Touch Wood: A Girlhood in Occupied France

Hano Renee Roth, Author, Renee Roth-Hano, Author Four Winds $16.95 (297p) ISBN 978-0-02-777340-8
The author writes of her life in Paris beginning in 1940, after her family has left their home in Alsace, which the Germans want to annex. Despite the restrictions being set daily for French citizens and especially for Jews, her parents provide their daughters with a safe haven, where other relatives are welcomed with fanfare and rejoicing, no matter how humble the accommodations. But friends and acquaintances start to disappear from Paris, taken away in the middle of the night by the police or soldiers. Roth-Hano and her sisters are sent to a Catholic women's residence in Normandy, where the girls remain until the German surrender. Told in diary-like entries, the author recreates compelling scenes from her past: breaking curfew to spend time with a friend; escaping out the back door of a friend's home as police come through the front door and take the family away; living through the bombing of the Normandy invasion; returning home, at last, to her parents. She conveys these memories with clear recall of the hunger felt during food rationing, of the effort of working through the religious dissonance of Catholicism and Judaism, and of the sorrowwithout self-pityfor the terrors around her. Ages 10-14. (May)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1988
Release date: 07/01/1988
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