Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto

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From the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot comes an extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler—the “female Oskar Schindler”—who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II.

In 1942, one young social worker, Irena Sendler, was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist. While she was there, she began to understand the fate that awaited the Jewish families who were unable to leave. Soon she reached out to the trapped families, going from door to door and asking them to trust her with their young children. Driven to extreme measures and with the help of a network of local tradesmen, ghetto residents, and her star-crossed lover in the Jewish resistance, Irena ultimately smuggled thousands of children past the Nazis. She made dangerous trips through the city’s sewers, hid children in coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through secret passages in abandoned buildings.

But Irena did something even more astonishing at immense personal risk: she kept a secret list buried in bottles under an old apple tree in a friend’s back garden. On it were the names and true identities of these Jewish children, recorded so their families could find them after the war. She could not know that more than ninety percent of their families would perish.

Irena’s Children, “a fascinating narrative of…the extraordinary moral and physical courage of those who chose to fight inhumanity with compassion” (Chaya Deitsch author of Here and There: Leaving Hasidism, Keeping My Family), is a truly heroic tale of survival, resilience, and redemption.
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About the author

Tilar J. Mazzeo is the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestselling author of books that include The Widow Clicquot, The Secret of Chanel No. 5, and Hotel on the Place Vendôme. She also writes on food and wine for the mainstream press, and her work has appeared in venues such as Food & Wine and in her Back-Lane Wineries guidebook series (Ten Speed Press). Her course on creative nonfiction (Great Courses), featured as in-flight viewing content on Virgin America airlines, is widely distributed and has made her a nationally prominent teacher of writing in nonfiction genres. The Clara C. Piper Associate Professor of English at Colby College, she divides her time among coastal Maine, New York City, and Saanichton, British Columbia, where she lives with her husband and stepchildren.

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Reviews

4.7
12 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Simon and Schuster
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Published on
Sep 27, 2016
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Pages
336
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ISBN
9781476778525
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists
Biography & Autobiography / Women
History / Holocaust
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Tilar J. Mazzeo
Set against the backdrop of the Nazi occupation of World War II, The Hôtel on Place Vendôme is the captivating history of Paris’s world-famous Hôtel Ritz—a breathtaking tale of glamour, opulence, and celebrity; dangerous liaisons, espionage, and resistance—from Tilar J. Mazzeo, the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot and The Secret of Chanel No. 5

When France fell to the Germans in June 1940, the legendary Hôtel Ritz on the Place Vendôme—an icon of Paris frequented by film stars and celebrity writers, American heiresses and risqué flappers, playboys, and princes—was the only luxury hotel of its kind allowed in the occupied city by order of Adolf Hitler.

Tilar J. Mazzeo traces the history of this cultural landmark from its opening in fin de siècle Paris. At its center, The Hotel on Place Vendôme is an extraordinary chronicle of life at the Ritz during wartime, when the Hôtel was simultaneously headquarters to the highest-ranking German officers, such as Reichsmarshal Hermann Göring, and home to exclusive patrons, including Coco Chanel. Mazzeo takes us into the grand palace’s suites, bars, dining rooms, and wine cellars, revealing a hotbed of illicit affairs and deadly intrigue, as well as stunning acts of defiance and treachery.

Rich in detail, illustrated with black-and-white photos, The Hotel on Place Vendôme is a remarkable look at this extraordinary crucible where the future of post-war France—and all of post-war Europe—was transformed. 

Tilar J. Mazzeo
Tilar J. Mazzeo
 Inaugurado em 1898, na Place Vendôme, no coração de Paris, o Hôtel Ritz logo se tornou sinônimo de luxo e exclusividade, frequentado por estrelas de cinema e escritores célebres, ricas herdeiras americanas, playboys excêntricos, políticos e príncipes. Na década de 1920, o bar do hotel se tornou o ponto de encontro de F. Scott Fitzgerald e outros autores da Geração Perdida, entre eles Ernest Hemingway. Em 1940, quando a França foi dominada pelos alemães, o Ritz foi o único hotel de alto luxo autorizado pelo Terceiro Reich a continuar funcionando na cidade ocupada.

Em O hotel na Place Vendôme, Tilar Mazzeo investiga a história desse marco cultural desde a sua inauguração na Paris de fin de siècle até a era moderna. E, acima de tudo, faz uma crônica extraordinária da vida no Ritz durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial, quando o hotel serviu, ao mesmo tempo, de quartel-general dos mais graduados oficiais alemães e de lar dos milionários que permaneceram na cidade, entre eles Coco Chanel. Mazzeo nos conduz pelos salões de jantar, suítes, bares e adegas do imponente edifício, revelando um território propício para negócios ilícitos e intrigas mortais, além de extraordinários atos de rebeldia e traição.

Rico em detalhes e repleto de histórias fascinantes, O hotel na Place Vendôme é uma narrativa impressionante sobre glamour, opulência e extravagância, e também sobre conexões perigosas, espionagem e resistência. Uma viagem inesquecível a um período único e intrigante da história, quando a França — e toda a Europa — sofreu transformações que definiriam o mundo como o conhecemos hoje.

Tilar J. Mazzeo
Una mujer valiente y aguerrida que arriesgó su vida para salvar a niños inocentes del Holocausto. Una historia heroica de supervivencia, resistencia y redención.

Tilar J. Mazzeo, autora bestseller de The New York Times, nos presenta una historia inspiradora sobre la extraordinaria y apasionante vida de Irena Sendler, una conmovedora versión femenina de Oskar Schindler.

La historia de una mujer que tomó grandes riesgos para salvar a 2 500 niños de la muerte y la deportación en Polonia, durante la ocupación de los nazis en la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

En 1942, a una joven trabajadora social, Irena Sendler, se le concedió acceso al gueto de Varsovia como especialista en salud pública. Una vez dentro, fue de puerta en puerta para rescatar a los niños de las familias judías atrapadas en el gueto. Empezó a sacarlos a escondidas del distrito amurallado, convenciendo a sus amigos y vecinos de que los ocultaran en sus casas. Impulsada a tomar medidas extremas y con la ayuda de una red de comerciantes locales, residentes del gueto y su amante, perteneciente a la resistencia judía, ella logró salvar a miles de niños de los nazis.

Irena hizo peligrosos viajes a través de las alcantarillas de la ciudad, ocultó a los niños en ataúdes, los colocó bajo abrigos en los puestos de control y los condujo a través de pasadizos secretos en edificios abandonados. Y luego mantuvo listas secretas enterradas en botellas debajo de un viejo manzano en el jardín de la casa de una amiga. En las listas estaban los nombres y las verdaderas identidades de los niños judíos, escritos cuidadosamente con la esperanza de que sus familiares pudieran encontrarlos después de la guerra. Aunque no pudo prever que más del noventa por ciento de estas familias moriría.

La vida de Irena Sendler, sin duda, es mucho más que una muestra de apego a la vida y cariño a los niños: es un gesto deslumbrante de amor a la humanidad.

La crítica ha opinado:

"Los niños de Irena teje en una fascinante historia el relato de una ciudad devastada, la depravación nazi y el extraordinario valor físico y moral de aquellos que decidieron responder a la inhumanidad con compasión. Éste es un libro que se queda contigo mucho después de pasar la última página." -Chaya Deitsch, autora de Here and There: Leaving Hasidism, Keeping My Family-

"Un relato fundamental, aunque aterrador, de la historia del Holocausto que hasta ahora era poco conocido: el de cómo miles de niños fueron rescatados del gueto de Varsovia por una mujer polaca con mucho valor y una extraordinaria calidad moral." -Joseph Kanon, autor de Leaving Berlin-

"Mazzeo relata un rayo de esperanza en tiempos de desesperación en esta biografía conmovedora de una mujer que se negó a darse por vencida." -Kirkus Reviews-

"Si bien ésta no es la primera biografía de Irena Sendler, su concisión y legibilidad presentarán a muchos lectores a una mujer realmente valiente y notable, quien inició y encabezó "un gran esfuerzo colectivo de decencia." -Publishers Weekly-

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