Sarah's Stars

Allan Zullo & Mara Bovsun. Survivors
Scholastic  $4.99  ISBN 0-439-6696-0  196 pg.
Reviewed by Melissa, Age 13

At first, you find it hard to believe people were hated for their religion. Cast out of their homes, turned-on by people who they thought were their friends. Sent to death-camps where they gassed you, and you thought you were having a shower.  Tortured to death. Shot down with hundreds of others at a time. Labor camps. Being put to work burying dead bodies. Putting up with severe malnutrition and illness. Having to watch others, who are too weak to go on around you, drop to the ground, then shot for that. Knowing that any minute, hour or day could be your last. Yes, hard to believe, but itís even harder when you are only eight years old.

The book, Survivors, was passionately, and inspiringly written. These true stories of nine children that lived through the Holocaust, grasped me and showed me their fear, showed me their simple wishes to be allowed to read and learn at schools. It showed me how the Jewish had to put up with people hating them, thanks to Hitlerís plan of anti-Semitism. They had to walk about town cautiously, so as not to be shot, beaten up or taken away to a death-camp never to return. If you did not have the Star of David on you, mark of a Jew, it was punishable by death. Helping the Jewish hide was also dealt with that way. The harsh reality of these stories took me by surprise, and more than ever it made me fall in love with the nine different stories and people of ages that were hardly under ten when the Nazis started their tirade.

I could literally feel my own stomach twist, when a family member died or when they thought they were going to die. I could feel my spirits soar  when they lived, or were set free. I could see the dead bodies, and smell the rank cabins and hiding places. I could hear the terrible screams. I could hardly believe that these people were only children! I was mortified when I saw what was done to them, and only for their beliefs! I could hardly contain my anger throughout the book. It was so well written, that I only recommend this for thirteen years and up. The brutality may be too much for anyone younger.

Five stars. Need I say more? This book showed me a lot more of what it was like for the Jewish, and I wish I could have done something. It sort of puts a small ache in your heart to know that millions died at the hands of the Nazi armies.


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