Gertruda's Oath - Ram Oren
Synopsis taken from Barnes and Noble website:
Trapped in the horrors of World War II, a woman and a child embark on a journey of survival in this page-turning true story that recalls the power and the poignancy of Schindler’s List.
Michael Stolowitzky, the only son of a wealthy Jewish family in Poland, was just three years old when war broke out and the family lost everything. His father, desperate to settle his business affairs, travels to France, leaving Michael in the care of his mother and Gertruda Bablinska, a Catholic nanny devoted to the family. When Michael's mother has a stroke, Gertruda promises the dying woman that she will make her way to Palestine and raise him as her own son.
Written with the invaluable assistance of Michael, now seventy-two and living in New York City, GERTRUDA’S OATH re-creates Michael and Gertruda’s amazing journey. Gripping vignettes bring to life the people who helped ensure their survival, including SS officer Karl Rink, who made it his mission to save Jews after his own Jewish wife was murdered; Rink’s daughter, Helga, who escaped to a kibbutz, where she lived until her recent death; and the Jewish physician Dr. Berman, who aided Michael and Gertruda through the worst of times.
I enjoy books about WWII and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's my inability to understand it that keeps me reading book after book.
The first thing I really noticed about this book is it did not read like a non fiction, it read like any fiction novel you would pick up off a shelf in a bookstore. Very nice for someone who doesn't care for the slower pace writing that non fiction books often take.
The book shares Michael and Gertruda's journey before, through and after the war. The journey they took was filled with so much heartache and suffering and yet they made it through. I felt so sad for the little boy who lost his parents at such a young age. We also got to me so many other people involved or directly affected by the war. It made for an enthralling yet difficult read.
Gertruda's Oath is an amazingly, heartbreaking tale to read. What a truly outstanding, loving, strong, woman she was. To give up so much for the love of a boy and the oath she gave his mother, is remarkable.
I am glad I got the opportunity to read this book and learn about Gertruda and Michael. It's a story that will stay with me for a long time to come and I would recommend reading it.