Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto by Tilar Mazzeo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Absorbing, heart-wrenching, and a must-read for all reader interested in this era.
" This is history, through a glass darkly, with all the attendant perils of the great darkness that was the Holocaust in Poland both during the Second World War and in the decades of communist rule that followed. I have used in all cases my best judgement as a historian and scholar and then proceeded to get on with telling the story of an astonishing group of men and women who saved from the darkness thousands of children." (Tilar J. Mazzeo in the Afterword of this book.)
As someone always interested in reading nonfiction WWII, and also 100% Polish, this book immediately rang my bells. I can proudly say that after finishing this, it is an unforgettable story in my stack of books. Big thank you to all of the meticulous research that must have been done by Mazzeo to make this book as historically accurate as possible.
This book describes the powerful journey of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic, who saved 2,500 children's lives from the Warsaw Ghetto. It is an incredible insider look into the Underground Resistance, one that I haven't ever studied so closely before and I was completely fascinated.
Even though this is a nonfiction biography story, for me it can be classified as a narrative. It just flows so well and I really felt emotionally connected and empathetic to Irena and could understand what risks and decisions that she had to make.
I'm still shocked that her heroic story is not well-known in history classes in high school, but maybe that's the way she would want it. This reading experience was deeply enlightening, even though it was quite difficult to get into that head-space. In my opinion, this should be a required reading, because it shows you that there is hope, that there is goodness in human beings even in the most bleak circumstances. Especially considering this current political climate, I really do think that this a valuable lesson to revisit, before history could repeat itself.
**Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for sending an e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.**
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