Barbara Barnett's long fascination with the lives of a group of 148 Slovakian children is here at last realised in print. The contributors - some of whose stories are told by Barbara, others whose memoirs appear in their own words - are survivors of anti-Semitic atrocities perpetrated by Slovak fascists from 1939 until 1944 and later by the invading Nazis. In 1948, as a Communist regime was about to take over, Dr Solomon Schonfeld - an English rabbi with a mission to protect and sustain surviving Jewish children - appeared in their lives offering a year of recuperation and traditional Jewish education in England or the Republic of Ireland. The book is illustrated throughout with archive documents, newspaper cuttings and treasured family photographs. The first part, with maps by Martin Gilbert, provides an historical, cultural and biographical introduction to the very personal reminiscences that follow. The survivors represent a cross-section of the Slovak Jewish population, a mix of town and country origin and of social levels. We read not only of how they left Slovakia, but of how their lives developed - of their achievements in gaining financial independence, managing impressive careers and creating new families. It is an inspiring record.
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