Irene Gut was just 17 in 1939, when the Germans and Russians devoured her native Poland. Just a girl, really. But a girl who saw evil and chose to defy it.
©2008 Irene Gut Opdyke (P)2015 Listening Library
"No matter how many Holocaust stories one has read, this one is a must, for its impact is so powerful." (School Library Journal)
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I have read an endless number of books that cover people’s experiences through WW2 and the Holocaust, and I continue to be riveted by the experiences of the survivors and the tales they lived to tell.
Throughout them all, I notice 3 consistent themes:
1 - Luck. Be it cruel or merciful, there is a lot of luck involved. The good or bad luck of being able to speak German, having a limp, having blond hair, looking Arian, having connections in the community, playing an instrument, being rich, being poor … Random accidents of birth leading to so many outcomes, both positive and negative, are so often attributed to either serendipity or misfortune.
2 - Courage. If you are blessed with good luck and have the brains to recognise it, the courage to DO SOMETHING is astonishing. As opposed to being frozen in fear, they take action! Driven by an unseen force to take incredible risks in order to help others and improve their own circumstances - admirable doesn’t begin to cover it! Would you be so brave in the same conditions?
3 - Resilience. The sheer force of will to live through it all and survive is not to be overlooked. The temptation to just give up must be so strong when day after day you are losing those around you and are subject to unspeakable horrors, yet these people just keep going and living and surviving! It’s beyond impressive.
I always like to give fair and honest reviews of all of the books I listen to. This story is such a great story. And it is read very well by the narrator. That being said, this story is very tame in comparison to other holocaust era memoirs I've read.
Keep in mind that the main character is not Jewish, but a Polish national who did have issues with both the Russian and German military, but did not encounter nearly the same amount of trials and tribulations that Jews did during this period.
The numerous situations the mak character goes through make for a very interesting story and I listened in maybe 3 sittings.
Finally it is read very well in my opinion. The narrator does not have any displeasing traits in her voice that distracts you from the story. If you are like me and have read most holocaust memoirs already, give this a shot. It is interesting to hear it told from this point of view.
I could not quit listening. Hope Davis brought to life the struggles that the Jewish people faced.
As hard as it was to imagine the horrific atrocities they faced it is important that the story be told.
Thank you Ms Irene for telling your story and Jennifer Armstrong for bringing her history to life. I will listen to this book again and will make sure that my children listen as well. We should always be aware of what can happen when an evil dictator spoils the minds and hearts of people.
I have read in my hands, but I needed to reread it and opted for the audio book. The narrator gave a brilliant performance moving me to tears at time. Irene's story needs to be told, especially now with the problems in the US government.
I have listened to and read many historical accounts during WWII. Some are dry and others try too hard. This is a wonderful book that touches many emotions without feeling overbearing or pushing the author's objective. I would highly recommend to anyone. The narration is great. Well done.
I have read a number of books about, and by, survivors. This is the first by a member of the resistance. Just an "ordinary" young woman accomplishing extraordinary feats of heroism and bravery. Each of us may wonder, "what would I do?" under life threatening circumstances. This book isn't about what extraordinary lengths we might go to preserve our own lives or even those of our families. The fact that it was done for strangers is what truly makes her story indelible; indelible and inspiring. I am now off to find another story, hopefully equal to this one, which I will never forget.
it is not often that I have a chance to read for leisure, but I highly recommend this book. the narrator does a great job and I felt like I was there for some of the scenes because the author was so vivid in the details. heartbreaking but hopeful, this is a true story that needs to be heard.
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