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Hiding Edith: A True Story [Paperback]

Kathy Kacer

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Book Description

May 31 2006 Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers

Hiding Edith is the remarkable story of a young girl and the village that helped her. Its mayor and citizens concealed the presence of hundreds of Jewish children who lived in a safe house.

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From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–Edith Schwalb was one of many Jewish children who were hidden by the Jewish Scouts of France in a large house in the village of Moissac. The townspeople helped to protect the children, warning the house mother of Nazi raids, during which time the young scouts disappeared into the hills on camping trips. Schwalb's story is told from the beginning of her family's hardships through the end of the war, and includes the typical privations and separations of Holocaust memoirs. What makes this book unique is the depiction of a special refuge that managed to save every resident child, except one who was removed by her parents. An introduction provides basic World War II history. Black-and-white photographs personalize the story. While the dialogue and emotions are somewhat fictionalized and certain facts have been compressed (as explained in the epilogue), the book seems to be a good reflection of the subject's experiences.–Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In her latest book, Kacer recounts some extraordinary history: in Moissac, France, under Nazi occupation, a French Jewish couple hid 100 Jewish refugee children--with the support of the townspeople. Kacer, who based her account on interviews, tells the story of one child, Edith Schwalb. Captioned black-and-white photos on almost every page show Edith at home in Vienna before the war, then in Belgium, and then, separated from her parents, living with the rescuers. She remembers her intense longing for her family even as she is kept busy with chores, school, homework, choir, and camping trips. Part of the Holocaust Remembrance Series for Young Readers, which also includes Kacer's The Underground Reporters (2005), this account of survivors, each story a triumph in the darkness of genocide, uses the truth of a young child's viewpoint to move readers and bring the history close. Link this to Howard Greenfield's The Hidden Children (1993). Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 2007 Association of Jewish Libraries Notable Book for Older Readers Jan. 28 2007
By Rachel Kamin - Published on Amazon.com
Through the story of Edith Schwalb Gelbard, who survived the Holocaust by continually moving and hiding, the reader can relate to the situation in Europe before World War II, the plight of the Jews, the virtue of righteous Gentiles who helped them, and the courage and strength it took to survive the war. Edith was a young girl enjoying life with her family in Vienna in 1938. After the Anschluss, the situation deteriorated quickly, and the Schwalbs were forced to move to Belgium, escaping mostly at night and on foot. Once the Nazis took over there and Edith's father was arrested, the family moved to the "free zone" of France, again seeking safety. By this time, Edith's younger brother, Gaston, was born. They soon learn that Vichy France may be worse than they thought; the government enthusiastically collaborates with the Nazis. Seeing no alternatives, Edith's mother and older sister go to work as maids in non-Jewish homes, and Edith and Gaston are sent to a special school in Moissac, where they meet other children who have been sent there for their protection. Shatta and Bouli Simon administer the school with strict yet loving involvement, and Edith is content as she makes friends. The town's citizens are aware of the school and protect its inhabitants by warning when Nazis come to town. The students go off into the words camping until the danger has passed. But soon it is too dangerous, and Edith is sent to a Catholic school to hide. When that area is bombed, she is placed with a family. As the war ends, she returns to Moissac, and reunites with her mother, sister and brother. Her father died in Auschwitz. Edith now lives in Toronto with her family.

The book is written simply, so the story is not overshadowed by flowery narrative. With this simple retelling, the horror and inhumanity of the Holocaust are portrayed without graphic descriptions of atrocities, and the story of a little girl who must move from country to country and home to home is one to which the average reader can relate. This book is recommended for all libraries. REVIEWED BY KATHE PINCHUCK (BLOOMFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY - BLOOMFIELD, NJ)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hiding Edith, A True Story Oct. 12 2006
By Jewish Book World Magazine - Published on Amazon.com
This is a beautifully written true story of Edith Schwalb, a Jewish girl from Vienna, and her journey to survival. Her adventure begins in May, 1938, and continues till the end of the war. Her family escapes first to Belgium, and then to the south of France, always trying to keep away from the Nazis. The middle of the war finds Edith being protected in Moissac, France, whose many residents conspire to keep the secret of a school's existence and that of its hundred Jewish children in hiding. Her bravery is remarkable, as is the courage of those who help to save her, such as Shatta and Bouli Simon. The Simons are a young couple who run the safe house in Moissac and teach the children what skills they need to survive. This is an easy-to-read memoir, although it is a sad and touching story. It is told from the point of view of Edith, who matures from a seven-year old girl at the start of the war. Her thoughts and fears are clearly delineated. She is moved to different locations during the war, and finally is re-united with much of her family. Her sister and brother live to survive the war. Photographs of the family, the schools Edith attended, and some historical events illustrate the text, and make it real. The author is a prolific chronicler of Jewish history for children who has won many awards for her writing. For ages 9-12. Reviewed by Shelly Feit
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for sensitive children Aug. 21 2012
By Mazwegian - Published on Amazon.com
A very good book. But a word of caution. There seems to be a push to educate rather young children as in 9 and 10 years old on Naziism and the Second World War.
If your child is sensitive then I would not recommend this book. Alone it is OK, but my experience is that it is being read in conjuction with other similar themed books (think Boy in Striped Pyjamas etc) which I feel is too much for young children to absorb. The horrors of the Second World War are difficult for adults to comprehend, so I don't know why we are asking children to. I know of two children, both smart and bright, who are receiving counselling due to reading too many books like this. In itself it is a heartwarming book (Edith is saved) but bright children can understand the backdrop (many Jewish children are not) and yet are not emotionally mature or tough enough to deal with it. I feel the subject matter is more appropriate for children aged 13 and up.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Sept. 19 2014
By Kylie Sherrington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Two words to describe it heart warming

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