The Safest Lie

Angela Cer­ri­to
  • From the Publisher
December 22, 2015

This pow­er­ful his­tor­i­cal nov­el tells the sto­ry of a young girl who is smug­gled out of the War­saw ghet­to and strug­gles to both hide and hold onto her Jew­ish identity.

In 1940, nine-year-old Anna Bau­man and her par­ents are among 300,000 Pol­ish Jews strug­gling to sur­vive the wretched con­di­tions in the War­saw ghet­to. Anna draws the atten­tion of Jolan­ta (the code name for the real-life Resis­tance spy Ire­na Sendler, who smug­gled hun­dreds of chil­dren out of the ghet­to). Jolan­ta wants to help Anna escape. Anna’s moth­er drills her day and night, teach­ing her a new iden­ti­ty, that of Roman Catholic Anna Kar­wol­s­ka. Soon, Anna is whisked out of War­saw to a Catholic orphan­age and then to a fos­ter family.

Anna’s sto­ry is a sus­pense­ful and deeply mov­ing account of the sac­ri­fices endured, the dan­gers faced, and the hero­ism demon­strat­ed by coura­geous young vic­tims, their par­ents and their sav­iors. It sheds light on yet anoth­er tragedy of the Holo­caust: res­cued chil­dren who lost not only their loved ones, but their very iden­ti­ties and Jew­ish heritage.

Discussion Questions