Customer Reviews: The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow
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on April 3, 2010
The many customer reviews on THE GIRL WITH THE GREEN SWEATER reflect readers' impressions with the tribulations endured by Krystyna, a seven year old girl. They are touched profoundly by the indomitable spirit manifested by eleven people staying for fourteen months in a sewer. I am prompted to comment about Socha's characteristics and about his two coworkers, Wroblewski and Kowalow.

Leopold Socha was a ruffian. Most of his life, since adolescence, had been spent behind bars. When he met and married Wanda she convinced him to turn his life around. He had rediscovered his Catholic roots. He learned in the church that by helping others, you can help yourself. He came to believe that he might absolve himself of past sins by becoming a decent and a compassionate person.

When Socha had met Ignacy Chiger, Krystyna's father, along with several other persecuted Jews on their exploration into a sewer, he offered his help. The actual risk to Socha's life, as well as to the life of his two coworkers, outweighed the initial recompense from Chiger. Only the human kindness of those three men stood between them and certain death for the twenty two, which later dwindled to eleven, Jewish people. Socha and Wroblewski were crawling through the sewage, two kilometers each way, to bring food and other basic necessities to the people living in a dungeon. They provided the downtrodden with access to the outside world. Socha's wife, Wanda, who had no love for Jews, had tried incessantly to dissuade her husband's from helping them. Socha listened to the dictates of his heart and kept his loyalty to the persecuted Jews whose life depended on him. Socha even prepared shelters for them when the Russian liberators arrived. Socha was a wonderful human being, a righteous person among many wicked Nazis and their Ukrainian collaborators as well as some Polish sympathizers.

A German woman who risked her life to help me during the Holocaust, as narrated in my book "From A Name to A Number," is my heroine till the last day of my life. Now, so is Leopold Socha. Tragically, Socha was killed after the war in a traffic accident. I hope that God had rewarded Socha for his noble deeds.

THE GIRL WITH THE GREEN SWEATER is a truly amazing life story. It is heart-breaking, very informative and well written. Although I had personally experienced and witnessed atrocities committed by the Nazis, I find this book very informative and it enhances my knowledge about the Holocaust and its ramifications. Thanks Krystyna for writing this book.
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VINE VOICEon April 15, 2009
This book was absolutly fantastic. It tells of the story of this families struggle with communist Russia and then the invasion of the German Nazi's in Poland.
The unbelievably cruel acts of the Germans and the SS black guards will break you heart.
She vividly recalls her possesions going to the germans, the lack of food, the hiding places her ingenius father made and the long hours of boredom and fear the family had to face.
When they are finally hunted down like rabbits they escape to the sewers of Lvov.
Dank, terrible and dark, they live in these sewers for over a year, aided by a kind benefactor, a catholic sewer worker.
This is a amazing tale of truth, fear and courage in the face of inbeatable odds.
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on April 10, 2009
This book was gripping, riveting, well-written....I was unable to put it down. I was compelled to finish this book. I will never forget the author's story, and urge everyone to read it. Inspiring!
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on January 16, 2009
This is an amazing story. The descriptions of life in the Lvov ghetto are just a lead up to the story of survival in the sewers. The conflicts between the group of people hiding, their living conditions and how they were helped (and saved) are given with outstanding detail and honesty. This book is an important document for those interested in the Holocaust.
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on June 11, 2011
Normally a reader of science fiction/fantasy/historical fiction, I saw this and decided to expand my reading beyond what I deem "comfortable". I expected a book about a family's struggle in WWII. I expected to hear how bad it was, how gross the sewer was, and how mean the Germans were. I was prepared for this, but I was not prepared for the challenge this book presented to me, personally.

This book opens up extremes of humanity in a way that I rarely take time to seriously ponder. Themes of love, family, prejudice, apathy, trust, selfishness, and perseverance flow freely and in great detail. A father risks everything to save the lives of his wife and children, while another abandons his wife and young daughter to the Gestapo. A young sewer worker puts his life on the line do the right thing, while another walks away and turns a blind eye. As the book came to a close, I found myself asking, who would I be under these circumstances? If my freedoms, my dignity, my comfortable life was stripped away from me, who would I be? I can honestly say I don't know the answer, but I know what I'd like it to be.

While the book is primarily serious in nature, it is certainly not without humor. I found myself laughing out loud at little Krzysha's hair-cutting skills (what a clever girl!) and the rivalry between Ignacy Chiger and General Grzymek is darkly humorous. (Thankfully, this was read on Kindle, so those around me would not see the cover and think I was laughing about a book on the Holocaust!) I became entirely lost in the story, enamored with the characters, and anxious to see them succeed in the end. Well written and engaging, The Girl in the Green Sweater comes with high recommendations for anyone's summer reading list.
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on October 20, 2009
While I can't say that most of the events in this book are surprising (since we know of the cruelty and evil of the Nazis), it is still a harrowing story. I love the fact that the author is able to speak in the voice of her 7 year old self, and it is agonizing to imagine what affect each of these events had on this little girl.
This is a story of love, of survival, of courage and of family love, so utlimately it is uplifting.
This is deinitely a worthy addition to Holocaust literature, most especially because it is personal and told through the eyes of an innocent.
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on April 2, 2012
Krystyna Chiger has written a moving memoir of her family's struggle to stay alive during the Holocaust. The Chigers enjoyed a relatively prosperous life in pre-war Lwow in Poland. Their fortunes turned when first the Soviets occupied the city and then the Nazis. The Chigers, like all of Lwow's Jews, were forced into the ghetto where they awaited certain death. Krystyna's father joined other Jews in burrowing down into the city's sewers where they were met by Leopold Socha, a Polish sewer worker who promised to help them for a price.

When the Nazis liquidated the ghetto in 1943, the Chigers and other Jews escaped into the sewer. They spent the following fourteen months underground in the filthy, wet, rat-infested sewer. Krystyna's father served as the ad hoc leader of the Jewish group and played a major role in their survival. Socha faithfully provided them food and supplies, even purchasing them with his own money after the Jews' funds ran out. The group gained their (relative) freedom when the Soviets "liberated" the city in 1944.

I enjoyed reading this book immensely. It presents the same events as Agnieszka Holland's film, "In Darkness" (2011) (see my review), but Krystyna Chiger provides many, many details of the group's underground struggle which could not possibly have been included in the movie. If you must choose between the book or film, choose the book.
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on November 24, 2008
I'm so glad Krystyna Chiger shared this story-- her story-- with the world. It is a stark and heart-breaking story of survival, love, family and hope in a time that stripped that from so many families. While it is painful to read the memories and accounts of her family's survival under the streets of Lvov, Poland, it is also a reminder how easily hate can exist. It's important, I think, to always remember the Halocaust and to be reminded of these individual stories so we can always have a face, a family, to put with the history. This book is well written with surprising humor, tenderness and hope. Definitely worth the read.
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on January 26, 2011
There are so many storied like this but none quite like it. The art of telling one's life is incredible. The detail of what she remembers and how she feels or her lack of emotion art times is touching.
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on March 24, 2012
I just cant believe that people could do these things to other people. Isolated cases sure, but whole countries?? Anyway, I started to judge this book by its cover thinking that a book about a girl in a green sweater couldnt possibly be any good. Last time I will judge a book by its cover!! I will re read this again and probably again. This is one of those books that should be made into a movie. They say that "truth is stranger than fiction" And I believe it after reading this.I couldnt bear a year in an outhouse let alone a year in the sewers trudging through sewage just to survive. These poor folks had to bring their kids with them into total blackness and the cold smelly underground of the sewer system to avoid capture and certain death!!. You must read this book!!
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