Hiding Edith: A True Story

Hiding Edith: A True Story
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Release Date
September 01, 2006
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Hiding Edith Tells The True story of Edith Schwalb, a young Jewish girl sent to live in a safe house after the Nazi invasion of France. Edith's story is remarkable not only for her own bravery, but for the bravery of those that helped her: an entire village, including its mayor and citizenry, heroically conspired to conceal the presence of hundreds of Jewish children who lived in the safe house. The children all went to the local school, roamed the streets and ate good food, all without having to worry about concealing their Jewish identity. And during Nazi raids, the children camped out until the coast was clear. Intensively researched and sensitively written, this book, illustrated with photographs and maps, both comforts and challenges a young reader's spirit, skillfully addressing both the horrors and hope that children experienced during the Holocaust.

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A tale of survival during World War II
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There are quite a few Holocaust books out there (including some really famous ones, like Night and The Diary of Anne Frank), many with somewhat similar (though all incredibly emotional and moving) stories. Hiding Edith is a little bit different. Or, at least, it tells a part of the story I was not familiar with before reading this book.

This is the true story of Edith Schwalb. She was a young Jewish girl growing up during World War II. Like many others, her family was split up as the parents do their best to protect their children. Luckily for Edith, she winds up in Moissac, France in a home for fugitive Jewish children put together by a young French Jewish couple, Shatta and Bouli Simon. France, at the time, was also under Nazi occupation, but the Simons and even the townspeople did their part to hide the children for as long as they could.

They also did their best to provide the children with escape identities (i.e. non-Jewish names and fictitious backgrounds) and to give them structure in a time of great upheaval. Edith meets many other refugees and brave people during her stay in Moissac.

When the children must be split up, the Simons do their best to continue protecting the children. At first, Edith is sent to a boarding school and has to pretend she is an orphan. Then, when increased bombing makes that location too dangerous, a hardworking and very kind farming family take Edith in and hide her. After the war is over, Edith is reunited with all of her family except her father. But, at age 14, she returned to Moissac to volunteer with Shatta and Bouli and ultimately winds up in Canada.

This is a Holocaust Remembrance Book for Young Readers, a series dedicated to bringing history to life. Recommended for readers aged 8 and up. This would be a good book to use in a classroom as well.
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