Review: Michael Gruenbaum/Todd Hasak-Lowy: Somewhere There is Still a Sun

Cover of the book Somewhere There is Still a Sun (Někde ještě svítí slunce), the Czech version, publishing house P3K 2017.

Cover of the book Somewhere There is Still a Sun (Někde ještě svítí slunce), the Czech version, publishing house P3K 2017.

Less than two years ago the Terezín Memorial´s Newsletter reported on the publication of a book written by Michael Gruenbaum and Todd Hasak-Lowy and called Somewhere There is Still a Sun. At its end, the report expressed the wish for the book to be translated into Czech within a short time so that the Czech readers too could find an easy access to the story. The wish evidently came true and a book under the Czech title Někde ještě svítí slunce recently appeared on the shelves of Czech bookstores.

The plot of the book is based primarily on Michael Gruenbaum´s childhood memories, namely those from the period between 1939 and 1945, particularly the time of his stay in the Terezín Ghetto. He was deported to the Ghetto together with his mother and sister in 1942. His memories, narrated in the first-person style, come across in the book as a readable adventure story for boys. Fortunately, this is not the kind of novel trying to provide the most attractive description of such adventures, while insensitively manipulating with the reality of the life in Terezín. More probably, the authors used a greater amount of artistic license in presenting the main character who is supposed to look slightly more naïve than the actual model of the figure. Thanks to the frequent questions he asks, the main character gives space to a subtle presentation of many specific aspects of Terezín life, for instance the difference between theft and the so-called swiping (šlojznutí). However, the book is not a mere description of various routine as well as extraordinary events that happened in the Ghetto, it also seeks to capture how such events were perceived by different Terezín Ghetto inmates.

The book can definitely be recommended not only to all readers who want to understand what had happened behind the walls of the Terezín Ghetto but also to readers keen on quality literature for children and youth.

Published in the Czech language by the publishing house P3K, 2017.


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