All Our Worldly Goods

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Irene Nemirovsky died in Auschwitzconcentration camp along with perhaps over a million others.  She was from an enormously wealthy Jewish-Russian family that had to flee to France  during the 1917 Russian Revolution.  A celebrated author and  mother of two, Nemirovlsky converted toCatholicism yet her Jewish heritage was the cause of her death.
  Beforethe war she had attended the Sorbonne and begun writing at the age of 18.  She married a Jewish banker and had twochildren and she continued as a successful writer with several of her booksadapted as movies and a play.
  Fiveyears after her death, All Our WorldlyGoods was published.  It is a beautifulstory of love between a man and women from different classes who go against theirparent’s wishes and marry.  The wealthy demandingpatriarch makes life difficult for this couple who won’t deny their love inspite of his demands.  We follow thiscouple through the first World War and then suffer the horror of it happeningall over again for their children as Hitler comes to power.  All OurWorldly Goods is a lovely story of the resilience of the human spirit when thepower of love exits between two people.  Another recent addition to our collection is The Mirador: Dreamed Memories of Irene Nemirovsky By Her Daughter. 

X-Men Magneto Testament by Greg Pak

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I picked up this graphic novel because of the flashback scene in one of the X-Men movies about Magneto’s experience as a Jew during the Holocaust when he was a child. This graphic novel was absolutely amazing. It portrayed the Holocaust and the atrocities committed by the Nazis in a sensitive and powerful way with beautiful illustrations. It was also an interesting addition to the X-Men story and provided insight into the character of Magneto and his vehement and sometimes violent defense of mutant rights in the X-Men comics and movies. I don’t normally read the X-Men comics and graphic novels, and this graphic novel worked well as a stand-alone story. I wasn’t confused and didn’t feel like I needed background that I didn’t have. This book definitely read more like a story about a young Jewish boy growing up in Nazi Germany simply trying to survive Hitler’s Final Solution than like a superhero comic.

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

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It is Paris, 1942. Close your eyes and imagine!

You are a ten year old girl having breakfast with your Maman, Papa and little brother. A loud knock on the door! Police! Open up! She was afraid—her Papa had use strange words—roundups, early morning arrests. What could it mean?

Tatiana de Rosnay’s novel, Sarah’s Key, revolves around an actual historic event in German-occupied Paris, in the spring of 1942. The Vel’ d’ Hiv’ (Operation Spring Breeze) was a “round-up” of more than 13,000 Parisian Jews (mostly women and children) by the French police responding to a demand from the Nazis. Few, if any, of these Parisians would return from the death camps.

This story is told in alternating chapters by two people: One living in 1942 and the other living in modern day Paris.

In 1942, Sarah is a ten-year-old Parisian girl, born to Jewish parents. Her family is abruptly and brutally forced from their home and forever torn apart.

Julia, an American reporter, married to a modern day Frenchman, is assigned to investigate “the roundup” on the 60th Anniversary of the Vel’d’Hiv. She is shocked to find how little she, or anyone, knows about the roundup, and eventually the deaths of thousands of Parisian families.
Pivotal to this novel is the key in ten-year-old Sarah’s pocket. It opens the cupboard in which she has hidden her younger brother to hide him from the roundup. He’d be safe there, she was sure. The girl murmured his name and laid her palm flat on the wooden panel. “I’ll come back for you later. I promise.” -From Sarah’s Key, page 9-
As Julia pursues her research, she discovers that she and her French family may have connections to Sarah and her family; connections that will cause Julia to question her own life.