The Light in Hid­den Places

Sharon Cameron

  • Review
By – June 1, 2020

Based on a true sto­ry, this riv­et­ing book chron­i­cles a young woman’s hero­ic efforts to hide Jews dur­ing the war. At thir­teen, Ste­fa­nia (“Fusia”) Podgórs­ka, a Pol­ish Catholic girl, leaves her impov­er­ished, rur­al home to work in a shop owned by the Dia­mants, a Jew­ish fam­i­ly in Przem­syl, Poland. Over the next three years, Fusia grows close to Mr. and Mrs. Dia­mant and their sons. After the Ger­mans invade in 1939, Fusia moves in with the fam­i­ly until they are forced to relo­cate to a ghet­to. Fusia works to sell goods, putting her­self in dan­ger in order to pro­cure mon­ey, often sneak­ing into the ghet­to to pro­vide the Dia­mant fam­i­ly with food. Addi­tion­al­ly, Fusia is left to care for her young sis­ter Hele­na after their moth­er is forced to relo­cate to a Ger­man work camp.

When Max Dia­mant, one of the sons, escapes a labor camp, Fusia takes on the har­row­ing task of hid­ing Max and sev­er­al oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers and friends. Fusia rents a house, Tatars­ka 3, where she and Hele­na work tire­less­ly to hide thir­teen Jews. Fusia even pro­cures a job and sells items on the black mar­ket to pro­vide for the group. Con­stant­ly under threat, ten­sions rise even high­er when the SS occu­py the neigh­bor­hood, even resid­ing in Tatars­ka 3 for a peri­od of time. Although the thir­teen Jews sur­vived the war (Fusia and Max even­tu­al­ly mar­ry) the sto­ry is intense and full of close calls, depict­ing the thin line between life and death and the risks that Fusia and Hele­na faced. Sharon Cameron depicts a spark of hope and kin­ship amid the dark­ness, under­scor­ing Fusia’s tenac­i­ty, deter­mi­na­tion and spirit.

The book weaves through time peri­ods, offer­ing a well-round­ed sense of Fusia’s expe­ri­ences. An insight­ful author’s note includes pho­tos, doc­u­ments, and more back­ground infor­ma­tion on Ste­fa­nia. Cameron nobly adds to a mean­ing­ful lega­cy by shar­ing a sto­ry that must nev­er be lost or forgotten.

Jil­lian Bietz stud­ied library tech­nol­o­gy and research skills and cur­rent­ly works in the library sys­tem. She is a book review­er for the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and Kirkus Review Indie. Jil­lian lives in South­ern California.

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