28 Days: A Novel of Resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto

Feiwel & Friends. Mar. 2020. 416p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250237149.
Gr 9 Up–Mira, a young Jewish woman surviving in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942, does whatever she can to keep what’s left of her family alive. Her father jumped to his death and her brother secured a spot among the hated Jewish police force, so Mira has only her grief-stricken mother and young sister, Hannah, to care for. After a bold young man saves her life while she’s smuggling food from the Polish side of the wall, Mira can’t seem to shake him from her mind. Happening upon him again and realizing he’s part of the Jewish underground resistance, she refuses his invitation to join the group. But then the Ghetto is liquidated and all its inhabitants are sent to concentration camps. Mira, Hannah, and their mother are able to avoid capture, but how long can they live in the walls? And what will Mira do if she loses those she loves most? The brutality of the Nazi regime is starkly portrayed: Orphans march to their deaths, parents choose to give their children cyanide rather than watch them be murdered by their captors, and there is a particularly triggering scene of attempted rape. Safier also explores the power of stories in buoying people’s hopes. Hannah’s young sister weaves a tale about the 777 Islands that holds its own narrative thread throughout the novel. Though translations can sometimes lose a little beauty of the original language, the story Safier shares of the 28 days of Jewish resistance after the Aktion in the Warsaw Ghetto is powerful indeed.
VERDICT A strong first purchase where historical fiction is in demand.

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