What I’m Reading: Irena’s Children

I just finished listening to the audio book Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto by Tilar J. Mazzeo.  I picked it form Audible’s recommendations based on what I typically get from them.

This book is part documentary and part story of Irena.  It’s a good mix and the factual part plays in very closely with what was happening with Irena.  The author occasionally at times steps away from the story and tells things that were happening at the time and tells how they were relevant to Irena and her plight.  Some authors have trouble doing that but this author does in seamlessly.  It was so good to read a story that showed how the Polish people helped the Jewish people.  So many Holocaust stories portray many Poles and being unhelpful and quick to turn a blind eye.  This story tells about an entire network of amazing Polish citizens who put their lives on the line to help Jewish children.

Here’s what Amazon had to say, From the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot comes an extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler—the “female Oskar Schindler”—who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

In 1942, one young social worker, Irena Sendler, was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist. While there, she reached out to the trapped Jewish families, going from door to door and asking the parents to trust her with their young children. She started smuggling them out of the walled district, convincing her friends and neighbors to hide them. Driven to extreme measures and with the help of a network of local tradesmen, ghetto residents, and her star-crossed lover in the Jewish resistance, Irena ultimately smuggled thousands of children past the Nazis. She made dangerous trips through the city’s sewers, hid children in coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through secret passages in abandoned buildings.

But Irena did something even more astonishing at immense personal risk: she kept secret lists buried in bottles under an old apple tree in a friend’s back garden. On them were the names and true identities of those Jewish children, recorded with the hope that their relatives could find them after the war. She could not have known that more than ninety percent of their families would perish.

In Irena’s Children, Tilar Mazzeo tells the incredible story of this courageous and brave woman who risked her life to save innocent children from the Holocaust—a truly heroic tale of survival, resilience, and redemption.”

Amazon readers give the book 4.8 stars.  It was very good…I liked the book a lot.  I’d give it 4.5 stars.  I always prefer books written in first person.

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