The true story of a Jewish teenager who survived the Holocaust by passing as a Christian Pole.
Gucia Gomolinska was raised in a loving family in a Jewish neighborhood of Piotrków Trybunalski, in central Poland. When the Nazis came, blonde Gucia, then in her 20s, was able to escape the ghetto before its liquidation by changing her name to Barbara and obtaining false papers identifying her as Polish. Post-war, she reunited with the few miraculously surviving members of her family, married, and had a daughter. Upon realizing that they couldn’t return to Poland—surviving Polish Jews were sometimes massacred in pogroms—the young family settled in the United States with help from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. Told in the first person, this biography was based on interviews with both Barbara and her daughter, Helen. Loving depictions of pre-war Piotrków are filled with realistic touches that make its lost past palpable: teachers Barbara adored or disliked, interactions between the myriad youth groups, her early interest in politics, and her questions about religion. In an afterword by Helen we learn of Barbara’s disgust in witnessing racial hatred in the form of segregation after her arrival in the United States.
A rich exploration of a Holocaust survivor’s sheltered childhood, the atrocity that failed to destroy her, and her later life as an immigrant. (photographs, afterword, glossary) (Biography. 12-15)