The Jewish War: And, The Victory
The Jewish War and The Victory are Henryk Grynberg's first two autobiographical novels on the Holocaust. The Jewish War is the epic tale of a family of provincial Polish Jews who struggle for survival against nearly insurmountable odds. The story is told from the perspective of a young Jewish boy who has survived the war thanks to his parents' heroic efforts. His family moves through a series of hiding places in the countryside, and when his father is murdered, he and his mother flee through Poland using forged papers. To maintain the facade, they adopt a false life as the Catholic family of an officer captured by the Germans.
The Victory picks up the story with the advance of the Red Army in 1944. The narrator and his mother move to yet another town, and the boy, aware he has been tainted by the war, fights to reclaim his Jewishness. Through the boy's straightforward observations, Grynberg portrays the despair of Polish Jews in 1945 as they confronted the horrors of the past and the agonizing choices of the present.
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Afterword to The Victory
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