Seventeen-year-old Irene Gut was working as a student nurse when Nazis invaded her native Poland in 1939. Caught in the chaos of war and separated from her family, she was eventually freed from forced factory work and placed as a servant in a Nazi dining hall. There, she witnessed the callousness of the officers and the violence being carried out within the Jewish ghetto abutting the back of the building. She soon began slipping food under the ghetto fence for those walled inside, and when an opportunity arose for her to take greater action, she began rescuing Jewish men and women — right under the nose of her boss, Major Eduard Rügemer. In My Hands is testimony of humanity’s capacity for both immense evil and enduring compassion, and is filled with scenes as tense as any thriller.
“We did not speak of what we had seen. At the time, to speak of it seemed worse than sacrilege: We had witnessed a thing so terrible that it acquired a dreadful holiness. It was a miracle of evil. It was not possible to say with words what we had witnessed, and so we kept it safely guarded until the time we could bring it out, and show it to others, and say, ‘Behold. This is the worst thing man can do.’“
Length: 304 pages
Set in: Poland; Ukraine
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