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Along the Tracks av Tamar Bergman
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Along the Tracks (utgåvan 1991)

av Tamar Bergman

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843245,645 (3.75)3
Recounts the adventures of a young Jewish boy who is driven from his home by the German invasion, becomes a refugee in the Soviet Union, is separated from his family, and undergoes many hardships before enjoying a normal home again.
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Some Jewish people saw the writing on the wall and were able to get out of Nazi-occupied Europe before World War II began, or at least before the Nazis occupied their particular part of Europe. Certainly they suffered, as all refugees do: they had to flee their homes, often on short notice, often with almost nothing but the clothes on their backs, and start all over again in a strange land, and most of them were never able to return home. Most times those people are still referred to as "Holocaust survivors" because they were definitely victims of Nazi aggression. But I prefer the term "Holocaust avoiders" or "Holocaust escapees."

Along the Tracks is just such a story: a Polish-Jewish family who were able to escape the Nazi terror by fleeing deep into the Soviet Union. This novel, based on a true story, is about this family and in particular the oldest son, Yankele aka Yasha.

It was a compelling story and definitely a page-turner, and showed a side of the Holocaust and World War II that children aren't often told about. Although they may have never had to deal with concentration camps or gas chambers, the family had to deal with illness, separation, forced labor, starvation, homelessness, and other trials of war.

I thought the second half of the story was much better than the first half. This was mainly because the second half was told from one point of view while the first half had like a zillion different narrators switching back and forth, sometimes three on the same page, which was really jarring and annoying for me. It might not bother some people as much, though. Once the story got into the second half, which had only Yankele/Yasha's perspective, it really galloped along for me.

If you're interested in stories of European refugees who fled into the USSR during World War II, I recommend Anatole Konstantin's A Red Boyhood: Growing Up Under Stalin. He was also Jewish and his family fled to Kazakhstan for the duration of the war; his experience was quite similar to the novel. ( )
  meggyweg | Jan 31, 2013 |
"Along the Tracks" is an unbalanced book. I would give the first half of the book 5 stars, but the second half only 3. The first half tells the story of young Yasha and his family as they escape from Poland just before the Nazi invasion. They make it to Russia, where they are safe for a while, but eventually have to move on again. At this second move, Yasha becomes separated from his family. The second half of the book tells of Yasha's several years spent alone as an "abandoned one." The weakness lies in the randomness of his life at this point. The novel is based on a true story, so Bergman is telling it as it was, but the absence of plot weakens the remainder of the book. (Spoiler Warning) Unlike most stories, true or fictional, of Jews during World War II, this one amazingly has a happy ending after all the tragedy. ( )
  fingerpost | Jun 30, 2010 |
The story of a young Polish boy who is separated from his family while fleeing the Nazis during WWII, and lives on his own, travelling and scavenging in the Soviet Union. ( )
  lilibrarian | Jan 11, 2010 |
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Recounts the adventures of a young Jewish boy who is driven from his home by the German invasion, becomes a refugee in the Soviet Union, is separated from his family, and undergoes many hardships before enjoying a normal home again.

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