Each time I read a book at about the Holocaust, I learn a bit more about this terrible time in our history.
In Survivors of the Holocaust True Stories of Six Extraordinary Children, a graphic novel (but in picture book size) edited by Kath Shackleton and illustrated by Zane Whittingham ($20.99, Raincoast Books, Sourcebooks explore), we get an abbreviated look at the stories of six young people during the Second World War. Each of these people now live in Leeds and many speak to schoolchildren about their experience so it won’t be forgotten, or happen again.
I wasn’t expected a graphic novel, although it’s a unique way to share these stories. The illustrations aren’t my favourite, but the harsh looking pictures and dark colours work well in sharing these six stories.
In Heinz’s story, you learn that eventually he and his parents joined his brother in Leeds, but because they were German, they were registered as an enemy aliens and interned, first in Britain and then in Canada. Neither he nor his brother were able to fight the Nazis. I realized Canada had internment camps, but I didn’t realize Jewish people were sent to them.
Trude, who didn’t see her parents again after March 28, 1939, found out what happened to her dad, (he was murdered at Auschwitz), but is still searching for information about her mom: “To me, family is the most important building block for human beings. And that is why I find it so hard today.”
Arek survived Auschwitz, among other ghettos and concentration camps.
“How could I say how it changed me? I’ll never forget what I went through. I suffered so much. It was the most horrific thing any human being could ever see. The word should never see that again.”
A copy of this book was provided by Raincoast Books for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.