Sunday, 5 October 2014
The Night of the Burning - Linda Press Wulf
Although this is a children’s book, aimed, I think, at good readers of 10 years upwards, it is an excellent introduction for a reader of any age one who knows little of the fate of Polish Jews towards the end of, and after, WW1.
In short chapters, this book tells the story of sisters Devorah and Nechama, who live in abject poverty in Poland, near the Russian border. It speaks of the hatred of Christians (Jews killed Jesus - that old chestnut) and what that kind of thinking will ultimately turn into. This is a historical fiction based on real characters, and follows the two sisters on their long journey after the death of their parents - one from typhoid, and one (probably) from starvation - rescued by one of those heroes who not enough people hear about, Isaac Ochberg, who managed to get 200 Jewish orphans to South Africa.
Do read the "Afterward" and "Author's note" at the end of the book - there are some questions answered there. And Devorah, who tells the story, was the mother-in-law of the author.