Description: If their secret is discovered
They will not survive…
While the Holocaust rages, two very young brothers, Joseph and Yitzhak, adopt false Christian identities and hide in the Aryan side of Polish cities and countryside.
Their lives, as well as the lives of their parents, swing wildly between the terror of being apprehended by the cruel regime and collaborators of the Reich, to their desperate need to continue living "freely" outside the ghetto walls.
They undergo an agonizing five and a half years, mostly in constant fear that their false identities will be exposed and their lives ended.
Since my younger days I've had an interest in both the holocaust and the Jewish people. I believe that the Jews are God's chosen people (though he also has a spiritual people - Christians) and the extreme wickedness and evil done toward them during the holocaust was an act of Satan himself using evil men to try to destroy God's people. Of course, this terror campaign did not succeed, because as The Bible shows over and again, God always saves a remnant.
The family portrayed in this story is a part of that remnant. I still haven't gotten all the way through the book--it's quite lengthy, over a hundred pages--but I find myself astonished at the amazing survival story in the pages. Most holocaust stories I've read involve those who haven't survived or tales of hiding within walls--such as those hidden by Corrie Ten Boom and others.
This story is different. Yes, there is hiding... a lot of it. But the main difference I see is that this family was intelligent and courageous in such a way that they often hid in plain sight, assuming false identities to survive the war.
This is not a light book. It took me several tries to begin it, but once I did, I found it surprisingly engrossing. See, this is not written as a novel or biography, but it is an explicit autobiography in places. Yoseph Komen (the smallest boy in the photograph on the cover) tells his story--as much as he can remember. The smallest details stand out to him, surprising in their descriptive accuracy. He remembers the layout of homes he stayed in, etc. Yet, some larger details--such as who accompanied him during an important train ride--remain a contested mystery.
The scope of this story awes me, honestly. I am impressed by this remarkable family--a deaf father who used his disability and his blonder looks to masquerade, a mother who fearlessly taught her child, children who were somehow able to keep the secret of who they really were.
Yes there are many names. This story is not just the story of Yoseph Komen's immediate family, but many other relatives and acquaintances who lived or died during the war. Glimpses of other lives are available, such as the many brave families who hid them, or aided them. There's a lot to keep up with. The timeline might be confusing. But this is a raw, real story. It's full of memory and detail. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to see into the lives of this remarkable family, to remember why we say "never again" to attempted genocide and cruelty.
You can find the book here: Amazon