Hid­ing Edith: A True Story

  • Review
By – May 14, 2012
This is a beau­ti­ful­ly writ­ten true sto­ry of Edith Schwalb, a Jew­ish girl from Vien­na, and her jour­ney to sur­vival. Her adven­ture begins in May, 1938, and con­tin­ues till the end of the war. Her fam­i­ly escapes first to Bel­gium, and then to the south of France, always try­ing to keep away from the Nazis. The mid­dle of the war finds Edith being pro­tect­ed in Moissac, France, whose many res­i­dents con­spire to keep the secret of a school’s exis­tence and that of its hun­dred Jew­ish chil­dren in hid­ing. Her brav­ery is remark­able, as is the courage of those who help to save her, such as Shat­ta and Bouli Simon. The Simons are a young cou­ple who run the safe house in Moissac and teach the chil­dren what skills they need to sur­vive. This is an easy-to-read mem­oir, although it is a sad and touch­ing sto­ry. It is told from the point of view of Edith, who matures from a sev­en-year-old girl at the start of the war. Her thoughts and fears are clear­ly delin­eat­ed. She is moved to dif­fer­ent loca­tions dur­ing the war, and final­ly is re-unit­ed with much of her fam­i­ly. Her sis­ter and broth­er live to sur­vive the war. Pho­tographs of the fam­i­ly, the schools Edith attend­ed, and some his­tor­i­cal events illus­trate the text, and make it real. The author is a pro­lif­ic chron­i­cler of Jew­ish his­to­ry for chil­dren who has won many awards for her writ­ing. For ages 9 – 12.
Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

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