ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATE by Yuri Suhl

ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GATE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Even more than Suhl's own novel of Jewish resisters (Uncle Misha's Partisans, KR, 1973) and like so much of, say, I.B. Singer, this is a factually accurate, modern story that reads like a folktale, and that turns the sufferings of Polish Jews under Nazism into a parable of hope and survival. Thus while Suhl transcribes the whole horror of the ghetto -- round-ups, murders, rats, 300 calorie-a-day rations -- the emphasis is on a victory. This deals with Hershel and Lena's successful plot to smuggle their child, who has been born and reared in secret because of the Nazi ban on Jewish pregnancies, out of the ghetto and into the home of a Polish family who adopt it out of friendship. SuM does include some Poles who are less sympathetic to Jews (to say the least), and he can't be faulted for lack of realism. Within its own limitations, the tale is touching and ultimately inspiring, yet even young readers may find it difficult to reconcile the extreme circumstances with the archetypal impersonality of Hershel and Lena and the consequently restricted emotional range.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1975
Page count: 151pp
Publisher: Franklin Watts