Sunday, January 24, 2016

Gruenbaum, Michael, and Todd Hasak-Lowy. Somewhere There is Still A Sun.

Gruenbaum, Michael, and Todd Hasak-Lowy.  Somewhere There is Still A Sun.  Simon & Schuster/Aladdin  2015  384p  $17.99 ISBN 978-1-4424-8486-3  ms/hs  Nonfiction  VG-BN
This well-written memoir details the life and experiences of Michael (Misha) Gruenbaum, who was born in Prague and lived there in the Jewish community until his transfer to a concentration camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia, with his mother and sister.  Writing in the first person, Michael tells the story of the most horrific years of his life, from 1939 to 1945, from the perspective of the boy that he was at that particular time of the Holocaust.
The events as described from the child’s point of view will resonate with readers and lead them to an understanding and empathy with Misha as he and his family undergo many trials and much suffering.  The fear that he felt every day as he waited to be transported, and then was sent, along with his mother and sister, to live in the concentration camp in Terezin until the end of the Holocaust when the Red Cross arrives -- Gruenbaum relates all of it in such detail that the reader feels as though s/he is along on the journey.  Misha describes the conflicts and surreal emotions that he experienced for four years as he roomed with forty other boys who became his brothers -- playing soccer one day, hiding another day, and always, always hungry.

The book is written with sensitivity; however,
it accurately depicts the events and emotions felt by many Jews during the Holocaust.  It will appeal to students studying or seeking first-person information about the Holocaust.  The memoir ends with an epilogue that describes and clarifies Misha’s revelations as an adult with regard to the misconceptions that he harbored as an adolescent.  It also describes his move to the United States and his motivations for writing the book.  This book is highly recommended, provided that the text is not changed from the advanced reader’s/reviewer’s copy.
Summary: This is a memoir detailing the life and experiences of Michael Gruenbaum, born into Prague’s Jewish community and later transferred to a labor camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia, during the Holocaust, 1939-1945.

Holocaust-Memoir                                            --Virginia McGarvey

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