Regular readers will know that I have a longstanding interest in the Holocaust and this wonderful book looks at the lives of two families of Hungarian Jews and the effects of the War (that is WW2) upon them. I am very ignorant about the lives of Eastern Europeans and know little about Hungary and it’s people. All I knew was that the relationship between Hungary and Nazi Germany was complicated and depended upon who was in power. I didn’t know that on the whole, Hungarians treated their Jewish population much better than a lot of countries (relatively-speaking) and that it wasn’t until later in the War that many Hungarian Jews were transported and lost their lives in the Holocaust.
The beauty of this book, is the see-saw of emotions that the reader experiences. I smiled, I cried, my heart raced, I felt cocooned in the story… this book talked about friends who I hoped would survive the terrible circumstances of their lives. As one would expect, it was not all good news, most of it was horrible and blighted, but to find out at the end that the characters were real made me cry loudly for them and the hardships they endured.
Every time I read another account, every time I see another photo, every time I view another film about the War; I wonder just how my Father’s family and more specifically his Father and Older Brother survived. I am sure their experiences moulded the people they were, the families they raised and the fears they felt; I am a product of all those things. (This is my Opa and other men, taken as slave labourers to Austria)
It is really only when I got older, that I could honestly forgive the people who loved and raised me for their mistakes, after all, we can only do the best we can, with the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
This book was an education, thankyou Julie Orringer.