Sarah's Key Holocaust
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Sarah's Key

Sarah's Key | Sarah's Key Holocaust | Scoop.it
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup, but n...
Zoek's insight:

Told from two different perspectives, Sarah's Key is a story of what happened during the Vel' d'Hiv roundup in France in 1942. This book is told by Sarah, a little Jewish girl that was taken during the roundup, and Julia, a journalist that was assigned the Vel' d'Hiv as an article to be released for the sixtieth commemoration (2002). Sarah locked her brother in their secret cabinet before her and her parents were taken away by the French Police and carries the key in her pocket during her whole journey. Julia begins research and finds that the apartment she will soon be living in was the same apartment that Sarah lived in. She obsesses over Sarah and what her story was, finding the tragic end to her parents in the concentration camp, her little brother dying of hunger in the cupboard, what happened to her after. As Julia and Sarah's lives intertwine, Julia's life begins to crumble before her eyes. She becomes pregnant after so many failures with a child her husband does not want and learns a some of Sarah's story from her father in law that was a secret for sixty years. Julia continues to trace Sarah's story to the end, even though it breaks apart her marriage, and she is forced to care for Zoe and her unborn child alone. In the end, Julia's husband leaves her for the woman that he had been having an affair with, Zoe, Julia, and the new baby, named Sarah, move to New York. Julia and William, Sarah's son, meet in the end after she had told him what actually happened to his mother and end up together.
The theme of this story is loss of innocence and the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup of 1942. The Vel' d'Hiv' roundup of 1942 is a forgotten event in history. "From where the girl sat, she could see the dislocated body of the woman, the bloody skull of the child, sliced open like a ripe tomato" (de Rosnay 33). This shows a young child seeing death during such a hard time for the Jewish people during the war. Sarah experienced hunger, loss, and much fear during her journey, but Julia lost her innocence as well. She found out many of her husband's family and while everything unraveled, so did her marriage. "Yes, Vel' d'Hiv', Drancy, and all the transit camps, those antechambers of death, were organized, run, and guarded by Frenchmen" (de Rosnay 185). This shows that the French did take part in this tragic event and throughout the book the author uncovers the truth about what happened to the Jews in France at this time in the war.
I think that this was an amazing book. It may be fictional, but describes a historical event that is not usually talked about in history class and is an important event to know about. A minor theme that I picked up in this book is to follow your heart. Both characters depend on themselves to make decisions. Julia decides to keep her baby even though it will end her marriage, to continue to research after she is discouraged by her husband and his father, and to follow the story to the end like any good person/journalist should do. Sarah makes decisions on her own because she cannot depend on her in shock mother and her missing father. She decides to go back to her apartment in Paris for her brother, just to get closure of his death. This story is very sad, but the author adds different events to help lighten the load. Unfortunately, besides what happens to Julia and her daughters in the end of the book, all turns out the worst way possible. The story is very realistic and keeps the reader motivated to learn what happens to Sarah and Julia in the end. This tells of a historical event in a fictional way that is very interesting.

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Paris.

Paris. | Sarah's Key Holocaust | Scoop.it
U.S. History In Context
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This article described the Vichy coming to power and what the Jews went through during World War II. "The Berlin decision of June 1942, ordering preparations for mass deportations, led to measures: Jews were ordered to wear the yellow star and Jews were prohibited to access public places" ("Paris"). Also, the article described the curfews and how some businesses were required to be handed over to non-Jewish owners. The main part of this article talked about the roundup, how thousands of French police arrested over 13000 Jews, which were held in the Velodrome d'Hiver before they were deported to Auschwitz.

In Sarah's Key, Sarah and her parents were taken to the Vel' d'Hiv and suffered before being taken to the Beaune la Rolande concentration camp. Sarah mentioned her confusion over the curfews, the signs that said "Jewish" bank, firm, etc., the other restrictions, and most importantly the yellow star. "A month or so ago, her mother had sewn the stars on all her clothes. On all the family's clothes, except the little brother's. Before that their identity cards had been stamped with the words "Jew" or "Jewess". And then, there had been all the things they were suddenly no longer allowed to do" (de Rosnay 25). This singled out the Jews from all others, making it easier to detach them from society and ultimately deport them from France. Sarah and her parents were arrested and held in the Vel' d'Hiv' for days before deported to the Beaune la Rolande. Her parents were then separated one at a time from Sarah and taken to Auschwitz to be killed. In the article it described the separation of parents from children like the author does in the book. "She felt her mother's arms hold her once more, felt the thick bushy hair caress her face. Suddenly torrents of cold water blinded her. Spluttering, gasping for breath, she opened her eyes to see the men drag her mother away by the collar of her sopping dress" (de Rosnay 73). This is how many separations were handled and the women were taken to Auschwitz followed a week or two later by the children. But Sarah escaped before it was her turn.

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French president marks anniversary of Holocaust detentions.

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This article is a speech by the French President as a commemoration of the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup of 1942. In this speech he vowed to make this a known event in France, making sure that in school children are taught about this dark time in French history. It was also said that 76000, 13000 on July 16 and 17 1942, people went into the concentration camps and only 2500 people returned from them. He made sure that France was said to be the blame for this incident because the Vichy government (French) was collaborating with the Nazis.

This article relates to the book Sarah's Key because it is like the speech that is quoted in the book for the sixtieth anniversary of the incident. "This year, like every year, we are gathered together in this place to remember. So as to forget nothing of the persecutions, the hunting down, and the shattered destiny of so many French Jews" (de Rosnay 184). Both speeches show that it is important for the president to recognize this day so that the nation will put it in the front of their mind and not forget. Also, Sarah was one of the 13000 that was taken in the roundup (this book is fiction, but in the book she is one of the children taken). Unlike others, though, Sarah wanted to forget about her old life and start new so that she could forget about the horror instead of remembering her family in a good light.

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Paris

Paris tourism and travel information such as accommodation, festivals, transport, maps, activities and attractions in Paris, France - Lonely Planet
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This article has a lot of information for anyone interested in traveling to Paris or wanting to know about the history. In the "More about Paris" section there are links that will take you to a history article, practical information, tips, etc. This will help understand the current state of Paris, France and see where it has come from.

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Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State . Auschwitz 1940-1945 . Nazi Ideology and the Camp System | PBS

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State . Auschwitz 1940-1945 . Nazi Ideology and the Camp System | PBS | Sarah's Key Holocaust | Scoop.it
Zoek's insight:

This article was from a series called Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State, which has a lot of different branches to it. This specific article deals with just the Nazis and how the camps and their authority came to be. The Nazis first targeted the "abnormal" people that started societal problems such as communists, social democrats, and people who were a threat to this new, up and coming Nazi Regime. They then cleared the streets of prostitutes, homosexuals, homeless, Jehovah Witnesses that would not stop practicing their religion, and anyone else that seemed "unfit". Not until five years later did the Nazis have enough power to attack the Jews. This article also briefly describes the "Euthanasia" program where they murder thousands of disabled/handicapped civilians. After all of this occurred, they began taking over many other countries that then cooperated with these horrific plans, which included the hierarchy, prisoner against prisoner to gain privileges.
Because Sarah's Key was completely focused on France's part in the assassination of Jews, most of this information was not even mentioned in the book. The information given about the brutality of camps, shaving off all hair, no food, beatings of these people, was mentioned though. "The little ones were frantic. They had to be held down by two or three me. When it was her turn, the girl did not struggle. She bent her head. She felt the cold pressure of the machine and closed her eyes, unable to bear the sight of the long, golden strands falling to her feet" (de Rosnay 81). The guards were harsh to the children when there was no reason to be. Throughout every citation, it is shown that in this book Sarah went through starvation and brutality for no reason. Knowing the information from this article, though, adds even more intensity to the meaning behind the book. The French stood by, forcing the police to roundup the Jews that lived in their country, because they were scared and allowed thousands of citizens be murdered. The Euthanasia program was also the beginning to the gas chambers, but it initially started out quieter to keep families from protesting. But as seen in the book, Jews were taken as whole families because then no one could protest.

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Holocaust Survivor Services | Jewish Family Service

Holocaust Survivor Services | Jewish Family Service | Sarah's Key Holocaust | Scoop.it
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This is an Advocacy Group for Holocaust survivors. Survivors can come and meet others and talk about what they went through and the problems that are still occuring. Here they can get a counsellor as well as financial age, crisis prevention, and many other services.

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Sarah's Key (2010) - Plot Summary

Elle s'appelait Sarah on IMDb: Movies, TV, Celebs, and more...
Zoek's insight:

This is a movie that was created after the book. It follows the plot of the book very closely. Watching will be a very good reward/reference after reading the book. It was a French film "Elle s'appelait Sarah" originally and then turned into what everyone knows in America as Sarah's Key.

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Map of France During WWII

Map of France During WWII | Sarah's Key Holocaust | Scoop.it
Zoek's insight:

This is a map showing the Nazi occupation of France during World War 2. In the book, Sarah lives in Paris, France at this time, which is in the German Occupation Zone. While reading, this map will be helpful to refer to when all of the different places are mentioned in Julia's research and Sarah's experiences.

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"A Michelin noir. (camps in France that held Jews during Worl War II)

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This very lengthy article goes into great detail about the history of the war and some brief stories about people that were allowed into the camps, such as workers that help improve the conditions. "On that and the following day, 9,000 French policemen, acting on the orders of their national chief, Rend Bousquet, blanketed Paris in search of foreign-born Jews. They went door-to-door in apartment buildings and bed-to-bed in hospitals, carting off on stretchers those who could not walk and then sweeping the streets and the cafes" ("Michelin"). It mentions the five internment camps that Jews were transported to: Pithiviers, Beaune-la-Rolonde, Compiegne, Rieucros, or Drancy. No outsiders were allowed to enter or visit the camps to help the children or their families. It describes how the French public did nothing about the missing Jews and put part of the blame as the French government being the head of internment camps (non-Jewish) since before the start of the war. There are archives that were not released until just recently because of the attempt by the French to hide the past.

The article mentions the exact camp that Sarah was at Beaune la Rolande. People who attempted to give food, water, other survival materials to the Jews were forced away by police. The article goes into greater detail about the searching hospitals and cafes, but it makes more sense of her mother's reaction when the police came to her door the morning of July 16, 1942. "'But where are you taking us?' pleaded her mother. 'My daughter is French, she was born in Paris, why do you want her too? Where are you taking us?'" (de Rosnay 7). Even though the article says that the French born Jews were spared, the children of foreign born Jews were not, which is why Sarah was taken even though she was born in France. But in the French policemen' difficult search, they did not take the time to find Sarah's little brother, which if it was that important the police should have looked harder. Maybe then Michel would not have died. In Julia's research, she found that "Most of the children were French, born in France. None of them came back from Auschwitz" (de Rosnay 29), which also supports the article. The article does not go into great detail though like Julia's research or Sarah's memories.

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Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State . Auschwitz 1940-1945 . Factories of Death | PBS

Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State . Auschwitz 1940-1945 . Factories of Death | PBS | Sarah's Key Holocaust | Scoop.it
Zoek's insight:

This article, from the same series as a previous annotation, is more specific on France and the French Jews. France cooperated with the Nazis during the war. The Nazis wanted all of the Jews that were in France at the time, but the French government were going to give up the foreign born Jews first. This became a problem because then the Jewish children that were born in France had to go somewhere to when they did not have parents. That place was Drancy. One brief story in this article describes the Mullers, two children whose mother was taken away to Auschwitz and they were sent to Drancy. Their father paid off a policeman to let the children go just before the children of Drancy were to be deported to Auschwitz too. None of the children that were sent to Auschwitz ever returned. The article also tells that in September of 1942 the Nazis found an easier way to dispose of the dead bodies, burning them. This would make Auschwitz even more efficient.
In Sarah's Key, Sarah was taken with her parents in the "first batch" of Jews even though she was born in France. Instead of being sent to Drancy though, she was sent to Auschwitz. Like the Muller children, Sarah went through a somewhat similar situation. "'The child's card is there, Monsieur. With ours.' The man opened the envelope wider with a deft thumb. A large banknote folded into three appeared at the bottom of the envelope. The man did not budge. He looked down again at the money, then at Sarah's face" (de Rosnay 150-151). In this part of the story, Sarah has already escaped, but is heading back to Paris so that she can get her brother. The couple she is with pays off the policeman so she does not get taken back to the concentration camp. She is let into Paris without an identity card. This new way of disposing of bodies would be relevant if the book went on a little longer in Sarah's perspective because the couple she lives with lives close to the death camps. The smell of burning corpses would be around them at all times after the Nazis figured out how to dispose of them. Also, Sarah's parents, even though they had been dead for a couple of months by then, could be burned as well in order to save space.

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Auschwitz: The Nazi and the Final Solution (3/5)

http://documentary.thevidblog.com AUSCHWITZ: THE CORRUPTION At the Auschwitz camp, a large amount of wealth was stolen from the Jews. The Goldjuden or Jews o...
Zoek's insight:

The specific sections used are number two and three of the five clips. This documentary goes into great detail about all different kinds of events that happened in Auschwitz. It told of the brutality of the SS (guards) on the prisoners. The SS stole their food, clothing, and gold, diamonds, other valuables. All of the valuables that are taken from the Jews were supposed to be put in locked box, but with all of the people and all of the piles of clothing, it was easy for the SS to steal from the Jews' clothing. The SS were also allowed to rape the prisoners in Auschwitz. The prisoners died from beatings, starvation, and sometimes experiments done by Mengele. Mengele's interest was in twins. He would give the children candy and new clothes and they called him the Great Uncle, but then he would experiment on them. He would take one, take blood, inject them, do tests on them and when they died the other twin would be murdered so they could do autopsies on them both at the same time. He would send body parts to other scientists too.
In Sarah's Key, Sarah never mentions twins, which is interesting because they could have been held separately and taken to Auschwitz for experiments. Mengele doesn't directly relate to the story, but if she was a twin, the story would have been even more terrible than it already was and there probably would be no happy ending for Julia. In all of Julia's research, she never said anything about the experiments either. The SS though, was a major role in this book. In the documentary, one woman was loved by an SS guard and he saved her sister from being killed in a gas chamber and both of them survived. "Suddenly, he said her name. He took her hand. His palm felt hot and clammy. 'Go,' he said between clenched teeth, the sweat trickling down the side of his pasty face. 'Go, now! Fast'" (de Rosnay 91). Because the policeman from her neighborhood loved her family so much, he helped her escape. It's exciting that events like that did actually happen to a lucky few in Auschwitz. In the book, Sarah also described getting their belonging taken away in vicious ways. "A  policeman pointed to the tiny gold rings the little girl wore in her ears" and then later "One of the village women went over to the small girl and with a quick gesture yanked the rings through her ears, tearing the tiny lobes" (de Rosnay 71). This shows the bruatlity of the guards that was unnecessary and the taking away of the Jews possesions.

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Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us | Sarah's Key Holocaust | Scoop.it
For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three wh...
Zoek's insight:

This book is very similar to Sarah's Key. It is not Sarah's daughter that unearths the truth about the past, it is Julia, a reporter assigned the Vel' d'Hiv' roundup of 1942. She digs deeper and finds out Sarah's complete journey through life during and after the war ended. Julia then tells Sarah's son about the past, he is unknowing that his mother was even a victim of the Holocaust.

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