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In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer…

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

by Irene Gut Opdyke, Jennifer Armstrong (Author)

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7711517,724 (4.32)1 / 40



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The author of this memoir was a teenager when war broke out in Europe in the 1930s. Although Germany and the Soviet Union both wanted control of Poland, neither country nor their armies had any regard for the Polish people. Irene found herself separated from her family, and she had to grow up too quickly, first at the hands of the Russian army, then at the hands of the German. Irene was working in a hotel that housed German officers when she became aware of its proximity to the Jewish ghetto. She was appalled by what she could see and hear from the hotel. She didn't have the ability to help the Jews on a large scale, but the small acts of kindness in her power would make a difference to a few people. She started by leaving food under a hole in the fence. When she realized that the penalty was the same for leaving bits of food as for more daring acts, she did more and more to help as many Jews as she could. She was able to provide employment for several, and then found a place for them to hide when she learned of plans to kill all of the remaining Jews.

I have read quite a few Holocaust memoirs. Suffering is common to all of them, but each story of survival and escape is unique. Opdyke's story is a reminder that life is precious and that family and friends are to be cherished. The audio production is excellent, and it includes introductory comments by the author herself. Opdyke's voice adds an intimacy to the experience, and it serves as a reminder that she was a real person and not a character in a novel. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Apr 29, 2018 |
A holocaust account based on the true story of a young Polish girl in her efforts to survive the Germans and Russians in WWII. But, not just her survival .. her heart and love for her country made her reach out and rescue the Jewish people she encountered.

A page turner by a talented historical novelist, Jennifer Armstrong, who spent hours researching Polish history and listening to Irene’s accounts of her war years in Poland. I wish everyone would read this, so before they call someone a Nazi they can learn what the word really meant. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Jan 13, 2018 |
It was fascinating to see how she essentially "fell" into being a savior. The narrator had her own dramas during the war, but went out of her way and risked her life many times to lessen the turmoil others suffered. A beautiful narrative. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 25, 2017 |
“Rapid gunfire was the metronome that kept time in our lives.”
  bookworm12 | Nov 12, 2017 |
A true story of Irene, a young Polish woman, who, during WWII, while in the employ of a Nazi major, hid a dozen Jews and assisted many others in hiding. The amazing end to the story: the general accidentally came face to face with a couple of the hidden women and, because he was in love with Irene, did nothing.
  Salsabrarian | Feb 2, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Irene Gut Opdykeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Armstrong, JenniferAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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To my daughter, Janina.

And for the young people, who can accomplish the impossible and can achieve greatness by finding the strength in God and in the goodness of the human spirit. I dedicate my life story to encourage them to find hope and strength within themselves. Courage is a whisper from above: when you listen with your heart, you will know what to do and how and when. With all my life.

Irene Gut Opdyke
I dedicate this book with love and respect to Irene.

Jennifer Armstrong
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Kozienice is a small village in eastern Poland.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0553494112, Mass Market Paperback)

When World War II began, Irene Gutowna was a 17-year-old Polish nursing student. Six years later, she writes in this inspiring memoir, "I felt a million years old." In the intervening time she was separated from her family, raped by Russian soldiers, and forced to work in a hotel serving German officers. Sickened by the suffering inflicted on the local Jews, Irene began leaving food under the walls of the ghetto. Soon she was scheming to protect the Jewish workers she supervised at the hotel, and then hiding them in the lavish villa where she served as housekeeper to a German major. When he discovered them in the house, Gutowna became his mistress to protect her friends--later escaping him to join the Polish partisans during the Germans' retreat. The author presents her extraordinary heroism as the inevitable result of small steps taken over time, but her readers will not agree as they consume this thrilling adventure story, which also happens to be a drama of moral choice and courage. Although adults will find Irene's tale moving, it is appropriately published as a young adult book. Her experiences while still in her teens remind adolescents everywhere that their actions count, that the power to make a difference is in their hands. --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:41 -0400)

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Recounts the experiences of the author who, as a young Polish girl, hid and saved Jews during the Holocaust.

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