Irena's Gift

An Epic WWII Memoir of Sisters, Secrets, and Survival

Karen Kirsten

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Beschreibung

Weaving mystery, history and memoir, Irena's Gift is the captivating account of one woman's personal quest to uncover the unspoken and give voice to her family's secret war-torn history. From the glittering concert halls of interbellum Warsaw and the vermin-infested ghetto where an SS officer is convinced to save a Jewish child's life, to the author's upbringing in a Christian home,this is the story of resilience, sacrifice, Jewish identity, intergenerational trauma, and the secrets we keep to protect ourselves and those we love. For readers of When Time Stopped by Ariana Neumann, I Want You to Know We're Still Here by Esther Safran Foer, and House of Glass by Hadley Freeman. In 1942, in German-occupied Poland, a Jewish baby girl was smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto in a backpack. That baby, Joasia, knew nothing about this extraordinary event until she was thirty-two, when a letter arrived from a stranger. She also learned that the parents who raised her were actually her aunt and uncle. Joasia kept this knowledge hidden from her own daughter, Karenuntil an innocent question unexpectedly revealed the truth. Determined to understand the generational trauma that cloaked her family in silence, her own origins, and to help heal her mother's pain, Karen set out to unearth decades of secrets and piece together a hidden historyfrom the glittering days of pre-war Poland to the little-known Radom Prison, where of 500 resistance members tortured, only 10 survived, her grandfather the only known Jewish one. There, Karen finds answers, yet not easy ones. As she exposes her family's saga of love and betrayal, countless brushes with death, precarious hiding places, and the astounding negotiation with an SS officer who saved her mother's life, Karen must reconcile the complicated, multi-faceted truths behind human behavior.Irena's Giftweaves together a mystery, history, and memoir to tell a story of sacrifice, impossible choices, impossible odds, and the way trauma reverberates throughout generations. Yet it is also a story of resilience and bravery, revealing how love and hope, too, can not only prevail through the worst imaginable circumstances, but resonate through time.

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