Monday, November 7, 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.  Aladdin see Simon Schuster 2015  384p.  $17.99  ISBN 978-1-4424-8486-3    ms/hs  Memoir  VG-BN 

This well-written memoir details the life and experiences of Michael (Misha) Gruenbaum, who was born in Prague and lived in the Jewish community there until his transfer to a concentration camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia, with his mother and sister.  Written in the first person, Michael’s memoir tells the story of the most horrific years of his life, from 1939-1945, from the perspective of the boy that he was at that time.

The events are written as Misha the boy understood them, so young readers will feel empathy for him and relate to his family’s trials and suffering. Gruenbaum tells in great detail of the fear that he felt every day, waiting to be transported, and then being sent with his mother and sister to live in the concentration camp in Terezin until the end of the war when the Red Cross arrived, and the reader feels as though s/he is coming along on the journey.  Misha describes the conflict 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 hungry.

The book is written with sensitivity, but it accurately depicts the brutal events and raw emotions felt by many Jews during the Holocaust. It will resonate well with students seeking first-person information on the Holocaust. The memoir ends with an epilogue that provides an adult’s perspective on Misha’s adolescent misconceptions and misunderstandings of the events that occurred. It also describes his move to the United States and his reasons for writing the book, which is highly recommended.

Summary: This is a well-written 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, World War II                               --Virginia McGarvey

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