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Grace in the Wilderness: After the…

Grace in the Wilderness: After the Liberation 1945-1948 (1985)

by Aranka Siegal

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1563111,431 (3.5)1
  1. 10
    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (juniperSun)
    juniperSun: Both deal with young Jewish teen girls in WWII, similar feelings.

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Aranka was born in Czechoslovakia. She and her family were sent to Auschwitz concentration camp, where she and her sister Iboya were separated from the rest of their family. They were then sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp before being liberated in April 1945. Both girls were sent to Sweden to recover and Aranka lived for a few years with a family there before immigrating with her sister to America.

This is the second book in Aranka's trilogy. I can't remember why I decided to start in the middle, but I enjoyed the read. It reminded me of what Anne Frank's diary might be like if she had survived the camp she was sent to. Of course, being a teen, it was mostly about the boys she was interested in and her feelings for them. Also, her angst at becoming attached to her Swedish family and having to leave them for America. ( )
  VictoriaPL | Feb 27, 2017 |
A great portrayal of life of a teen girl in the immediate years after being freed from Bergen-Belsen Nazi concentration camp. Piri, a Hungarian Jew, was transported to Sweden as she needed medical care for her health problems caused by the prison years. She is also very behind in school & has problems focusing on learning when she is expected to attend Swedish schools. The language barrier must have been tremendous, but we don't really read how she picked up Swedish. Luckily her older sister is still with her to help her. We feel their sorrow each time they hear what happened to other family or community members. They need to plan what they want for their future: go with friends to start a new Israel, find other relatives in America to live with, or develop relationships with Swedes--which would mean very little contact with their Jewish heritage.
At one point in this book I felt that too much of what Piri was talking with friends about was typical teenage focus on boy-girl relations, and was struck by the sentence later in the book where she criticizes some new Swedish friends "They played kissing games and acted...well, childlike. I know they are older than I, but the biggest problem in their lives is school and the most important thing is dating." Well, I guess for a Young Adult novel, this focus is important to keep reader's interest, and, to be fair, we do get good insight into the other struggles, worries, and concerns she has.
I would recommend this for any Young Adult. I have not read the prequel. ( )
  juniperSun | Jan 17, 2017 |
This book is interesting in that it gives readers a view into what life was like for surviovors after the War. However, it does little to answer questions about Piri's family, (I suppose that many never got answers), and it is not nearly as compelling as the first book, UPON the HEAD of GOAT. It is difficult to sort out the characters and how Piri knows many of them.

This is listed as a children's book, but I am more comfortable classifying it as a Young Adult book, due to the extensive coverage of Piri's romantic entanglements. ( )
1 vote kthomp25 | Jul 12, 2010 |
Showing 3 of 3
Joni Schockett (KLIATT Review, May 1999 (Vol. 33, No. 3))
This book is different from the others in that it takes place from the end of the war through those first years of liberation. The sequel to Upon the Head of A Goat, it follows the stories of Piri and Iboya, sisters who survived the Holocaust, as they try to find meaning in their shattered lives. Most of their family is dead, but the two sisters try valiantly to locate other surviving relatives. Having relied on each other for survival in the camps, the two young sisters, now 16 and 18, must learn to live their lives independently from each other if they are to truly heal from their emotional wounds. A wonderful Swedish couple adopts Piri and helps her cope with the potentially destructive aftermath of the war. The establishment of Israel gives Iboya her strength and two young healthy women emerge from the Holocaust, defying the Nazi promise to rid the world of "Jewish vermin." This is truly a story of courage and hope. 1985, Farrar Strauss & Giroux, $15.00 and $2.50. Ages 14 up.
added by kthomp25 | editKLIATT Review, Joni Schockett
Donna Freedman (Children's Literature)
This sequel to Upon the Head of the Goat shows how the Hungarian author and one of her sisters survived the Holocaust. The details of the camp are depicted sparingly and mostly in flashback, since the girls' focus is on getting well, looking for surviving family members, and trying to figure out where they belong in the world. This search for identity, and the emotionally fraught male-female relationships encountered by the author and her friends, may be off-putting to younger readers who enjoyed the first book. In truth, the boy-girl parts of the story do slow the narrative down considerably at times. Still, the book is a worthy successor to Siegal's powerful first book. However, young readers who are accustomed to happy endings may not like the weltschmertz the author shows on the last page, as she meets a young German who defends his father's support of Hitler. "Coming to terms with the past was not yet over, and never would be," the author writes. "I would have to live with the Fritzes of the world--even try to understand their guilt, understand them, in hopes of making a better world." Unfortunately, history has proved Siegal correct. 2003 (orig. 1985), Sunburst/Farrar Straus and Giroux, $5.95. Ages 12 up.
added by kthomp25 | editChildren's Literature, Donna Freedman
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Thus saith the Lord: "The people that were left of the sword have found grace in the wilderness..." --Jeremiah 31
Joe Haberer
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I was afraid to step out into the dark and quiet area between the two barracks.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140369678, Paperback)

From Publishers Weekly
Siegal takes up where she left off in Upon the Head of the Goat, the Newbery Honor book that etched on readers' minds the fate of Hungarian Jews under the Nazis. Now Hitler's thugs have fled Bergen-Belsen in 1945, leaving Piri Davidowitz, her sister Iboya and the other prisoners to be freed by the British army. Piri is starving and critically ill, sent to a hospital to recover and, after a long time, released to go with Iboya to Sweden. The girls find work and Piri believes she has found a home with gentle people she calls Mamma and Papa. She falls in love, too, and it's hard for her to decide, finally, to sail with Iboya to a new life in the U.S. The book ends aboard ship where Piri and a young man, Fritz, are conversing. He exonerates all the Germans, blaming only Hitler ("with his sick brain") of complicity in the murders of 11 million people. It's stunning to compare Fritz's posture to the British liberators' outrage and grief at witnessing the conditions in the camp, the dead and dying victims of the glorious Third Reich.

Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up The author of Upon the Head of the Goat: a Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 (Farrar, 1981) continues her autobiography in this outstanding description of the years just after the war. The book opens on the eve of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen and recounts Piri's experiences as a patient in a Red Cross hospital; as a student in a Swedish school for refugees; and as the adopted daughter of a loving Christian family in the Swedish countryside. Piri has survived in large part because of the support of her older sister, Iboya. Siegal emphasizes the bond between the two sisters and between them and their fellow survivors as they search for remaining friends and family and attempt to rebuild their lives. The book concludes poignantly, as Piri and Iboya leave their new friends in Sweden for America, where relatives they've never met await them. The narrative gracefully interweaves political and philosophical issues with universal adolescent concerns. One major theme, for example, is the search for identity, which is expressed among the various survivors through Zionism, assimilation and religion. In Piri, the trauma of losing her family, home and way of life is exacerbated by the normal problems of burgeoning adulthood. Some readers may be confused by the many people and places who are mentioned but not identified , but Siegal's strong characterizations, perceptive observations and compelling storytelling more than make up for this weakness. A moving, thought-provoking story. Ruth Horowitz, Notre Dame Academy Girls High School Library, Los Angeles

Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140369678, Mass Market Paperback)

Following the horrors of Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, Piri Davidowitz and her sister are quarantined in Swedish camps with other survivors. "Undeniable impact . . . Aranka Siegel describes the feelings Anne Frank never lived to enter into her diary."--New York Times Book Review.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:27 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Liberated from a German concentration camp at the end of World War II but haunted by the memory of her ordeal, fifteen-year-old Piri starts a strange new life as a Jew in Sweden.

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