Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust

Beyond Courage:  The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust
by Doreen Rappaport
Candlewick, 2012.  228 pgs. Non-fiction

     Doreen Rappaport's beautifully constructed narrative of the Jewish response to the Holocaust begins with a section entitled The Realization.  Somewhat surprisingly, young people caught on to promises of relocations and resettlements actually being code words for mass executions before the older folk did and tried to make their voices heard before it was too late. When most Jews realized that the Nazis intended to extinguish the Jewish race, they fought back with every means at hand.  In subsequent sections, Rappaport details uprisings in the ghettos where Jews were confined, hidden Jewish shtetls in the depths of the forest, partisan forces in occupied lands, and desperate escape attempts from labor, concentration, and death camps. The great power of this book lies in Rappaport's seamless integration of her factual narrative with the stories from survivors themselves.  Pictures from the time are juxtaposed with contemporary photos of those who lived to tell the tales and all the stories herein are extraordinary:  shocking, heartbreaking, heartening, and in some cases, miraculous.  A beautiful, terrible, necessary book.  Should be a frontrunner for the American Library Association's Sibert Award for best non-fiction book of the year.

No comments: