Just Finished: Run, Boy, Run by Uri Orlev, translated by Hillel Halkin, 2003, 0618164650
One of the best books I have read in a while. Orlev's novel is about an eight year old boy, Srulik, who is separated from his family in
One time while escaping from German soldiers Jurek is crawling through a field and sees a man lying down in front of him. "The man was lying on the ground too. His hair was matted and wild and his lined, ashen face was covered with a growth of beard. Srulik realized he was a Jew like himself. He kept crawling until he was close enough to whisper: 'Get out of here! The Germans are after me.'"
The man was his father who had earlier escaped from the Ghetto and gone missing. In a two to three minute conversation Jurek's father gives him quick instructions on staying alive, tells him to survive no matter what, gives him a kiss, and then sacrifices himself by jumping up and running away to draw the soldiers from Jurek.
Under constant threat of capture by the Germans, Jurek's freindly personality, orphan status, and blond hair get him work with different farms. Captured by the Gestapo he is sent to work for a Gestapo officer's Polish girlfriend. While operating a thresher Jurek's right arm is crushed. After a doctor refuses to operate on a Jewish kid Jurek's arm has to be amputated. Jurek escapes the hospital with a farmhand's help and works his way east to be "adopted" by a Russian soldier.
At war's end Jurek arrives in
Based on Jurek's true story that Orlev first heard at a university function in
20 Apr 2012 EDIT: Forgotten Books is linking here today, I re-read this book for a book club. My reactions after second reading: http://booksareforsquares.blogspot.com/2007/09/re-read-run-boy-run-by-uri-orlev.html