I’ve read a lot of books about the Holocaust. Non-fiction, fiction, biographical and eyewitness accounts. I admit to being shocked and saddened when I read a fact about the Holocaust I wasn’t previously aware of.
Unfortunately it is usually something even more inhumane and heartbreaking than the facts I have already read about.
After all these years, and all the accounts, I still find it hard to fathom and comprehend the atrocities committed during the Nazi era. Pam Jenoff discovered the reference to and details of the baby train in the archives of Yad Vashem.
A train carriage full of babies on their way to a concentration camp. No food, no water or milk, no human touch and no saviour in sight. Just helpless infants on the road to certain death. Many of them succumbing to the lack of care before they reached their final destination.
Jenoff combines this horrific fact with the true story of circus families who hid Jews in the midst of their travelling shows, during the Nazi-era.
The baby in this story is pivotal in connecting and binding all the characters. The child is a symbol for Noa and is synonymous with survival. The survival of every Jew, every gypsy and every victim of the regime. It doesn’t matter where he came from or who he really belongs to, all that matters is making sure he lives to tell the tale.
Jenoff tugs on the heartstrings, whilst awakening the moral compass in every one of us. She mixes fact with fiction to create memorable reads. If you want your heart to bleed, your eyes to weep and want to reach inside the book and hug the characters, well that’s what this author does best.