Inge: A Girl's Journey through Nazi Europe

Inge: A Girl's Journey through Nazi Europe

Inge: A Girl's Journey through Nazi Europe

Inge: A Girl's Journey through Nazi Europe

Synopsis

In early 1939, after Kristallnacht, young Inge Joseph's family in Germany is broken apart, and her desperate mother sends her alone to Brussels to live with wealthy relatives. But she soon finds herself one of a hundred Jewish children fleeing for their lives following Hitler's invasions of Belgium and France. For a time, in 1941 and 1942, it seems as if Inge and the others have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, as they find shelter through the Swiss Red Cross in an idyllic fifteenth-century French chateau. Inge even finds love there. But the rumors and horrors of the Holocaust are never far away, and eventually French gendarmes surprise the children, taking them from their protectors to a nearby transit camp. In their desperate attempts to escape, Inge and her boyfriend face unexpected life-and-death decisions - wrenching decisions that will haunt Inge for the rest of her life. manuscript, found after her death; David Gumpert has also drawn from Inge's personal letters, from the recollections of friends, relatives, and people who were with her in Europe, and from his own close relationship with his aunt. One of the most dramatic stories of Christian rescue of Jewish children during the Holocaust, Inge is at the same time a totally frank account of the life and feelings of a teenage girl struggling to survive the Holocaust on her own - and of how the effects of that experience reverberated through her life and on into the lives of her descendants. No matter how or why one reads it, Inge is a story of survival not soon to be forgotten.

Excerpt

It is often said that we gain a fresh perspective on life by observing children. Inge is a view of the Holocaust from a child’s perspective. As the Holocaust descended on Europe during the late 1930s and early 1940s, many thousands of Jewish children were separated from their parents and left to fend for themselves. They wandered among such countries as Belgium, Holland, Denmark, France, Spain, and Switzerland — sometimes under adult supervision and sometimes not, but always trying to avoid capture by the Nazis or being turned over to the Nazis.

Many of these children, of course, were caught and sent to concentration camps where they were killed. Others did manage to elude the evermore-intensive Nazi dragnet.

Dramatic stories involving children who managed to hide out or who were hidden by heroic Christians in Nazi-occupied Europe have been published over the years. What has received less attention, however, is how children dealt with the seemingly endless family, religious, political, and other dilemmas raised by their situations. How much assistance should they expect from well-off relatives? Should they continue to practice their religion? Should they actively resist adults who abused them? Should they share their limited food rations with others who had even less? What should they ask of non-Jews in a position to help? Should they go meekly to death or stand up to Nazi captors?

Beyond these external dilemmas were the internal ones — coping not only with anxiety about possible capture by the Nazis, but also with feelings of abandonment, loneliness, rejection, and anger. In many cases, the . . .

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