Claiming My Place: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust

Narrated by: Ilyana Kadushin
Length: 9 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Junior Library Guild selection 

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight. 

Meet Barbara Reichmann, once known as Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. A Jew growing up in predominantly Catholic Poland during the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future. Her world is turned upside down when Nazis invade Poland and establish the first Jewish ghetto of World War II in her town of Piotrko´w Trybunalski. 

As the war escalates, Gucia and her family, friends, and neighbors suffer starvation, disease, and worse. She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: risk either the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp or certain death if she is caught resisting. She decides to hide her identity as a Jew and adopts the gentile name Danuta Barbara Tanska. Barbara, nicknamed Basia, leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known in order to claim a new life for herself. 

Writing in the first person, author Planaria Price brings the immediacy of Barbara’s voice to this true account of a young woman whose unlikely survival hinges upon the same determination and defiant spirit already evident in the six-year-old girl we meet as this story begins. The final portion of this narrative, written by Barbara’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, completes Barbara’s journey from her immigration to America until her natural, timely death.

©2018 Planaria Price and Helen Reichmann West (P)2018 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"[Narrator Ilyana Kadushin] presents a perfectly paced narration and crafts just the right tones for the emotions this serious and inspiring memoir requires." — Booklist

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Amazing

This is one of the best holocaust stories I have ever read and would recommend it to anyone who wants to know the deep true realities Jewish people survived.

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Ending Comments

The story was good, and not your typical Holocaust memoir. The reason for the rating was the comments added by the daughter at the end of the book. I only listened to 10-15 min of it, but I found it to be very political and unwelcomed. Comments are unnecessary and detract from the actual book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janet Jones
  • 08-24-19

Brilliant book

A very moving true story of a lovely woman in hard times of a war.

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  • mrs a j harding
  • 06-12-18

A slow start but got going into a good story.

A slow start but got going into a good story about one woman’s determined survival during the holocaust. I enjoyed the insight into Jewish customs and culture though, I thought a whole chapter on this a bit like a lecture. Overall enjoyed and listened to book in one sitting.