Clara's War: One Girl's Story of Survival (Paperback)
This heart-stopping story of a young girl hiding from the Nazis is based on Clara Kramer's diary from her years surviving in an underground bunker with seventeen other people.
Clara Kramer was a typical Polish Jewish teenager from a small town at the outbreak of the Second World War. When the Germans invaded, Clara's family was taken in by the Becks, a Volksdeutsch (ethnically German) family from their town. Mr. Beck was known to be an alcoholic, a womanizer, and a vocal anti-Semite. His wife had worked as Clara's family's housekeeper. But on hearing that Jewish families were being led into the woods and shot, Beck sheltered the Kramers and two other Jewish families.
In all, eighteen people lived in a bunker dug out of the Becks' basement. Fifteen-year-old Clara kept a diary during the twenty terrifying months she was in hiding, writing down details of their unpredictable life, from the house's catching fire to Beck's affair with Clara's neighbor; the nightly SS drinking sessions in the room above to the small pleasure of a shared Christmas carp. Against all odds, Clara lived to tell her story, and her diary is now part of the permanent collection of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.
“This vividly detailed and taut narrative is a fitting tribute to the bravery of victims and righteous gentiles alike.”
“A superlative memoir of survival. . . . Few wartime memoirs convey with such harrowing immediacy the evil of the Nazi genocide. . . . Her book is a model documentary.”
-Daily Telegraph (London)
“Utterly compelling. At times, the tension is as high as in any thriller designed to stop your heart.”
-John Clare, The Sun-Herald (Australia)