'Sarah's Key' and 'The Boy In The Striped Pajamas'

Excellent Fiction Reading About The Holocaust

Greetings from the Teague Public Library.

One of the darkest periods in the history of ?civilized? (??) nations took place in Germany beginning in 1932 and ending in 1945. In this period, Adolf Hitler ruled as Nazi dictator. His plan included purifying the German race by eliminating persons he claimed to be inferior.

This period is referred to in history as the ?Holocaust,? a Greek word meaning ?burnt offering.? Hatred of the Jews was the center of the Nazi program. They must be eliminated in order to produce the Aryan ?master race.?

These victims were rounded up and sent to concentration camps throughout German territory. Some died of starvation, disease, exhaustion, beating, torture or bullets.

The most effective method of extermination was the use of gas chambers and furnaces for burning the bodies. In all, a record six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. The record for killing in a 24-hour period was 34,000 in continuous day and night shifts in Auschwitz.

Two new fiction books about the Holocaust are Sarah?s Key and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Both books are excellent reading.

Sarah?s Key is by Tatiana de Rosnay, a French novelist. The plot and all the characters are fiction. The story is based on one factual occurrence. She was inspired to write the story when she did research on Vel?d? Hiv?, a concentration camp in Paris.

In the early morning hours of July 16, 1942, the French police, on orders by the Gestapo, arrested 13,000 Jews. Able bodied adult men were sent to work camps. Remaining captive at Vel? d? Hiv? were 4,000 children who had been separated form their parents. The story of Sarah?s Key has two plots that intertwine.

Plot 1: Sarah Starzynski was a 10-year-old Jewish child when she and her parents were arrested on that terrible day in 1942. Sarah made a daring decision when she tried to save her four-year-old little brother from this tragedy. The story of her life is heart wrenching.

Plot 2: This story is set in Paris 60 years later. Julia Jarmond, a journalist, became engrossed in the story of the children?s? prison. In her research, she discovered a link between her husband?s family and the family of Sarah Starzynski. She could not let go of the fate of Sarah.

The other novel, The boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne is about a nine year old German boy whose father, a Nazi officer, was in charge of the concentration camp at Auschwitz. Unknown to his parents the boy made friends with a boy in the camp who was his age. They would meet on opposite sides of the fence which enclosed the camp. One boy was captive; the other was not. They viewed each other as a friend. A surprise tragic ending leaves the reader depressed. The ending shows the innocence and naivete of the two nine year olds.

Time to thank the good folks who gave memorials to the library. Gerri and Tommy Baker gave for Anna Lee Vance; Mrs. Denise Braton gave for Vicki Turner; Dr. and Mrs. Bill Halbert gave for Vicki Turner; Cody and Rosemary Thomson gave for Stone Hayes and Vicki Turner.

In a speech in 1995, French president Jacques Chirac recognized France?s role in the Holocaust: Those black hours will stain our history for ever, and are an injury to our past and our traditions?.Fifty-three years ago, on 16 July 1942, 450 policemen, French, under the authority of their leaders, obeyed the demands of the Nazis. That day, in the capital and Paris region nearly 10,000 Jewish men, women and children were arrested at home inn the early hours of the morning, and assembled at police stations??.France committed that day the irreparable. Breaking its work it delivered those it protected to their executioners.?

Sarah?s Key and The Boy in Striped Pajamas are available at the library.

This marks the 70th anniversary of one tragic event of the Holocaust.

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