Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Out of Hiding

Gruener, Ruth. Out of Hiding
October 20th 2020 by Scholastic Nonfiction
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ruth Gruener, born Aurelia (Luncia) Gamzer in the early 1930s, lived in Lvov, Poland with her parents, who ran a candy shop. When the Nazis started to round up Jewish citizens, her parents took the offer of hiding their daughter made by customer Mrs. Szczgiel. Because the consequences of hiding a Jew were so serious, young Luncia had to spend hours sitting still, not looking out of the windows or talking, and for several weeks had to spend twelve hours a day sleeping in a trunk with an air hole. Eventually, she went to stay with her parents, who were being hidden by the Oyak family. This was a little better, but still stressful; at one point, Luncia overhears her mother talking about ways to kill herself, her husband and Luncia, so that they didn't cause the Oyak's any more problems, and the execution only fell through because the soldier they approached to carry it out didn't have the stomach for it. Eventually, the war ended and they were free, but there were still many problems with getting out of Poland, since their city of Lvov was now part of the Soviet Ukraine. Once they managed to get to America, Ruth (who used this name suggested by a cousin) tried to pursue an ordinary teen life, but was plagued by memories of her past. She reconnected with Jack Gruener, who lived with her family in Europe, and was the inspiration for Alan Gratz's superb Prisoner B-3087. The two eventually married, and later in life, Ruth decided to tell her story about the Holocaust.
Strengths: This is a nice, short overview of one Jewish child's experience during the Holocaust. The text is large, the story simple to follow, and the details vivid and affecting. It's good to get the full story of Gruener's life.
Weaknesses: It would have been nice to have had the photographs appear with the appropriate text, and a WWII timeline would have also been a nice addition.
What I really think: This is a great introduction to the Holocaust, and fills a need for stories that continue after the war is over. It is less graphic than many of the books I have, and there are always some students who are a little more sensitive and don't want all of the details when our 8th grade classes have a study unit covering this period of history.

Ms. Yingling

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