Cirla's Story

ISBN 1-84683-051-6
Wartime memoir
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In her role as an educator at the permanent Holocaust Exhibition at London’s Imperial War Museum Cirla Lewis uses her remarkable story to communicate the devastating impact of the Shoah to the many groups of young students who visit each year.

"A powerful and intensely moving story of courage, suffering and survival."
Paul Salmons, Holocaust Education Co-ordinator, Imperial War Museum, London.

by Cirla Lewis

A young Jewish girl's traumatic experiences in occupied Belgium during WW2

Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Cirla was just five years old when the Germans invaded in 1940 and in this enlightening account she describes the traumatic effect of the Holocaust on her own family, as witnessed from a young child’s point of view. As an innocent observer, unable to comprehend the events taking place around her, Cirla’s recollections have a dreamlike quality that makes them all the more poignant.

Cirla spends several years of her young life locked indoors, afraid to go near the window, keeping herself amused as best she can while trying to make sense of her situation via overheard snippets of adult conversation. She and her Mother are joined in hiding by a variety of fellow refugees from the Nazis, including members of the resistance and a shot-down RAF airman, all sheltered by courageous Belgian civilians who put their own lives at risk to help them.

Cirla describes her family and other protagonists with great warmth and affection; we get to know them personally and care what happens to them. When, at last, the war is over and she and her mother are liberated, we share their joy ~ but we must also share their sadness for the awful truth they will soon discover ~ that while they have been in hiding, Cirla’s beloved father and all four of her grandparents have been transported to Auschwitz, never to return.

details: softback | 140 x 205 mm | 120 pages | photographs
genre: Personal memoir
themes: The Holocaust | Belgium in World War II
readership: World War II historians | Holocaust researchers | general readers