TWO True Stories of Light amid the Darkness of the Holocaust: Book Recommendations!
Updated: Apr 1
From a teenager living in Poland with her younger sister to two spinster sisters living in Holland, these remarkable women courageously bring light to the darkness. Amid fear of persecution, discovery and even death, all four use their own talents and compassion for others to hid Jews during Nazi-occupation.
Both memoirs paint the beautiful stories of heroes helping others survive during horrible times of hate and suffering. Discussion questions included for both!
“We're always living days we can never get back. So we make new ones. That's all.”
"Every experience God gives us . . . is the perfect preparation for the future only He can see."
The Light in Hidden Places is the extraordinary story of Stefania Podgórska, a Polish teenager who bravely hides 13 Jews in her attic during WWII. A New York Times Best Seller and Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club YA Pick!
The Hiding Place is by far one of the most inspirational books written. This triumphant true story of Corrie’s life shows how the depths of faith can lead a person through even the darkest nightmare.
One knock at the door, and Stefania has a choice to make...
It is 1943, and for four years, sixteen-year-old Stefania has been working for the Diamant family in their grocery store in Przemysl, Poland, singing her way into their lives and hearts. She has even made a promise to one of their sons, Izio -- a betrothal they must keep secret since she is Catholic and the Diamants are Jewish.
But everything changes when the German army invades Przemysl. The Diamants are forced into the ghetto, and Stefania is alone in an occupied city, the only one left to care for Helena, her six-year-old sister. And then comes the knock at the door. Izio's brother Max has jumped from the train headed to a death camp. Stefania and Helena make the extraordinary decision to hide Max, and eventually twelve more Jews. Then they must wait, every day, for the next knock at the door, the one that will mean death. When the knock finally comes, it is two Nazi officers, requisitioning Stefania's house for the German army.
With two Nazis below, thirteen hidden Jews above, and a little sister by her side, Stefania has one more excruciating choice to make. Stefania’s story is a remarkable true history of courage in the face of darkness.
For the first fifty years of her life nothing at all out of the ordinary had ever happened to her. Corrie was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her spinster sister and their elderly father in the tiny Dutch house over their shop. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. However, with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, Corrie ten Boom and her family became leaders in the Dutch Underground, hiding Jewish people in their home in a specially built room and aiding their escape from the Nazis. For their help, the family is sent to a concentration camp. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphs over evil.
Discuss Stefania’s moments of bravery throughout the book. Which part of the book did you feel was her most courageous moment?
Mama tells Corrie that happiness comes from one’s attitude rather than external circumstances. Explain how Corrie uses this lesson during the war.
Discuss the actions that Stefania took that distinguished her from so many of her neighbors and compatriots.
In Ravensbruck, Betsie has several ideas about what they will do after the war. What are the ways in which Corrie fulfills the visions of her sister, Betsie?
What connected Max and Stefania together? What are some key moments that defined their relationship?
What were some of the hardships in the book? What areas of your life are like the fleas? How can we posture ourselves to be like Betsie in the midst of trials?
What other books about the Holocaust have you read? Any other book recommendations? Comment below!