Wednesday, December 18, 2019

My Survival: A Girl on Schindler's List.

Greene, Joshua M.and Finder, Rena.  My Survival: A Girl on Schindler's List. 
December 26th 2019 by Scholastic Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Rena Finder was eleven when the Nazis came to her Polish town. After increasing restrictions and neighbors and relatives being arrested, her family was sent to the Krakow ghetto. When that was emptied, Rena and her mother ended up on a train to Auschwitz-Birkenau, after Rena's father altered her papers so she would seem old enough to stay with her mother. Luckily, the two ended up working in Oskar Schindler's factory, where he made sure his employees were well fed and cared for, even though it was expensive to bribe the Nazi guards and get food and medicine on the black market. At one point, Rena and her mother were taken back to a camp, but Schindler found them and told the Nazis that they were specially trained, and they returned to the factory. Schindler left the country when he felt sure that the Nazis were defeated and the US forces were on their way. After the war, the two went back to their town, but found their apartment occupied by someone else, and also found a lot of anti-Semitic attitude. Most of their relatives had been killed, and Rena eventually got married and moved to the US, where she started speaking to school groups about her experiences in the late 1970s and working with Facing History.
Strengths: There are very few new first person accounts of the Holocaust; Ms. Finder is 90. The details about the difficulty of living and surviving are good, and there is enough discussion of the history of the time included. This is a quick, easily understandable read.
Weaknesses: For such a gut wrenching topic, the writing is surprisingly dispassionate. There is more emotional punch to works by Carol Matas, Alan Gratz, and Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch.
What I really think: I don't have any narratives accounts of Schindler's list, and this will be a good choice for readers in my 8th grade classes who are assigned reading a Holocaust book but who need a more linear account, and one that is not overly upsetting, so I will purchase.

Ms. Yingling

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