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The night of the burning : Devorah's story…
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The night of the burning : Devorah's story (2006)

by Linda Press Wulf

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This story is told through the eyes of a young jewish girl Devorah, who is orphaned during the war, and is taken to South Africa with her sister, to start a new life. It alternates between the story of the journey to South Africa, and Devorah's memory of her childhood. There are so many stories about terrible things that happened during the war, and this is as heart breaking as all of the others, but it is also different in that it focusses on the migration, new life and the relationship between the sisters. Highly recommended. ( )
  kmstock | Aug 14, 2014 |
What a great book! This story is based on the life of the author's grandmother, who, with her little sister Nechama, were the sole survivors of a viscious pogrom in a Polish town around WWI. Their parents die before the pogrom of illness and extreme poverty and the girls are left with their beloved aunt, who has been widowed by the forced conscription of her husband into the Tzar's army. The aunt loves the girls very much and defends them against the pogrom, but is stabbed to death in the process. A righteous gentile saves the girls and sends them to Warsaw, where they are chosen by Ochberg, a Jewish man who has been funded by Jews in South Africa to save Jewish orphans. Ochberg has the dreadful duty to pick 200 orphans of the hundreds of thousands in Europe to bring to South Africa to save. He chooses the main charactcer, Devorah and Nechama, and they go to a happy, safe existence in the South African Jewish orphanage. Many books would have stopped there-- but this one doesn't. The real emotional weight of the book comes AFTER the girls' traumas in Europe, when they diverge on how to heal. I can't tell you what it is that divides them, but their journeys to healing are profoundly different and painful. A really thoughtful book about all kinds of things: life in a shtetl, Jewish efforts towards their own, the power of charity to save and change lives, Europe, Poland and South Africa, apartheid, belonging, remembering and forgetting. A very useful book for any kid, as it relies more on story telling than on being didactic, draws you in and makes you care.
2 vote smaystein | Dec 23, 2008 |
Eleven-year-old Devorah and her younger sister, orphaned by the pogroms in their small Polish town in 1921, are chosen by philanthropist Isaac Ochberg to be among 200 Jewish children rescued from Eastern Europe and brought to South Africa. Flashbacks and memories detail Devorah's childhood in Poland, the poverty of her family, the tragic illnesses they suffered from, and the persecution they faced. Based on her mother-in-law's life, Wulf creates well-developed characters and Devorah's growth and maturity is heartwarming and real. This is a beautiful and captivating retelling of a little known rescue story and a wonderful way to introduce North American readers to the origins of the Jewish community in South Africa. REVIEWED BY RACHEL KAMIN (TEMPLE ISRAEL LIBRARIES & MEDIA CENTER, WEST BLOOMFIELD, MI) ( )
1 vote STBA | Aug 21, 2007 |
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Book description
Devorah’s world is shattered by the tragedies of post–Great War Europe: gas poisoning, famine, typhoid, and influenza. Then comes the Night of the Burning, when Cossacks provoke Christian Poles to attack their Jewish neighbors. In 1920, eleven-year-old Devorah and her little sister, Nechama, are the sole survivors of their community. Salvation arrives in the form of a South African philanthropist named Isaac Ochberg, who invites Devorah and Nechama to join his group of two hundred orphans in their journey to safety in South Africa. Although reluctant to leave her homeland, and afraid to forget her family, Devorah follows her sister, who is determined to go to the new country. There Devorah is dealt the greatest blow – Nechama is adopted and taken away from her. In the end, though, Devorah realizes that she is not solely responsible for keeping the past alive, and that she will not betray her beloved parents when she is adopted herself – and finds happiness again.

This gripping first novel, inspired by and based closely on the childhood of the author’s mother-in-law, was recipient of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374364192, Hardcover)

Devorah’s world is shattered by the tragedies of post–Great War Europe: gas poisoning, famine, typhoid, and influenza. Then comes the Night of the Burning, when Cossacks provoke Christian Poles to attack their Jewish neighbors. In 1920, eleven-year-old Devorah and her little sister, Nechama, are the sole survivors of their community. Salvation arrives in the form of a South African philanthropist named Isaac Ochberg, who invites Devorah and Nechama to join his group of two hundred orphans in their journey to safety in South Africa. Although reluctant to leave her homeland, and afraid to forget her family, Devorah follows her sister, who is determined to go to the new country. There Devorah is dealt the greatest blow – Nechama is adopted and taken away from her. In the end, though, Devorah realizes that she is not solely responsible for keeping the past alive, and that she will not betray her beloved parents when she is adopted herself – and finds happiness again.
 
This gripping first novel, inspired by and based closely on the childhood of the author’s mother-in-law, was recipient of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award.
 
The Night of the Burning is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Still sad and frightened after living in Poland through World War I and the Russian Revolution, twelve-year-old Devorah Lehrman, her younger sister, and other Jewish orphans travel with Isaac Ochberg to South Africa and make a new start. Still sad and frightened after living in Poland through World War I and the Russian Revolution, twelve-year-old Devorah Lehrman, her younger sister, and other Jewish orphans travel with Isaac Ochberg to South Africa and make a new start. Devorah's world is shattered by the tragedies of post-Great War Europe: gas poisoning, famine, typhoid, and influenza. Then comes the Night of the Burning, when Cossacks provoke Christian Poles to attack their Jewish neighbors. In 1920, eleven-year-old Devorah and her little sister, Nechama, are the sole survivors of their community. Salvation arrives in the form of a South African philanthropist named Isaac Ochberg, who invites Devorah and Nechama to join his group of two hundred orphans in their journey to safety in South Africa. Although reluctant to leave her homeland, and afraid to forget her family, Devorah follows her sister, who is determined to go to the new country. There Devorah is dealt the greatest blow - Nechama is adopted and taken away from her. In the end, though, Devorah realizes that she is not solely responsible for keeping the past alive, and that she will not betray her beloved parents when she is adopted herself - and finds happiness again.… (more)

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