Where do I begin… In March of 2013, I checked into a hostel at the border town of Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. There in the 4-bed dorm room, I found a book on the shelf of the closet. I picked it up, the title of the book “Sarah’s Key” written by Tatiana de Rosnay. I thought to myself, “Why not give this a read – It’s been ages since you last read a book that’s not a travel guidebook.”
I admit I’m typically a slow reader unless the book intrigues me. This was one of those – I finished the book in 2 days despite the fact that I still found time to visit the Iguazzu falls on the Brazilian side and a local Buddhist Temple. The book tells a story of a Jewish girl who lived in Paris, France. On the 16th of July in 1942, the French police rounded up all the Jews in Paris and sent them to Vélodrome d’Hiver (Vel’ d’Hiv). She had locked her brother inside the secret cupboard in their Parisian apartment to keep him safe, with a promise to return. She became a child of the Vel’ d’Hiv roundup.
No other Holocaust story has struck me like this. I cried painfully as though I was the girl in the story when I finished the book. Even when I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau in 2009, I did not react like this. My heart ached. I felt physical pain. I could not understand why the connection. Continue reading