Ten-year-old Dina Frydman lives a comfortable middle class life with her family in Radom, Poland in the summer of 1939, just weeks before the Nazi invasion. Then, her family is forced to move to a ghetto leaving their good life behind and learning to subsist on pawned jewelry and menial wages from the teenage workers until the family is sent to Treblinka. Aktions and other atrocities are described in great detail yet the story of Dina and her friends will resonate with a young audience. Throughout the book we see Dina as a young teenager with all the concerns of a girl her age, love interests, girlfriends and dreams of a future in Palestine. We witness Dina’s battle to survive and, through the pages of the book, feel the deadly apocalypse that transforms her from an innocent child to an adult who has survived so many horrors. From work camps to death camps, Dina survives against all odds. The aftermath of six years of death and destruction presents a new obstacle, how to live? With the war over, Dina travels from a way station at a German castle to a DP facility and, finally, to a school for orphans as she struggles to reclaim her life. The story ends with her painful debate as to where to create this new life, in Palestine with her friends and the man she loves, or the United States which seems to present so much opportunity for the future.
Young readers will relate to the story of Dina, told here so movingly by her daughter. Recommended for ages 14 and up.
Drora Arussy, Ed.D., is an educational consultant who specializes in integrating Jewish and secular studies, the arts into education, and creative teaching for excellence in Jewish education. She is the mother to four school-age children and has taught from pre-school through adult. Drora is an adjunct professor of Hebrew language at Drew University.