In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

Posted: July 14, 2013 in Reviews, Young Adult
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Author: Irene Opdyke

Paperback, 304 pages

Published in 2004 by Laurel Leaf

Reader Category: Young Adult to Older

From the Publisher: In My Hands began as one non-Jew’s challenge to any who would deny the Holocaust. Much like The Diary of Anne Frank, it has become a profound document of an individual’s heroism in the face of the greatest evil mankind has known.

In the fall of 1939 the Nazis invaded Irene Gut’s beloved Poland, ending her training as a nurse and thrusting the sixteen-year-old Catholic girl into a world of degradation that somehow gave her the strength to accomplish what amounted to miracles. Forced into the service of the German army, young Irene was able, due in part to her Aryan good looks, to use her position as a servant in an officers’ club to steal food and supplies (and even information overheard at the officers’ tables) for the Jews in the ghetto. She smuggled Jews out of the work camps, ultimately hiding a dozen people in the home of a Nazi major for whom she was housekeeper.

My Review:  This is a remarkable story of courage and humanity.  Ms. Opdyke knew that what was happening to the Jews during World War II was wrong, but knowing was not enough for her.  Barely an adult herself, she decided that she would sit by and watch it happen.  She used her position and a lot of courage to help save the lives of at least a dozen people.  She can easily be called a hero for her actions.  Heart-breaking to read and even harder to forget, this is a MUST for any non-fiction book lover (really a MUST for everyone).

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