For twelve-year-old Mala Szorer, life in the small Polish town of Tarnogrod, in the district of Lublin, was an unbroken succession of golden days. Poverty and primitive facilities could not diminish the joys and warmth of her Jewish environment and the thrill of a blossoming education. Even the worsening anti-Semitism of the Poles in the years before the war, could not dampen young Mala's exuberance and joie de vivre. Then war struck like a bolt of lightning out of a clear blue sky, and Mala's idyllic child's world disintegrated. Because of her blonde hair and blue eyes and her fluency in the Polish language, Mala was able to slip away from the ghetto and forage for food for her starving family. But one day, upon returning from one of her forays, she discovers the ghetto surrounded and its people being herded off for deportation. From this point on, until the end of the war, Mala is alone. Alone in the Forest is the story of Mala's survival in the hostile world of Polish peasants, villagers and forest people. It is a story of resourcefulness, audacity and extraordinary heroism but it is also a story of excruciating loneliness. Torn away from the embrance of her family and all contact with Jewish people, Mala often images that she is the last Jew on earth. Nonetheless, she is determined to live her life according to the Jewish values she absorbed in the home of her parents. Alone in the Forest is the tenth volume in The Holocaust Diaries Collection. Several more volumes are presently in preparation.
by Mala Karenberg
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