Sunday, February 14, 2010
Escaping Into the Night
Escaping into the Night by D. Dina Friedman is a different kind of Holocaust story, at least different from ones that I've read before. In this book, Halina Rudowski lives in a Polish ghetto. She barely escapes with her friend Batya through an underground tunnel, after losing her mother to a raid.
Halina and Batya are forced to live in a secret encampment in the woods, with other Jewish refugees. Supplies are running low and fuses are high, which causes them to fight amongst themselves. Halina is forced to give up so many of her belongings and learn how to fight and scrounge, just like the men do. She narrowly escapes capture.
Halina quickly forms new friendships with Reuven and his brothers, as well as others hiding in the encampment. She also falls in love with Eli, one of the guards, who loves the way that she sings. These relationships become steadfast, providing Halina with a new sense of family.
Loyalties are challenged when uprising threatens amongst those who are hiding. Danger ensues as the group runs low on supplies, and the Germans approach. Halina has to look within herself for newfound courage and strength to survive.
This fictional account of fighting for survival during the Holocaust is well-researched, loosely based on real events. There is enough suspense to keep the pages turning, but it isn't so scary that upper elementary children can't handle it.
Further appeal lies in a relatively unknown aspect of the Holocaust. Most stories are those of hiding in a home, similar to the Anne Frank story, or concentration camps. The encampments in the woods seem to be basically untouched, at least as far as middle-grade fiction is concerned.
Purchase Escaping into the Night
A review copy of this book was provided courtesy of the author.