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Upon the Head of the Goat: A Childhood in Hungary 1939-1944 Paperback – March 24, 2003


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 15 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 830L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish; 1st edition (March 24, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374480796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374480790
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #473,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These memoirs of a Hungarian girl liberated from Bergen-Belsen, said PW , are among "the most powerful accounts yet written by a survivor of the Third Reich." Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“At the outbreak of World War II, 9-year-old Piri is visiting her grandmother in the Ukrainian countryside and is unable to return to her family in the Hungarian town of Beregszász. Aranka Siegal, the Piri of the narrative, finally comes home the following year but finds her life forever changed.” – Starred, School Library Journal

“This is a book that should be read by all those interested in the Holocaust and what it did to young and old.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer

“A simple and beautiful account of the life of a Jewish family as, step by step, war and anti-Semitism creep closer to the Hungarian town in which they live, finally engulfing them.” – The New Yorker

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
I am so appreciative to Aranka Siegal for sharing her experiences with us.
Jazzmama
This was the first book I read about the Shoah in Hungary, and it was so fascinating that it got me interested in all things Hungarian.
Anyechka
I recommend this book because you really get the feel of how hard this young girl had it growing up.
erin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Myron Schreck on August 4, 2003
Format: Audio Cassette
A young Jewish girl -- nine when we first meet her and nearly fourteen when the book ends -- experiences the beginning of World War II with her parents in Hungary (and her grandmother in the Ukraine). Eventually, she, her family, and all the Jews of their small town, are forced to leave their homes and await a train that will take them to Auschwitz. This is a terribly sad coming of age story that is accessible to children older than ten. It doesn't explain the Holocaust, but it goes further than most books in allowing readers to 'experience' the fear, confusion, and especially the courage felt and displayed by the characters. Indeed, the author, who based the story of her own experiences, does an outstanding job drawing all the characters, including a number of the non-Jewish townspeople and one particular non-Jewish Hungarian soldier. It is especially interesting to learn so much about small-town life in the Hungarian-Ukrainian border region. It is sad, but not at all morose. It is inspirational -- because so many characters, young and old, display courage and fortitude in the face of increasing misfortune. And it is filled with compassion -- you almost feel sorry for the non-Jews who turn their backs on their Jewish neighbors. In one scene, the young narrator, who can only take a few items with her into the ghetto, gives her record player and records to her non-Jewish friend, to hold for her until she returns, even though they have not spoken to each other since the Jewish children were excluded from the town's schools. You can feel the hope of the narrator that someday she might return, get back her records, and they can play together again.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anyechka on September 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was the first book I read about the Shoah in Hungary, and it was so fascinating that it got me interested in all things Hungarian. It's different from many books about the Shoah in that the majority of it takes place before the Nazi invasion of Hungary on 19 March 1944, when the remaining members of the Davidowitz family are shipped off to a ghetto. Though life is growing increasingly hard for them because of the anti-Jewish regulations and the strain of living during a war in general, and Piri had to stay in the Ukraine with her grandmother and older sister Rozsi longer than she expected to because of a border war, the Davidowitzes still have a pretty normal and decent life before they have to leave for the ghetto. During this time the family also does their part to help other Jewish families and people in need, even with hiding them in safe houses or helping to smuggle them across borders, and Iboya, the next-youngest of Mrs. Davidowitz's children by her first marriage, is very involved in Zionism. And even in the ghetto, Piri's family and her best friend Judi's little family live the best they can, trying to keep their spirits up and to be happy. Piri and Judi both have their first romances in the ghetto, in fact. It's not one of those books that starts out happily and then quickly moves to the ghetto and then the camps. In fact, the book ends as they're leaving the ghetto in the cattlecar, and only a short postscript tells us what happened after that.

The book is also interesting because not all of Piri's siblings are at home, unlike many other Shoah books where all of the family are in the same house.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read this book for a book report and that was one of the very few books that I really enjoyed giving the book report to the teacher. I actually couldn't wait until English class so I could read this book, or when ever I had time. It is a book you just can't put down!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James A. Bryan on May 10, 2000
Format: Library Binding
After many years of using The Diary of Ann Frank, teachers now have a chance to use an equally exciting book by Aranka Seigal, Upon the Head of the Goat. This book describes the trials and tribulations in the life of Piri Davidowitz, a young Hungarian girl of the Jewish faith, during the terrible years of World War II. Piri is unusual in that her grandmother lives in Ukraine, her father is from Czechoslovakia, and her mother is Hungarian. This book allows teachers and students to study the Holocaust and the geography of the region and cover the national standards in geography, history, and language arts. Students will learn about Piri and the hardships she and her family suffer, and they will discover that like many people of the Jewish faith, Piri and her family are sent to a concentration camp. Piri's life slowly desintegrates as Jews receive more and more restrictions with the coming of the Arrow Cross, the Hungarian fascist group, to power in Hungary. As more restrictions come into play, Piri loses friends and family, chances for education, and freedom. Students will enjoy the suspense that is in the novel and will learn a valuable lesson on the Holocaust.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By erin on December 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Upon The head of a Goat Written By aranka Siegal is an stroy about a young girlgrowing up in Hungary during world war ll. It is hard enough for her to grow up unable to see her family, but she has more troubles because she is Jewish. Piri, a nine year old girl, has been visiting her grandmother in Komjaty for a year and she in finally able to return home. When she returns home there have been many changes. Her family has a hard life. They were sent to a Ghetto later to be sent to Auschwitz. An terrible concentration camp. What will happen to Piri and her family when they arrive in Auschwitz? I recommend this book because you really get the feel of how hard this young girl had it growing up.
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