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October 31, 2003 - Image 42

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-31

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Story Of An Angel


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How one woman in Bergen-Belsen worked a miracle.

.AppleTree Editor

uba: The Angel of
Bergen-Belsen by Luba
Tryszynska-Frederick as
told to Michelle R.
McCann, with illustrations by Ann
Marshall. Copyright 2003, pub-
lished by Tricycle Press (of Berkeley,
Calif.). Hardback 46 pages. $16.95.





Luba is a true story, and quite an
unforgettable one at that, of a
Jewish Woman in Bergen-Belsen
who miraculously managed to feed
and sustain more than 50 children,
none of whom was her own.
As the book begins, Luba lies in
the prison barracks wondering,
"Why am I still alive? Why was I
She anguishes over the loss of her
child, Isaac, who was taken from her
when she was brought to Bergen-
- Belsen. She imagines still that she
hears his cries, "Mama! Mama!"
One evening, Luba awakes to
find 54 children in a field behind
her barracks. Their parents had
been taken and shot; the driver
had simply dropped the children
off and left them. As Luba looks at
the tired and freezing children, she
understands why she has been
Because the guards believe Luba
to be a political prisoner rather than
a Jew (as a nurse, she wears a coat
that covers the number the Nazis
have tattooed on her arm), she has
some freedom to walk about the
camp. She spends her days finding
food for the children, now staying in
the barracks with the women, by
begging for bits of bread.
She even asks a Russian political
prisoner for a bit of sausage, only to
be told that the guards will kill them
both if they are caught.
Mh, welh I thought you were a
grandfather;" Luba sighed turning to
leave, "but I must have been mistaken.

A grandfather would never let some-
one else's grandchildren go hungry."
The butcher stormed past her and
through the door, puffing with anger.
But when Luba left, she noticed a
large stick of salami tucked behind a
box. The butcher was a grandfather
after all.

Toby Belfer Visits Ellis Island is
the story of Toby's family.
This book is, in a word, awful.
As the tale begins, Zelig Belfer
and his wife, Toby, are "peaceful
people" living with their seven
children, all observant Jews, in
This story reads almost like fiction Poland.
from start to finish: not only is it a
When their village is
miracle that the children were
destroyed and the synagogue
allowed to live to begin with, but,
burned down by marauders,
amazingly, 52 of the 54 survived the - the Belfers go to America.
war. But rest assured it is a true
When they arrive, a huge rain-
story, and you can read, in the epi-
bow stands behind the Statue
logue, of Luba's heroic efforts after
of Liberty; the text here is
the war and, years later, how she was filled with so much enthusiasm
reunited with many of the children
and so many exclamation
she saved.
marks even Jennifer Lopez
One complaint with the text: In
gushing about Ben Affleck
the prologue, a brief description of
seems muted by comparison:
the war states that the Nazis "arrest-
"When the sun finally came out,
ed Gypsies, people with physical and the people came on deck and saw a
mental disabilities, Jehovah's
most beautiful sight — a rainbow
Witnesses, homosexuals, and Jewish
They had reached
people and put them in the camps
America at last!"
as well." Certainly all these groups
The Zeligs settle in New Orleans,
were targeted and persecuted (not to where they have a hat shop. And
mention Communists, trade union-
that's pretty much it for Toby's
ists and certain members of the
Christian clergy). But it's simply
Years later, Toby and her family
wrong to suggest that the Nazis tar-
go to New York where they visit
geted all these groups equally: the
"museums, churches and syna-
Nazis' primary goal consistently
gogues. Most of all, though, Toby
remained the murder of the Jews.
Belfer wanted to see the Statue of
Still, Luba is a wonderful book, an Liberty and Ellis Island ..." So she
incredible tale, very well-written and goes there, and learns a bit (con-
beautifully illustrated (the art is both tained in one short paragraph)
haunting, tragic and uplifting). Luba about the museum. There you
is one of those rare stories you will
have it. The whole story.
want to read again and again.
The illustrations in Toby Belfer
are nice enough (though they can
get a bit sappy at times), but that
Toby Belfer Visits Ellis Island by
certainly doesn't warrant the pur-
Gloria Teles Pushker, illustrated by
chase of this book.
Judith Hierstein. Copyright 2003,
published by Pelican Publishing Co.
Too Much of a Good Thing, by
(of Gretna, La.). Hardback. 32
Mira Wassserman, with illustrations
pages. $14.95.
by Christine Mannone Carolan.
Copyright 2004, published by Kar-
Toby Belfer is the great-granddaugh- Ben wwwkarben.com Paperback.
ter of Polish immigrants who came
32 pages. $6.95.
to the United States in search of

Many years ago in Israel, Rabbi
Judah was friends with a Roman
king named Antonius.
Antonius was famous for liking
things really big ( "He liked a BIG
palace, a BIG mea/ and a BIG nap.).
One day Antonius comes to
Rabbi Judah's home for Shabbat and
likes the food so much he decides
Shabbat should go on endlessly in
his own kingdom. So no one works,
and the kingdom falls apart until
Rabbi Judah comes up with a plan:
Havdalah. Then, at last, the king-
dom goes back to normal, and
everyone decides to observe

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