Born in 1929, Sasha experienced nothing but change in his young life. After his father died when he was only two years old, Sasha and his mother found it more difficult to live in Poland and when the Jews were ordered to the ghettos, Sasha’s mother was determined not to go. It was due to Sasha’s mother’s sheer determination and courage that they both survived the war, for they became two of the many Jews who lived as non-Jewish people during this time, for survival. As boys were stopped in the street and made to drop their pants to show if they were circumcised, proving they were Jewish, Sasha’s mother saw only one way to survive, Sasha must live as a girl. As he was only twelve years old, Sasha could easily pass as a girl, but as he grew older and suspicion was everywhere, it became harder for the two to survive. Many times they thought they were found out, living a life of fear. Helped by many, the reader is reminded of both the level of cruelness dealt by humans to others, but also the lengths to which many went to help others to survive.
This is Sasha and his mother’s story of life during this time, told from Sasha’s viewpoint in the first person, by his daughter. It is a riveting account of this atrocious time, showing a side of the war some may not be familiar with. This biography would make a good companion read to Morris Gleitzman’s Once series.
Many thanks to Penguin Random House for sending this book for review.