Wednesday, April 2, 2008

another one down

Just finished "Into The Arms of Strangers...Stories of the Kindertransport." How sad was this book? Way sadder than you can imagine. I guess the good thing is, so many people were able to save their children's lives by sending them on trains to strangers. The sad part was, the high number of children who were taken in to be servants, or to be sexually abused. Some weren't even allowed food beyond bread and water. It is very sad. One girl said she was only allowed bread and water and one morning when the family left for church, she went to the roast that they had leftover on the counter and grabbed a piece of it to eat on her bread. She said it tasted like heaven. The family came back inside because they forgot something, saw her with the meat, and slapped it out of her hands and forbade her to ever do that again. The "system", which was supposed to look out for these kids, was not always able to do its' job correctly, because the kids were afraid to tell anyone their troubles, or, their English was so poor that they were unable to talk to anyone. There was also a set of sisters who were preyed upon by the father of the family who took them in. When it came time for the older sister to leave, she refused to go because she didn't want her sister to be abused anymore. So sad. The worst story, in my mind, is the parents who put their little girl on the train and then asked her to open the window all the way down so they could hold her hands before she left. As the train started to move, the father was crying and said he couldn't let her go. She was screaming for him to let go of her hands. As it was, he ended up pulling her through the window and out of the train, and she lost her place on the Kindertransport. This was a major blow, since securing a seat on this train was difficult enough to do the first time, let alone to try to do it again. In the end, she ended up at Auschwitz and various other concentration camps and ended up being rescued in her early teens, weighing only 58 pounds. Her parents were both killed. It was a very sobering look at something most of us can never imagine having to do; putting our tiny children on a train bound for strangers. I highly recommend this book based on content, and also the manner in which it was put together; small, short stories, letters, and memories that are easy to read and put down, which is the only way through a book like this.

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