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Friday, June 15, 2012

thoughts on: Clara's War

Clara's War: A Young Girl's True Story of Miraculous Survival Under the NazisClara's War: A Young Girl's True Story of Miraculous Survival Under the Nazis by Clara Kramer

Clara's War, which is based on the diaries Clara Kramer kept as a teen, is more than a memoir of how she survived the Holocaust.  One of the fifty Jewish survivors from a Jewish community of 5,000 people in Zolkiew, Poland, Clara's book is a tribute to the family who hid eighteen people under their house while working with and housing Nazi soldiers.

Valentin and Julia Beck, and their teenaged daughter Ala, risked their lives every day of the eighteen months they lived in the former house of the Jewish family who, with their friends, were hiding in a dirt bunker their children had dug out in the crawl space.  Julia had been a maid to several of the families hiding, and one of the women was her closest friend.  Her husband, however, was known as an avowed anti-Semite, as well as an alcoholic and womanizer.  Both of the latter were true, but his dedication to the protection of the four families under his floor belied the former.  Again and again, he used and cultivated friendships with those in positions of power to deflect the rumors that he was hiding Jews.  The Beck's unwavering force of will kept her alive throughout the German occupation of Poland, and Clara states that she has lived her life to be worthy of the risks and sacrifices the Becks made for her.

She wrote, "When I was a child in our backyard watching Julia beat our rugs, I had no idea how strong her faith was.  I didn't know if it gave her courage to save us or if it gave her the strength to resist her fear.  What I witnessed every day in her was the remarkable sight of a woman doing what the saints and her savior did without hesitation and without compromise.  I knew that Julia would find her reward in heaven.  I hoped she would also find it on this earth."

1 comment:

Anne Arnold Pierce said...

beautiful review. I will have to get and read that, thanks Anne