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JACOB'S RESCUE by Malka Drucker


A Holocaust Story

by Malka Drucker & Michael Halperin

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-553-08976-5
Publisher: Bantam

 Left with an aunt when their widowed father escaped Poland in 1940 (``It's not safe for Jewish men...[but] No civilized country would hurt women and children''), Jacob Gutgeld and his brothers were sent to different hiding places outside the Warsaw Ghetto as the Nazis' intentions became evident. In 1941, Alex and Mela Roslan took Jacob in; at the risk of their lives and their children's, they deceived neighbors and German searchers, giving up one home, then another, on Jacob's behalf. His uncle, a doctor, prevailed on them to take in Jacob's brothers: Sholom, who died of scarlet fever, and later David, who--like Jacob--came to love the Roslans as parents. The authors fictionalize this true story with believable dialogue and dramatic scenes (Jacob being smuggled into a hospital for a life-saving operation; a vicious massacre in retaliation for Partisan activity) and frame it as an explanation to Jacob's daughter, who's meeting the Roslans for the first time--which helps bring the story closer to the present, as do photos of the boys and the Roslans, then and now. The story's immediacy is also enhanced by realistic minor discord--the Roslan boys' initial hostility, Mela's and Alex's debates over the choices they've made. After the war, the boys were sent to their father in Israel; the authorities' callous disregard of their bond with the Roslans is a bitter taste of war's lingering injustice. A fine, authentic account of quietly sustained heroism of the highest order. Afterword. (Fiction. 8+)