Rating: 3.5 Stars
In One Line:A young Jew, living by a Christian name, working under a Nazi Officer, in hopes of being reunited with her husband.
Genre: Historical Fiction
“Anna is something wrong?”
Yes I want to say. You ran a prison camp for Jews. You keep my parents locked in the ghetto. You let your wife’s father be killed and would kill Jacob too if given the chance. Your wretched Gestapo came to our house and now Lukasz might have to leave us. Let me count the ways. Of course I did not dare to say any of this. “No Herr Kommandant ” I replied managing to keep my voice even. “Everything is fine.”
People are known to wear different masks and play different roles and go to almost any extent in order to save their lives and survive. I can’t imagine what it must be like for those hundreds and thousands of people who had to go through the hell Nazi invasion brought with itself.
If you’ve been reading my blogs for a while now, you’d be aware that I’ve really grown fond of historical-fiction, specially the stories set during the World Wars.
Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff offers a different side of what it must be like for people trying to survive in a situation like that, and to what extent can they live their lives pretending to be someone they’re not.
A young girl, Emma, has had to face a whirlpool of emotions and go through some of the most confusing, frustrating and hurtful events to be able to survive in hopes of reuniting with her husband, Jacob. Jacob, a member of the resistance, had to flee after only a few weeks of their marriage urging her wife to discard anything that could lead her life to connect to his. A decision she made and kept a secret till the end.
The author takes us to Emma’s life in the ghetto with fellow Jews. We get an insight to the poor conditions and humiliation they’ve been put through. Killings, abandonments, children being separated from their parents, people dying of unhygienic environment.. there’s a lot that one can’t imagine going through.
Emma is lucky to enough to escape the ghetto but must not only leave behind her parents but also acquire a new identity – that of a Christian and a Nazi supporter – in order to keep herself, and all those supporting her, alive.
She now has to work for a Kommandant, one who’s responsible for killing countless Jews and the working of their camps.
While I’m well aware that a lot of information provided in this book must be incorrect and not in sync with the actual events, the author did manage to weave a good story. We got to see various sides of Emma and her battle with not just the situation but also herself and her values. And yet again, we get to witness the strength of love and hope and all that one can do for it.
Having said that, I’m not sure if I’d continue reading this book had it not been for its audio book. It felt a little slow paced while I was reading from the physical copy but that could well be because I was dealing with a lot of things in my life. So the audio book definitely helped me in finishing it and to find out that it’s a series of books – either a duology or a trilogy. While I’m not yet sure if I’ll pick the second in this series, I did quite enjoy the Kommandant’s Girl.
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