Holocaust Child Lalechka by Amira Keidar #BookReview #AdLibPublishers #NetGalley #5*

A little girl is smuggled out of a Jewish ghetto. Two courageous women. And an inspirational story of survival. 

In 1941 at the height of World War II, in a Polish ghetto, a baby girl named Rachel is born. Her parents, Jacob and Zippa, are willing to do anything to keep her alive. They nickname her Lalechka. 

Just before Lalechka’s first birthday, the Nazis begin to systematically murder everyone in the ghetto. Her father understands that staying in the ghetto will mean certain death for his child. In both desperation and hope, Lalechka’s parents decide to save their daughter, no matter the cost.

Zippa smuggles her outside the boundaries of the ghetto where her Polish friends, Irena and Sophia, are waiting. She entrusts their beloved Lalechka to them and returns to the ghetto to remain with her husband and parents – unaware of the fate that awaits her. 

Irena and Sophia take on the burden of caring for Lalechka during the war, pretending she is part of their family despite the grave danger of being discovered and executed. 

Holocaust Child is based on the unique journal written by Zippa during the annihilation of the ghetto, as well as on interviews with key figures in the story, rare documents, and authentic letters.
It is a story of hope in the face of terror. 

An Important Story, Beautifully Told!

A beautifully written story which will stay with me forever.

During WWII a baby girl is born; normal celebrations are dulled by the fact that she was born in Poland to Jewish parents. With the German occupation, it is no exaggeration to say that families fear for their lives and in the midst of this generations and faiths come together to try and save the life of this innocent child. This is that story.

I don’t read a lot of holocaust memoirs, mainly because they are so soul destroying but this is an important tale and one I just couldn’t pass up. The author gave up her job to write this novel and she has made a first class job of it. I was aware of events in Germany regarding the Jewish community during WWII, but there are revelations of life in Poland which were new to me. Completely engrossing, this is one book I just couldn’t put down; not only does it describe the war years but by the end we have been brought right up to date with the lives of all concerned and while it is a heart-breaking story, it is skilfully told and I admire the author for her skill and talent. Definitely one I recommend and, as such, it easily earns a full house of stars.

My thanks to Mel Sambells of Ad Lib Publishers for both my copy and trusting me with such an important novel; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: memoir, holocaust

Author Details

Amira Keidar was born in the fall of 1963 in a kibbutz in Israel. After serving as an officer in the Israeli Army, she lived for 3 years in Paris where she studied Business French and Political Science. Coming back from France, she completed her B.A. in International Relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Amira worked for six years as a flight attendant for the Israeli Airline EL-AL and then started to work as a researcher in a national T.V. channel.

During her work as a researcher, Amira wrote dozens of mini-biographies for an interviews show that aired on the channel at that time. Researching and writing about people’s lives made her realize that writing biographies might be her target.

In 2003, Rachel, a long-time friend of Amira’s mother, was dying from cancer. On her death-bed, Rachel gave her friends the diary her mother wrote during the liquidation of the ghetto of Siedlce (east of Warsaw) in August 1942. In the diary – a 9 page document translated from Polish – the 27 year old woman described in bright and sober words all the atrocities of the Nazi rule in her home-town and above all – the horrifying days of the Jewish community annihilation in Siedlce. Rachel’s mother described in details the days she and the one year old Rachel spent in an attic while the Nazis were pursuing Jews in the streets of Siedlce in order to send them to extermination camps.

Reading this diary as a young mother, about the baby struggling to stay alive and about her mother fighting against the dangers outside and inside the attic, made Amira decide she wants others to know about this stunning story.

In June 2007, Amira quit her work as a researcher and a month later she found herself on a plane to Poland, starting her own research for the book she already had in mind.

Since then, Amira wrote biographies and other family stories for her living.
After living almost 20 years in different places, Amira now lives with her two daughters in the kibbutz where she was born.

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