This book is a remarkable testament to resilience. Sophie Caplan details her life as a Jewish girl, and that of her family, in pre-ward Europe in the early 20th century. The detail with which she conjures up descriptions of her day to day existence transports the reader back to that time.
As the dark years of Nazism approach, Sophie describes members of her family’s fears and desperate desire to flee, including recollections of Kristallnacht and the constant talk of potential places to go. She details the path her family took through Europe with the Nazi army on their tails, eventually ending up in Vichy France only to be rounded up in October 1940 and taken to an internment camp at Agde, and in January 1941 to the camp at Rivesaltes. Sophie was saved and taken to an orphanage where she spent the duration of the war.
Due to the author’s failing health much of the narrative of the book is cut short but the later details of her life are included in an epilogue written by her son, Gideon Caplan.
This is a book which should be read for the detail it provides of pre-war life in Europe, of the places, and more importantly of the individuals and families, lost during this tragic time in human existence.