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Simon Schochet.

Vancouver, November House, c1983.
175pp, paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-920156-12-6.

Grades 10 and up.
Reviewed by A. Louise Nordin.

Volume 12 Number 2
1984 March

Born in Poland of Jewish parents, Schochet managed to survive Dachau where his family perished. His rehabilitation began not far from Munich, at Feldafing, where a camp for displaced persons arose.

Near the end of World War II, survivors of concentration and labour camps straggling here grew and grew in number, condition, and origin. Wrecks of humankind they were, unsure and frightened, so slowly finding their way back to some semblance of the individuals they had once been. We watch their pain, their confusion, their courage. Not everyone endured through the year, spring 1945 to spring 1946; there were casualties.

Though episodic in form, the book is a unified whole, first-person narration supplying continuity. Even readers very familiar with many an account, picture, or film of Holocaust details are, in turn, shocked, horrified, or surprised, but always deeply moved. We are taken beyond the Holocaust into the minds and hearts of those struggling to do more than survive.

Simple, straightforward language and style give to this, Schochet's first book, immediacy and power of impact. Each verbal sketch is allowed to speak for itself; the author does not weaken his work by stooping to explain, denounce, or excuse.

A. Louise Nordin, Edmonton, AB
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