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow is currently available at Amazon for $10.23 in paperback or $18.58 in hardcover.

Up next...The True Memoirs of Little K: A Novel

Have you read this memoir? If so, what did you think? Have you read other stories of the holocaust, nonfiction or fiction, that you've especially enjoyed?
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