In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

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In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

by Irene Opdyke
As told by Jennifer Armstrong

Random House Children's Books | August 15, 1999 | Hardcover

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer is rated 5 out of 5 by 5.
"You must understand that I did not become a resistance fighter, a smuggler of Jews, a defier of the SS and the Nazis all at once. One's first steps are always small: I had begun by hiding food under a fence."

Through this intimate and compelling memoir, we are witness to the growth of a hero. Irene Gut was just a girl when the war began: seventeen, a Polish patriot, a student nurse, a good Catholic girl. As the war progressed, the soldiers of two countries stripped her of all she loved — her family, her home, her innocence — but the degradations only strengthened her will.
        
She began to fight back. Irene was forced to work for the German Army, but her blond hair, her blue eyes, and her youth bought her the relatively safe job of waitress in an officers' dining room. She would use this Aryan mask as both a shield and a sword: She picked up snatches of conversation along with the Nazis' dirty dishes and passed the information to Jews in the ghetto. She raided the German Warenhaus for food and blankets. She smuggled people from the work camp into the forest. And, when she was made the housekeeper of a Nazi major, she successfully hid twelve Jews in the basement of his home until the Germans' defeat.
        
This young woman was determined to deliver her friends from evil. It was as simple and as impossible as that.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 8.53 × 5.74 × 0.98 in

Published: August 15, 1999

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679891811

ISBN - 13: 9780679891819

Appropriate for ages: 10 - 10

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This book is absolutely amazing, I would highly recommend it to anyone.... it is inspirational, emotional, frightening, yet motivational as we follow Irene's journey throughtout the holocaust. Lots of detail of which a book should have! I couldn't put down the book, it was just too amazing!!!
Date published: 2012-12-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So inspiring! This is an amazing book! Irene shows such persistence and strength of spirit throught the many hardships she faces. All the while she shows compassion and puts her life on the line for others. If you are at all insterested in the stories behind World War II this is a book you must read!
Date published: 2008-01-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from loved it! A riveting story of how a young girl risked her life to save the lives of others. A great read-couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2006-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from READ ME! it screamed. So I did... I picked this book for a Grade 11 ISU project, and was incredibly impressed. This is a fantastic read that I honestly couldn't put down, to use that old cliche. Being the Queen of Procrastination, I knew I had found something too good to mull over. I quickly wrote my project fueled by the steam of a good read, and passed it on to one of my friends who was looking for something to keep her entertained on Spare. By the next day it had made its way into the hands of another friend, who had no interest in the Holocaust, History or any of the hooks that this book offers. She LOVED it, and so do the five other people that borrowed it in response to my gushing reviews. Sorry for the long rant, but people really need to understand how great this book is!!! Happy reading.
Date published: 2005-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from In My Hands This is a suspensful historical adventure set before, during and after World War II. Jennifer Armstrong with Irene Gut Opdyke make this true story an unforgetable one that keeps you on the edge of your seat and totally absorbed. It is the unbelievable story of how one young woman, despite many difficult challenges, such as not seeing her family, being arrested several times and other hard to get out of situations, prevails over evil every time no matter what the consequences were or could be. This brave and determined holocaust rescuer is one to remember, one who used her feminine charms to overcome the Wehrmacht and the Nazi SS. All who read this book will be deeply moved by Irene's heartfelt story.
Date published: 2000-11-27

– More About This Product –

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer

by Irene Opdyke
As told by Jennifer Armstrong

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 8.53 × 5.74 × 0.98 in

Published: August 15, 1999

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679891811

ISBN - 13: 9780679891819

Read from the Book

The VillaThe instant I was able to get away after breakfast, I walked to the villa as quickly as I could -- quickly enough to put a stitch in my side and to break a sweat in the heat. I unlocked the door and burst inside, dreading the sound of painters bumping ladders against the furniture. But it was silent. I was in time -- assuming that my friends were indeed waiting in the basement. The smell of cabbage and potatoes lingered in the air.Almost fearing what I might find, I opened the basement door and clattered down the stairs, my shoes making a racket on the wooden steps. "Hoo-ee! It's Irene!" I called out.The first room was empty. Trying not to worry, I opened the door to the furnace room, praying to find my six friends -- and Henry Weinbaum. The door creaked as it swung open into the gloom, and I called out again."It's Irene!"There was an almost audible sigh of relief. One by one, figures emerged from the shadows: Ida, Lazar, Clara, Thomas, Fanka, Moses Steiner, and a young, handsome fellow I took to be Henry Weinbaum. I shook hands with them all silently, suddenly overcome with emotion. They were all there; they were safe and alive. And then, to my surprise, I found three strangers, who greeted me with an odd mixture of sheepishness and defiance."I'm Joseph Weiss," the eldest of the three said. "And this is Marian Wilner and Alex Rosen. Henry told us."For a moment I was at a loss. I had ten lives in my hands now! But there wasn't time for lengthy introductions. The sold
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From the Publisher

"You must understand that I did not become a resistance fighter, a smuggler of Jews, a defier of the SS and the Nazis all at once. One's first steps are always small: I had begun by hiding food under a fence."

Through this intimate and compelling memoir, we are witness to the growth of a hero. Irene Gut was just a girl when the war began: seventeen, a Polish patriot, a student nurse, a good Catholic girl. As the war progressed, the soldiers of two countries stripped her of all she loved — her family, her home, her innocence — but the degradations only strengthened her will.
        
She began to fight back. Irene was forced to work for the German Army, but her blond hair, her blue eyes, and her youth bought her the relatively safe job of waitress in an officers' dining room. She would use this Aryan mask as both a shield and a sword: She picked up snatches of conversation along with the Nazis' dirty dishes and passed the information to Jews in the ghetto. She raided the German Warenhaus for food and blankets. She smuggled people from the work camp into the forest. And, when she was made the housekeeper of a Nazi major, she successfully hid twelve Jews in the basement of his home until the Germans' defeat.
        
This young woman was determined to deliver her friends from evil. It was as simple and as impossible as that.

From the Jacket

""You must understand that I did not become a resistance fighter, a smuggler of Jews, a defier of the SS and the Nazis all at once. One's first steps are always small: I had begun by hiding food under a fence."
Through this intimate and compelling memoir, we are witness to the growth of a hero. Irene Gut was just a girl when the war began: seventeen, a Polish patriot, a student nurse, a good Catholic girl. As the war progressed, the soldiers of two countries stripped her of all she loved -- her family, her home, her innocence -- but the degradations only strengthened her will.
She began to fight back. Irene was forced to work for the German Army, but her blond hair, her blue eyes, and her youth bought her the relatively safe job of waitress in an officers' dining room. She would use this Aryan mask as both a shield and a sword: She picked up snatches of conversation along with the Nazis' dirty dishes and passed the information to Jews in the ghetto. She raided the German "Warenhaus for food and blankets. She smuggled people from the work camp into the forest. And, when she was made the housekeeper of a Nazi major, she successfully hid twelve Jews in the basement of his home until the Germans' defeat.
This young woman was determined to deliver her friends from evil. It was as simple and as impossible as that.

About the Author

Irene Gut Opdyke has received international recognition for her actions: the Israeli Holocaust Commission named her one of the Righteous Among the Nations, a title given to those who risked their lives by aiding and saving Jews during the Holocaust, and so she was presented with the Israel Medal of Honor, Israel's highest tribute, in a ceremony at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial;  the Vatican has given her a special commendation; and her story is part of a permanent exhibit in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
        
Ms. Opdyke began to share her story only recently -- after hearing the Holocaust denounced as a hoax or propaganda. She now travels the country, speaking to groups large and small, old and young.

Irene also opened her life, through many hours of interviews, to Jennifer Armstrong, a noted author of books for young adults, so that her story could continue to be told, even beyond her ability to tell it.

From Our Editors

When Germany and Russia divvied up Poland on the cusp of the Second World War, Irene Gut Opdyke was just 17. The 1939 occupation instigated what would become years of flight, capture, escape and hiding. When she finally gets absorbed into the German forces after being found in a church, Irene started dishing out salvation from the kitchen. Subverting the line of command, she would tip off the Jews in the work camp as to what is happening, ensuring their safety through until the war's end. In In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, she tells her story of bravery with compassion and depth, giving readers a sense-saturating trip through terror and triumph.

Appropriate for ages: 10 - 10