I Remember Singing is the true story of Hugo Schiller who was born in 1931 in Grunsfeld Germany. Schiller insisted that every word be true. The author and Schiller, the Holocaust Survivor she wrote about, signed the book together at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. To further reinforce that the story is accurate.
"As a young boy I went to school until Hitler and the Nazis said I could not go to school anymore. I am German-Jewish." The book is written in that style - from the perspective of the young boy.
He shares some early family photos and tells of his early childhood - celebrating Jewish holidays, family occasions and other typical aspects of life. He adds, "I learned to sing."
His best friend was not Jewish and they played together "until Kristallnacht. After that happened Kilain was not allowed to be my friend anymore because I was Jewish. I didn't understand that. That made me sad."
He explains Kristllnacht and the start of the war from his young perspective. For example, his father was taken to Dachau and when he was released weeks later the boy writes, "He lost lots of weight while he was there." As things worsened, he writes. "I stopped singing."
His parents sent him away to school in France which saved his life. His parents and Aunt Hilda were eventually murdered at Auschwitz.
The book contains reprints of several of the letters between Hugo and his parents while they were in concentration camps. The book continues with his escape to America and life here. Like many survivors he was unable to speak about the horrors for many years. As he saw many Holocaust survivors dying off he realized he had to give his eyewitness account.
He includes some things we can do to prevent another Holocaust. There is also a Holocaust Chronology and Glossary.
Since he overcame his survivor's guilt and began speaking out about what he had witnessed, Hugo started to sing again. "When I sing songs and prayers today, I hope that the souls of my parents, the six million and especially the 1.6 million children (1.2 million were Jewish) who died in the Holocaust can hear them."
The simple writing - basically a recounting of what happened - makes the book very credible and powerful. Children will be able to relate to young Hugo and older people will be reminded of the Holocaust.
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