Monday, June 22, 2009
Every person - child and adult included - needs to read Kathy Kacer’s books about the Holocaust.
I studied the Holocaust in school but the pure horror of it didn’t strike home until I read The Underground Reporters and The Diary of Laura’s Twin.
The Underground Reporters is about a group of Jewish friends who create a newspaper that connects the Jewish community, particularly the children, when the kids stop being allowed to go to school or play in public, while The Diary Of Laura’s Twin tells the story of Laura, who, as part of her Bat Mitzvah, studies the diary of a girl who lived in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Both books made the Holocaust real for me. Often when you think about things that happened in the past, you forget you are talking about real people who have parents, siblings and grandparents. Both books allowed you to get to know real people, who have the same fears and hopes you do.
Of the two books, I liked The Diary of Laura’s Twin better. It gave me a real understanding of what it must have been like to live in the Warsaw Ghetto. I really had no idea. There were passages in the book that have stayed with me, including:
“Jan. 10, 1943: Can you image what it is like to live behind barbed wire and high walls? No one can leave and no one wants to come in.”
“July 16, 1941: It’s Funny. When Hitler was deciding who would be part of his perfect race, he decided that it would only include people who were Aryna - those with blue eyes and blond hair, which is how many Germans look. If you had dark features like me and Tateh and so many Jews, you couldn’t be part of Hitler’s perfect race and you were targeted for discrimination. But here’s the thing. Mama and David are blond and delicate, while Hitler has dark eyes and a large nose. ... So in that perfect world that Hitler has imaged, Mama and David should be included while Hitler himself should be left out.”
Kathy Kacer’s books are published by Second Story Press (www.secondstorypress.ca).