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Title: THE STRANGE WAYS OF PROVIDENCE IN MY LIFE: AN AMAZING HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR RESCUE STORY
Author: Krystyna Carmi
Author: Krystyna Carmi
God looks after the orphans
Happy childhood, horrors of war and miraculous rescue of the only child survivor from Obertyn.
Krystyna Carmi’s childhood was full of happy moments in the family house. Her childhood was filled with friends, both Polish and Ukrainian girls, that played games with her. She attended a Ukrainian school, participated in school celebrations; she lived a normal, everyday life. In her memoire, published after many years of silence, Krystyna Carmi shows the history of her family and her life.
The book contains more than 100 pictures, taken by Krystyna’s father, a professional photographer, and sent it to their family in Israel before the war.
Krystyna was gifted with an amazing memory and as such was able to recall the atmosphere of those days, describing in details the appearance of a household; and if that wasn’t enough, Krystyna Carmi writes about something very rare, the smells she remembered from childhood. Walking with her on the streets of pre-war Obertyn, we get to know the Jews, the Ukrainians, and the Poles and the social and material conditions of their lives, as well as their names and surnames. Krystyna Carmi paints a psychological portrait of these people; she writes about how they dressed, what they ate, what their attitude towards others was, and above all, towards God. She writes about things seemingly trivial, however when looking back, they are incredibly significant.
But the happy childhood did not last long. The first days of war brought overall fear and panic, the entrance of Red Army soldiers to Obertyn, the arrest of Polish patriots, liquidation of Jewish shops, the gradual growth into a more difficult reality of occupation, the Hungarian army in Obertyn, Jews murdered by Ukrainians in the local towns, incredible photos of the members of the Jewish community, drowning in the Dniester by Ukrainians.
However, the worst was still ahead of the Jewish community in Obertyn and her family. First, the Germans, then the Kołomyja ghetto. She was with her parents as well as her maternal and paternal grandfathers. The life conditions in which Obertyn Jews had to live are described in the poem Molasa ”” Ghetto Sweets; she shows in a fictile, detailed way, psychophysical suffering caused by hunger.
People died in the ghetto because of hunger and physical exhaustion; their bodies were collected on a platform. These deaths do not escape the attention of a sensitive and suffering girl, who years later will write a poem with the title In Remembrance of Innocently Suffering People of Different Ages and Sexes from Kołomyja Ghetto; a picture of the platform will stay in her memory forever. “The open mouth and eyes of these human corpses have been hunting me all my life.”
Then she returned from the ghetto with her parents, and escaped from Obertyn, following by her sisters’ death, which she described in a very suggestive way in her poems: Black Kamionka Forest. Part I Testimony and Black Kamionka Forest. Part II Curse). Her parents’ death, hiding, hunger, thirst, fear for life, then indifference as time goes by because life is hard. It would be easier to part with the world, but The Strange Ways of Providence in her Life has chosen for her to live, to be. This is how you could present in short, the content of Krystyna Carmi’s memoire.
The memoire are interspersed with the cover of Doctor Markus Willbach, a friend of the Sorger family to emphasize the authenticity of Krystyna Carmi’s (maiden name: Sorger) memories as the images, situations, and events witnessed by her as a little girl coincide with Doctor Willbach’s account, an adult at that time.
Krystyna was born in Obertyn, Poland. Her father was a
photographer by profession. Initially, she attended a Ukrainian school
in Obertyn. Further education was interrupted by the war, when the town
was under the management of the Ukrainian and German Nazis and Krystyna,
as a 9 year old girl, was exiled with her family and all other Jews
from Overtyn to the ghetto in Kołomyja.
The life conditions in
which Obertyn Jews had to live are described in the poem Molasa - Ghetto
Sweets; she shows in a fictile, detailed way, psychophysical suffering
caused by hunger. People die in the ghetto because of hunger and
physical exhaustion; their bodies were collected on a platform. These
deaths do not escape the attention of a sensitive and suffering girl,
who years later will write a poem with the title In Remembrance of
Innocently Suffering People of Different Ages and Sexes from Kołomyja
Ghetto; a picture of the platform will stay in her memory forever. "The
open mouth and eyes of these human corpses have been hunting me all my
Then she escaped from the ghetto with her parents. Her sisters were murdered and her parents executed.
the loss of her entire family she was adopted in 1944 by the family
Gaczyńskich who took care of her further education. In March 1945, when
the Ukrainian Bandera increased persecution of Poles, including
Kolomyja, Gaczyńskich family agreed to return to their homes in Brzesko.
Krystyna moved to Jordanow home for orphans, called "Our House", where
she attended High School, which ends in 1951.
Krystyna lives in Israel. In 1997 she established a small library
located in the Polish belonging to the Franciscan church, St. Peter
monastery in Jaffa. Her contact with the Polish book memoirs that soothe
the longing for the homeland - indeed, as she says has two Homeland -
Poland and Israel.
She is married with 2 children and 5 grandchildren.
Her poems were published in local journals in Poland:
"Echo Jordanowa" (Bible Society of Friends of the Earth Jordanów), March - April 1996 years No. 20; Religion poem,
newspaper, "What's the matter," Pulawy No. 2/98 (6) Charming rows like a
dream, Ash Wednesday in the Holy Land and the memories of school days
in high school school in Jordanow.
(P. 27 - 32 of that magazine)
Weekly Catholic Families, Kraków, Bielsko - Biala, Rzeszow, Sosnowiec,
No. 30 (239) July 28, 1996, contains a poem Meeting in the Garden.
There are three sections:
1. Her happy childhood
2. Times of horror and destruction during the Holocaust that she had in her memory.
3. Rescue and care afterwards.
No matter where or when, the Holocaust was a time of terror, survival and rescue. Krystyna tells the story of her life in Obertyn. What I found very interesting was the photos of her and her family in the book. Krystyna lost people she loved and of the hope for the survivors. This story of her life during the Holocaust must have been terrifying. One minute your life is safe and the next you don't know if you will die or survive. What kind of survival would it be? I'm sure the survivors have carried and still do carry so many memories and hurt in their hearts and mind of their lives back then.
Krystyna survived and I'm sure it was hard to start over, to regain some sense of life that you are not living in fear constantly. As you read this book, take time to visualize what was going on, what Krystyna and her family went through. It is at times very hard to read and it will pull at your heart strings like never before. I've never read a book about a personal experience of the Holocaust. It's hard to grasp that Krystyna was the only little child that survived out of all the Jewish children in Oberty. It is written with such detail that you feel you are beside her every inch of the way, although, you could never know what was going on in that child's mind. You can't imagine the struggle and the pain, the heartache and trying to put her life back together. There is no way possible that the reader can possibly know what happened back then but this book brings light to some of the tragedy that happened to one little girl and her family. This was a journey that I'm sure not everyone could have endured. Don't let this piece of history pass you by.
It's a necessary read for everyone. I applaud Krystyna Carmi for the courage and strength to share her experiences with all of us.
I received a copy of this book from the author, Krystyna Carmi and PUYB and voluntarily decided to review it. I'm so happy I did.
I would give this book 10 STARS if I could but I guess 5 STARS is all I can give.
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