THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT: A Memoir

Roma Ligocka, Author, Iris Finckenstein, With THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT: A Memoir

As a young child, in the Krakow ghetto, Ligocka was known to everyone by the strawberry-red coat she always wore—an image that Steven Spielberg would use in Schindler's List, without knowing anything about Ligocka herself. Determined to tell her own story, Ligocka gives a harrowing, impressionistic account of her early memories of the ghetto: the men in shiny black boots with snarling dogs, the endless waiting in lines, people shot indiscriminately and her grandmother's seizure by SS officers while Ligocka hides under a table. Ligocka and her mother sneak out of the ghetto and are taken in by a Polish family; her father, taken to Auschwitz, escapes several years later. In a poignant episode, the little girl doesn't recognize this haggard specter who wants to embrace her. The memoir also describes Ligocka's youth in Communist Krakow: her career as an actress in theater and films, her struggle as an adult to confront her frightful memories and the weathering of new crises, from the passing of her parents to political turmoil in Poland. Though Ligocka's rendering of her early childhood voice isn't quite seamless (it sometimes sounds forced and too knowing), this doesn't take away from the power of her narrative, and readers may be particularly interested in her experiences as one of a tiny handful of Jewish survivors in Communist Poland. 30 b&w photos. (Sept. 16)

Reviewed on: 08/26/2002
Release date: 09/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-385-33740-3
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