Saturday, March 8, 2014
CHILD OF THE WARSAW GHETTO
CHILD OF THE WARSAW GHETTO is a biographical picture book about Froim Baum’s Holocaust experience. Froim, the youngest of 7 children, was born to a Jewish tailor and his wife in Warsaw, Poland. The family struggled for survival before Germany invaded Poland. But their sorrow intensified in 1939 when the Nazis arrived.
First the Germans imposed anti-Jewish laws, singling them out for humiliation and making it impossible to earn a living.Then they herded the Jews into a 70 street section of Warsaw which they surrounded with a wall topped by barbed wire. They denied the residents of this ghetto adequate food, fuel and clothing. Starvation, abuse and death ensued. With time, the Nazis removed the Jews. Froim and his brothers were sent to a concentration camp where he narrowly escaped the gas chamber.
Back at the Jewish Ghetto, a secret group of Jews fought against the Germans for several weeks but were eventually overcome.
Froim was eventually freed by the Allied Armies. He shared his story with David Adler who wrote this book. The book is magnificently illustrated with muted pencil sketches by Karen Ritz. The pictures are appropriately somber but contain just enough color to appeal to younger readers.
This book is similar to THE WAR WITHIN THESE WALLS in that it tells the Warsaw Ghetto experience. But it differs in intensity. In THE WAR WITHIN THESE WALLS we see the story up close and personal – focusing in on specific horrors. CHILD OF THE WARSAW GHETTO gives us a broader view and is not as graphic as books for older readers.
If you wish to read books with similar stories, I can't say enough good things about MILKWEED by Jerry Spinelli which also takes place in the Warsaw Ghetto and.Jennifer Roy's YELLOW STAR, a free verse novel about the Jewish Ghetto in Lodz, Poland.
Also on this topic, a few books I have yet to read: IRENA SENDLER AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WARSAW GHETTO by Susan Goldman Rubin and JANUSZ KORCZAK'S CHILDREN by Gloria Spielman. There are more, of course. So many heartbreaking but also inspiring stories...