cover image Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love

Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love

Rebecca Frankel. St. Martin’s, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-26764-1

Journalist Frankel (War Dogs) recounts in this gut-wrenching yet inspirational history how a Polish Jewish family survived the Holocaust by hiding in the Bial owiez a Forest in eastern Poland for almost two years. The story is framed by college student Philip Lazowski’s chance reconnection, in the U.S. in 1953, with Miriam Rabinowitz, the woman who had saved his life in April 1942 by claiming him as her own child during the first “selection” of Jews in the Zhetel ghetto. Drawing on extensive interviews with the Rabinowitz family and other survivors, Frankel recreates their desperate struggle to stay alive during the liquidation of the ghetto in August 1942. Amid the grim details, including adults suffocating infants in order to prevent their cries from revealing hiding spots, Frankel weaves in moments of remarkable resilience and good fortune. In particular, she describes how lumber dealer Morris Rabinowitz used his familiarity with the forest and relationships with local Christian farmers to help keep his family and other Jewish refugees alive until the Soviets took control of the area in 1944. The stroke of luck that led to Lazowski’s reunion with Miriam Rabinowitz and his marriage to her daughter Ruth in 1955 mirrors the random twists of fate that enabled the family to survive, while so many others didn’t. Readers will be on the edge of their seats. (Sept.)