When it comes to historical fiction, I have to say that stories about Nazi Germany and the Jewish concentration camps are my favorite. It’s heartbreaking to think about all of those people that lost their lives. It felt like such a waste. Those people could have gone on to live long, happy lives, but, instead, they were tortured and killed. All for no legitimate reason.
This story takes place in France, when the Germans finally invaded and took control. They began rounding up Jews very quickly, and many were caught unaware. One family in particular, was took by surprise. When the Gestapo came, the mother, father, and daughter, Sarah, were taken into custody. However, in an attempt to save her little brother, she locked him into their secret hiding place, which was a small cabinet. She kept the key.
When they were first taken, they were held in a sporting arena for many days with thousands of other Jews, and the living conditions quickly went from awful to unbearable. I literally cried while reading a few of the scenes from that part of the story. What happened to those people was so wicked.
Sarah makes it through this awful time, and she even survives the concentration camp. However, she is determined to find out what happened to her brother. She never found him, and she always kept the key to the hiding place close to her.
This story is so heartbreaking in more than one way. I can’t imagine what went through the parents’ minds when Sarah told them what she had done with their son. To know that he was trapped, with no way out, must have been one of the worst things that ever happened to them. And to know that their daughter had done it out of love must have been hard, as well.
This is seriously one of the best books I’ve read about World War II and the Jewish internment. If you haven’t read it, you need to.