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.