Sala Garncarz, a member of a prominent Jewish family, lived in Poland and was 16 years old when her older sister, Raziel, received a letter that she must report to the labor camps. Immediately, Sala offered to take her sister’s place at the labor camp.
Sala was under the assumption that she would work in the labor camps for six weeks. Instead, she would not be free again until liberation in May, 1945.
After liberation, Sala went on to marry and have children. She kept her time in the work and concentration camps a secret until she had to go in to surgery and was afraid her secrets would die with her.
Days before surgery, she brought her daughter, Ann Kirschner, a shoe box filled with pictures and letters and said, “Ask me your questions.”
Ask Ann did, before and after the surgery, and the result is this book.
If you, like me, appreciate reading Holocaust survivors stories, this one will prove particularly interesting both for the length of time Sala survived in the camps and because she was able to smuggle her pictures, letters, and diary with her. Unlike many other Holocaust survivors, Sala had documentation of her time in the camps as well as her experiences.
In fact, much of the book is Sala’s diary excerpts and letters.
So much happened to Sala during the five years she was in the camps. Her story is deep and moving.
What is even more interesting is how Sala’s life evolved after the war. How she found love after losing her first love, and how she and her sister survived and made a life after the horror they witnessed and were part of during the war.
Sala’s Gift is an excellent and captivating read.
5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.