Born in Antwerp, Belgium, to Jewish parents, Cirla was just five years old when the Germans invaded in 1940 and in this enlightening account she describes the traumatic effect of the Holocaust on her own family, as witnessed from a young child’s point of view.
As an innocent observer, unable to comprehend the events taking place around her, Cirla’s recollections have a dreamlike quality that makes them all the more poignant.
Cirla spent several years of her young life locked indoors, afraid to go near the window, keeping herself amused as best she could while trying to make sense of her situation via overheard snippets of adult conversation. She and her Mother were joined in hiding by a variety of fellow refugees from the Nazis, including members of the resistance and a shot-down RAF airman, all sheltered by courageous Belgian civilians who put their own lives at risk to help them.
Cirla describes her family and and those who sheltered them with great warmth and affection; we get to know them personally and care what happens to them. When at last the war is over and Cirla and her mother are liberated, we share their joy, but we must also share their sadness for the awful truth they will soon discover, that while they have been in hiding, Cirla’s beloved father and all four of her grandparents have been transported to Auschwitz, never to return.