Clara's war One girl's story of survival

Clara Kramer, 1927-

Book - 2009

Polish-born Kramer, president of the Holocaust Resource Foundation at Kean University, recounts her life as a frightened, hungry teenager during the Holocaust who, along with her family, was rescued by righteous gentiles.

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Subjects
Published
New York, NY : Ecco Press 2009.
Edition
1st U.S. ed
Language
English
Item Description
Originally published: Great Britain : Ebury Press, 2008.
Physical Description
xii, 339 p., [8] p. of plates : ill., ports., plans, geneal. table ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780061728600
0061728608
Main Author
Clara Kramer, 1927- (-)
Other Authors
Stephen Glantz (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* For 18 months, a young teen hid with 17 other Polish Jews in a bunker dug under the home of their avowed anti-Semitic neighbor, Beck, while the Nazis occupied their town of Zolkiew. The unrelenting hardships of daily life are spellbinding. With German soldiers moving in upstairs, "a snore, a sneeze, a cough could mean the end of us." How to keep children quiet and not smother a four-year-old when she cries; how to use the toilet bucket; how to empty it. When it is safe, the ethnic German Becks lift the trapdoor and bring the Jews food. Unlike Anne Frank, Clara survived; now she lives in New Jersey, and her diary is in the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. The blend of the young girl s experience with the insight of the survivor looking back is riveting, especially because there is no idealization—neither of the Jews nor of their rescuers. World War II is raging outside; mass deportations are ongoing; bombings are terrifying. But in the house, there is war upstairs with the husband ("our saint") betraying his wife, Julia, who is plain, arthritic, and the strongest of all. And, in the bunker, the families fight for food, air, and space; some resent taking in children; the wealthy do not share. When the Russians come at last, of the 5,000 Jews in Zolkiew, there are 50 left. And they must save their rescuers. Both a gripping thriller and a heartbreaking drama of human kindness, this is sure to become a classic of Holocaust history. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Based on her wartime diary, which she kept while hiding in a basement in Poland, Kramer's book vividly recalls the tensions within her hidden community after the Nazis overtook the town of Zolkiew in 1942. Of particular interest are revelations about the family who hid the Kramers, particularly how an anti-Semitic Polish householder demonstrated great courage in shielding Jews in his basement. Kramer, in her eighties, now lives in New Jersey.—Frederic Krome, Univ. of Cincinnati Clermont Coll. [Page 114]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Polish-born Kramer, president of the Holocaust Resource Foundation at Kean University, was a teenager when her family and others hid from the Nazis in a secret bunker, rescued by a former housekeeper and her husband, a reputed drunken anti-Semite who turned out to be an avenging angel. Kramer's extensive recollections range from a liaison that threatened the household and daily squabbles in the tomblike underground quarters where food was scarce to their fear of discovery by the Nazis and the shock and desperation of learning about relatives and friends who had been killed. Her sister was sold out by a neighbor boy for a few liters of vodka. This vividly detailed and taut narrative is a fitting tribute to the bravery of victims and righteous gentiles alike. 8 pages of b&w photos. (Apr. 21) [Page 43]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An account based on the subject's personal record of the months during which she hid from Nazis in an underground bunker with seventeen others includes coverage of such topics as the characteristics of their unlikely protector Mr. Beck, the house fire that threatened everyone's survival, and Beck's affair with Clara's cousin.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An account based on the author's personal record of the months during which she hid from Nazis in an underground bunker with seventeen others discusses the characteristics of their unlikely protector and the house fire that threatened everyone's survival.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

“A superlative memoir of survival….Few wartime memoirs convey with such harrowing immediacy the evil of the Nazi genocide.”—Daily Telegraph (London) “One Girl’s Story of Survival,” Clara’s War is based on Clara Kramer’s diary of her years spent hiding in an underground bunker with seventeen other people during the Nazi occupation of Poland. In the classic vein of The Diary of Anne Frank—a heart-wrenching and inspiring story of a life lived in fear and cramped quarters—Clara’s War is a true story of the Holocaust as told by a remarkable young girl who lived to bear witness.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

&;A superlative memoir of survival&;.Few wartime memoirs convey with such harrowing immediacy the evil of the Nazi genocide.&;&;Daily Telegraph (London) &;One Girl&;s Story of Survival,&; Clara&;s War is based on Clara Kramer&;s diary of her years spent hiding in an underground bunker with seventeen other people during the Nazi occupation of Poland. In the classic vein of The Diary of Anne Frank&;a heart-wrenching and inspiring story of a life lived in fear and cramped quarters&;Clara&;s War is a true story of the Holocaust as told by a remarkable young girl who lived to bear witness.