Saturday, February 29, 2020

An Analysis of Child of the Holocaust by Jack Kuper

There have been many memorable books concerning the holocaust but I dont think any have touched me in the way that Child of the Holocaust did. This book follows the true experiences of the author at 9 years old as he struggles to hide his identity, his faith and everything about his life, in order to survive. He is so resilient and has an amazing way of being filled with hope even when totally consumed by fear. What stays with me the most though, is the authors lack of self-pity through all of it. I found this book impossible to put down and yet at times, the all too vivid images which the author describes were difficult to face. This book is so different from any other that I have read on this subject and I had problems trying to pinpoint why. Perhaps it is the point of view of a child that makes it more tragic and heart-wrenching. Perhaps it is his obvious innocence and the fact that he was often cast aside by those he sought protection from. Perhaps it is that at times, it seems the only person who had compassion and respect for life was the author himself. This is a book that will not soon be forgotten. I can also say it is one of the few books I have ever read, that has made me want to turn back to the beginning and read it again right away. There is a sequel which is titled After the Smoke Cleared but looking around, it is really hard to find. I am hoping though that like Child of the Holocaust it will be printed again. Note: Even if you read this many years ago you might want to read it again as this new edition states it has been substantially revised by the author. For those who are film buffs there was also a televised play by Jack Kuper about his life. It was in 1960, shown by the CBC and was titled Sun in My Eyes. As we learn in the book, the title comes from a polish myth that Jews could not see the sun. Research shows that this is probably the first time the CBC addressed the subject of the holocaust directly. This unique childhood memoir of the Holocaust has been praised as powerful (Cincinnati Enquirer), touching (Jewish Digest), and heartbreaking (Library Journal). A true story of rare beauty and remarkable power, it has become an enduring classic. One day, when Jacob Kuperblum was eight, he came home to his town in Poland. His family and friends were gone, rounded up by the Germans only hours earlier. He would never see them again. Thus begins a journey of survival as a young boy travels from town to town in a desperate search for safety and shelter, growing up in fear, deprived of his home and his people and even his identity. All that survived was his spirit and his indomitable will to live. Child of the Holocaust is the acclaimed account of Jacob Kuperblum an unforgettable and moving tale of adversity and triumph. Jack Kuper was only nine years old when he came home to find everyone in his family gone. The night before, Germans had come to his village in rural Poland and taken away all the Jews. Now alone in the world, he has to change his name, forget his language and abandon his religion in order to survive. Jack wanders through Nazi occupied Poland for four years, with no place to hide and no one to trust. The harrowing true story of how he survives has been hailed as a classic, as powerful as The Diary of Anne Frank. It has been in print in various editions in English and a dozen other languages since 1966. For a new edition released this year in Canada, Jack Kuper revisited the manuscript for the first time since he wrote it more than 40 years ago. He was able to include the correct names of those who helped him and to add new material. Jack Kuper escaped Poland and immigrated to Canada at the age of 15. He spent much of his career in advertising, producing and directing award-winning TV commercials. As a filmmaker he has written and directed several shorts. His film RUN! was honoured at the Venice Film Festival. He is also the author of After the Smoke Cleared, the sequel to this book. He now lives in Toronto with his wife Terrye and speaks often to groups about his experiences during the Holocaust.

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