CHILDREN OF ZION by Henryk Grynberg


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 After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Russia was swift to seize large chunks of Polish territory. Polish Jews driven east were treated with a mixture of brutality and disregard by the Russians. Many were shipped off to labor camps in Siberia; some were allowed to emigrate in 1942, first to Iran with units of the newly formed Polish army, then to Palestine. Grynberg, a Polish novelist and poet, has drawn passages from the testimony of some of the small band of Jewish children who reached Palestine to document their horrific suffering. In an attempt, apparently, to stress the universality of these experiences, he has assembled chapters (``When War Broke Out,'' ``We Knew We Were Dying'') consisting of paragraphs drawn from a number of individual depositions, run without authorial commentary. Thus a variety of voices tend to blend into one voice, with recollections--of atrocities witnessed, towns burned, families murdered or dispersed--overlapping. While this method does give the recollections an almost hypnotic power of incantation, a kind of swelling chorus of grief and loss, it may prove somewhat frustrating to those wanting additional historical background. A terse, curious, but nonetheless powerful work.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-8101-1353-8
Page count: 175pp
Publisher: Northwestern Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1997