'Sarah's Key'....... A book review.......
'Sarah's Key' was written by Titiana De Rosnay. It takes place in Paris, France, in the summer of 1942. During a two day period in July, thousands of Jewish families were brutally forced out of they're homes by the French police under the direction of the Nazi regime. The incident was known as the Velodrome' d' Hiver' round up.
According to the author,Titiana De Rosnay, the characters in the book are completely fictitious. However, the French round up was very real. Not much was known about the Velodrome d' Hiver until President Jacques Chirac acknowledged it in a public address in 1995.
The following is an excerpt from his address.......
"These black hours will stain our history for ever and are an injury to our past and our traditions. Yes, the criminal madness of the occupant was supported by the French, by the French state. Fifty-three years ago, on 16 July 1942, 450 policemen and gendarmes, French, under the authority of their leaders, obeyed the demands of the Nazis. That day, in the capital and the Paris region, nearly 10,000 Jewish men, women, and children were arrested at home, in the early hours of the morning, and assembled at police stations.... France home of the Enlightenment and the Rights of Man, land of welcome and asylum, France committed that day the irreparable. Breaking it's word, it delivered those it protected to their executioners."
In the book 'Sarah's Key' two stories actually run parallel to one another. One is the story of Sarah, a ten year old Jewish girl who was caught up in the horrific events of that summer in 1942. The other is the story of Julia, an American journalist living in Paris, who was asked to write a article commemorating the sixtieth anniversary of the Vel' d' Hiv. During her research of the events Julia discovers a secret that will change her life forever.
'Sarah's Key' is shocking at times and difficult to read. It is a story I will never forget and one that is haunting to think about even to this day. It helped to have the two stories running together as the story of Sarah is extremely compelling and heart wrenching. It leaves one wondering how these events could have ever taken place and yet we know they did. It leaves questions as to how the French police could have participated in the Velodrome' d' Hiver round up and turned on they're own people. Yet we know it happened. Maybe it didn't happen exactly like it did in the fictitious book 'Sarah's Key' but one can only imagine based on the authors research of the events.
In the book ''Sarah's Key' the police come to Sarah's home, pounding on the door, and yelling at her mother. Sarah becomes quite terrified and decides to protect her little brother by locking him in a secret closet in the home. She tells him to be very quiet and explains to him that she will be back to let him out later that day. Instead of coming home as expected though, she, along with her parents, and the rest of the Jewish people in the community are sent to a make shift refugee camp where they are forced to live in the most inhumane conditions. There is over crowding, no shelter, high temperatures, very little if any food or water, no medical supplies, and no sanitation of any kind. Sarah doesn't understand what's happening and questions her parents but they have no answers for her. No one has any answers as to why this is happening to them. There are only whispers among the people of the camp that Sarah sometimes over hears. After several days the men are separated from their families and put on a train that is heading to the gas chambers at Auschwitz. Next the women are taken.The children are then left alone to fend for themselves and wait. We learn of the horrific trials these innocent children were forced to endure.
I cannot say any more about the book here as I don't want to ruin it for anyone wanting to read it. I though the ending of the book was some what weak, but over all, I do think it's a book well worth reading.
A movie has been made based on the book and you can see the trailer by clicking the following link.http://youtu.be/LzDZ9e3mGRE