There have been many memorable books concerning the holocaust but I don't think any have touched me in the way that Child of the Holocaust did. This book follows the true experiences of the author at 9 years old as he struggles to hide his identity, his faith and everything about his life, in order to survive. He is so resilient and has an amazing way of being filled with hope even when totally consumed by fear. What stays with me the most though, is the author's lack of self-pity through all of it.
I found this book impossible to put down and yet at times, the all too vivid images which the author describes were difficult to face. This book is so different from any other that I have read on this subject and I had problems trying to pinpoint why. Perhaps it is the point of view of a child that makes it more tragic and heart-wrenching. Perhaps it is his obvious innocence and the fact that he was often cast aside by those he sought protection from. Perhaps it is that at times, it seems the only person who had compassion and respect for life was the author himself.
This is a book that will not soon be forgotten. I can also say it is one of the few books I have ever read, that has made me want to turn back to the beginning and read it again right away. There is a sequel which is titled After the Smoke Cleared but looking around, it is really hard to find. I am hoping though that like Child of the Holocaust it will be printed again.
Note: Even if you read this many years ago you might want to read it again as this new edition states it has been substantially revised by the author.
For those who are film buffs there was also a televised play by Jack Kuper about his life. It was in 1960, shown by the CBC and was titled Sun in My Eyes. As we learn in the book, the title comes from a polish myth that Jews could not see the sun. Research shows that this is probably the first time the CBC addressed the subject of the holocaust directly.
A great read. Highly recommended.