Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sarah's Key

Author:  Tatiana de Rosnay
Year: 2007
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages:  293

In July 1942 Paris, thousands of Jewish people living in Paris are rounded up by French police. They are taken to a stadium and held there for a couple of days before being transported to concentration camps. Many of their journeys ended at Auschwitz. Most of these people were children born in France. That part of the book is true. 

Sarah's Key follows the fictional life of ten year old Sarah. Her family is awakened in the middle of the night and taken by the French police. At the last minute, Sarah hides her four year old brother in a cupboard in their bedroom and locks him in with promises that she'll be back soon to get him out. Sarah believes that she and her parents will return in hours. Instead, they're taken to the stadium and then the concentration camp. 

The story jumps back and forth between Sarah's story and a modern day story of an American report, Julia, living in Paris. In doing a story, Julia stumbles upon Sarah's story and becomes obsessed with following her trail and learning what happened to Sarah and her family.

This is a heartbreaking, beautiful, tragic story. Even having a good idea as to what happened with Sarah's brother from reading the back of the book, it still broke my heart. But the true story underneath the fictional story got to me also. I never learned anything about Jews in France being rounded up and taken to concentration camps. It just never occurred to me that those things happened in non-Germanic countries. Between this book and Unbroken, I am learning that my history classes in school were sorely lacking as to what really happened in history.


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