Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Running Through Fire

I recently finished reading Running Through Fire: How I survived the Holocaust. Every spring I teach a Holocaust unit. It is my most favorite thing that I do with my students all year long. They really get into it, and I always learn something new. My accelerated students all read a different Holocaust memoir and then do an oral report on their book. This allows students to hear about 40 different other books written by survivors. I try to read a book before I put it into the mix for the students to pick so that I know whether it is age appropriate or not. So I just finished Running Through Fire.
This book was probably my least favorite Holocaust book that I've read thus far. Zosia spends the entire book running, and so she is not in any concentration camps (which is so awesome for her because she was Jewish). This was one reason why I was looking forward to reading it- because she is amazingly smart and tricks people to believing she was a Gentile. I had a hard time connecting with her though because it was written by her nephew and it seemed completely unpersonal. Instead of relating to her I felt I was just reading facts about her. I was happy for her, but not connected to her.

If you are looking for some great Holocaust reads, my 3 favorite that I have read thus far are: The Hiding Place, My Brother's Voice, and The 23rd Psalm.
I think that if you are a Christian the Lord will really work on your heart while reading The Hiding Place. Corrie is a Christian and trys to help hide Jews. Corrie, her father, and her sister are all caught and sent to concentration camps. This is story of her faith and strength. It amazes me in the worst of conditions that they take time to evangelize to people in the camps and praise God for the fleas. I am moved that they risk their lives for pages of a Bible. It is a must read!

My Brother's Voice is amazing! Stephen should have died so many times throughout his struggle against the Nazis. He is an amazing man of strength and will power. He is one of the only prisoners to come back from Death Bay- a place where you were only sent to die. You will cry many times for Stephen. It is a fairly new book because he did not publish it until after the death of his uncle. He was keeping a secret from his uncle about his uncle's family. He did not want his uncle to know some informaiton because it would have hurt him too much. He waited until after his uncle's death to release his unbelievable story. It is amazing that I have actually met Stephen Nasser on several occasions and have an autographed copy of his book. He comes each year to speak to my classes. You will not be disappointed with this read. It will help you to appreciate your family.

The 23rd Psalm was intense. I immediately connected to Lucius. I could not put the book down. I had to keep reading to see what would happen next to this young man. It is amazing to think of the journey through all the differnt camps that this young man went through. It is amazing how smart and what a quick thinker he was for being so young. Make sure to have your tissues close by.

I hope this post encourages you to read a Holocaust memoir. If one of these doesn't interest you, find one that does. These stories are inspirational, thought provoking, historical, and personal. The Holocaust was a huge injustice done to millions of people-- real people with real souls. The people who died deserve to have their voice heard and their story told. Listen.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." - Micah 6:8


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