Book Review ~ Into the Forest


Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love

by Rebecca Frankel


Synopsis:
From a little-known chapter of Holocaust history, Rebecca Frankel’s Into the Forest is one family’s inspiring true story of love, escape, and survival.

In the summer of 1942, the Rabinowitz family narrowly escaped the Nazi ghetto in their Polish town by fleeing to the forbidding Bialowieza Forest. They miraculously survived two years in the woods―through brutal winters, Typhus outbreaks, and merciless Nazi raids―until they were liberated by the Red Army in 1944. After the war they trekked across the Alps into Italy where they settled as refugees before eventually immigrating to the United States.

During the first ghetto massacre, Miriam Rabinowitz rescued a young boy named Philip by pretending he was her son. Nearly a decade later, a chance encounter at a wedding in Brooklyn would lead Philip to find the woman who saved him. And to discover her daughter Ruth was the love of his life.

From a little-known chapter of Holocaust history, one family’s inspiring true story.


My thoughts: This is yet another good book from WWII, written by Rebecca Hankel. It focuses on the Rabinowitz family and their experiences after escaping to the forest to avoid capture by the Nazis. I enjoy reading about different aspects of this time period to further my knowledge of history. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Rebecca Frankel, and the publisher.


Into the Forest

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press – 352 pages
Publication: Sep 7th , 2021
My rating: 4/5 STARS


About the author: Rebecca Frankel is the author of New York Times bestselling book, War Dogs: Tales of Canine Heroism, History, and Love. She is former executive editor at Foreign Policy magazine. Her work has appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and National Geographic, among others. A Connecticut native, she lives in Washington, DC.


Book Review ~ WE SHARE THE SAME SKY

We Share the Same Sky: A Memoir of Memory & Migration

by Rachael Cerrotti


Synopsis:
In 2009, Rachael Cerrotti, a college student pursuing a career in photojournalism, asked her grandmother, Hana, if she could record her story. Rachael knew that her grandmother was a Holocaust survivor and the only one in her family alive at the end of the war. Rachael also knew that she survived because of the kindness of strangers. It wasn’t a secret. Hana spoke about her history publicly and regularly. But, Rachael wanted to document it as only a granddaughter could. So, that’s what they did: Hana talked and Rachael wrote.


Upon Hana’s passing in 2010, Rachael discovered an incredible archive of her life. There were preserved albums and hundreds of photographs dating back to the 1920s. There were letters waiting to be translated, journals, diaries, deportation and immigration papers as well as creative writings from various stages of Hana’s life.


Rachael digitized and organized it all, plucking it from the past and placing it into her present. Then, she began retracing her grandmother’s story, following her through Central Europe, Scandinavia, and across the United States. She tracked down the descendants of those who helped save her grandmother’s life during the war. Rachael went in pursuit of her grandmother’s memory to explore how the retelling of family stories becomes the history itself.


We Share the Same Sky weaves together the stories of these two young women — Hana as a refugee who remains one step ahead of the Nazis at every turn, and Rachael, whose insatiable curiosity to touch the past guides her into the lives of countless strangers, bringing her love and tragic loss. Throughout the course of her twenties, Hana’s history becomes a guidebook for Rachael in how to live a life empowered by grief.


My thoughts: This is a well written story about the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor who decides to write her grandmother’s story. But she also goes one better and retraces her footsteps by going to Europe and visiting all of the same places her grandmother went during and after the war. It;s such a touching thing to do in her grandmother’s memory, and really makes the whole thing come together. I couldn’t get enough of this book, it shared so much of Hana’s original journey. The author even looked up the families of the people who had helped Hana during the war, to keep her safe and well. I think it’s a wonderful book, very readable. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Rachael Cerrotti, and the publisher.


We Share The Same Sky


Publisher: Blackstone Publishing – 250 pages
Publication: Aug 17th , 2021
My rating: 5/5 STARS


About the Author– Rachael Cerrotti is an award-winning photographer, writer, educator and producer whose work has been featured on NPR, PRIs The World, WBUR, WGBH, as well as taught in classrooms worldwide. In 2019, she produced a podcast (also titled We Share the Same Sky) about her grandmother’s war story for USC Shoah Foundation, which was listed as one of the best podcasts of 2019 by HuffPost and as a Show We Love by Apple Podcasts. Rachael is currently based in her hometown of Boston. Learn more at RachaelCerrotti.com and ShareTheSameSky.com