I read about this book in my friend’s blog and wanted to read this book forever. Everytime i went to the library optimistically searching for it, i would never find it. I even tried reserving it but somehow it never seemed to land in my hands. Finally i got lucky and when you get something you wanted for so long, you always get doubly lucky. I got a brand new copy of the book from the library and its always a tad thrillng to have a new copy in your hands.
Now for the book itself. There is something extremely alluring about World War II books and movies. I have seen some of the movies like Schinder’s List, Escape from Sobibor and Life is beautiful. When i was in Germany, i had this nagging thought of visiting Auschwitz but one of my friends who visited the camp told me that it needed a lot of emotional guts to walk that place.
World War II was not about war, killing. It was about extermination and going against evolution. What makes men kill each other without emotion or remorse. How can you hold a gun to another man’s head without knowing anything about the man except that he was a Jew.
I wouldn’t say the world is a better place now and i would never understand religious or racial hatred but reading this book gave me an insight on why people risk their lives and put them in the line of fire to save hundreds of innocent lives. Why people risk their own safety to protect people they had never known.
War is never justifiable but i had never read about the Underground or how Jews escaped Ghetto and scrambled off trains reaching camps. To read about it sends shivers down your spine and reading about how Antonina escaped near death experiences and how she protected Jews by hiding them in the basement and in cages makes your imagination run wild.
Diane Ackermann slows the pace of the book by getting into the details of the war but her detailed accounts of the animals and how Antonina communicated with them makes for a splendid read. This book is a splendid read and it gives you a peek into what happened during world war II.