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Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love

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One family’s inspiring true story of love, escape, and survival "An uplifting tale, suffused with a karmic righteousness that is, at times, exhilarating." —Wall Street Journal "A gripping narrative that reads like a page turning thriller novel." — NPR In the summer of 1942, the Rabinowitz family narrowly escaped the Nazi ghetto in their Polish town by fleeing to the forbi One family’s inspiring true story of love, escape, and survival "An uplifting tale, suffused with a karmic righteousness that is, at times, exhilarating." —Wall Street Journal "A gripping narrative that reads like a page turning thriller novel." — NPR In the summer of 1942, the Rabinowitz family narrowly escaped the Nazi ghetto in their Polish town by fleeing to the forbidding Bialowieza Forest. They miraculously survived two years in the woods—through brutal winters, Typhus outbreaks, and merciless Nazi raids—until they were liberated by the Red Army in 1944. After the war they trekked across the Alps into Italy where they settled as refugees before eventually immigrating to the United States. During the first ghetto massacre, Miriam Rabinowitz rescued a young boy named Philip by pretending he was her son. Nearly a decade later, a chance encounter at a wedding in Brooklyn would lead Philip to find the woman who saved him. And to discover her daughter Ruth was the love of his life. From a little-known chapter of Holocaust history, one family’s inspiring true story.


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One family’s inspiring true story of love, escape, and survival "An uplifting tale, suffused with a karmic righteousness that is, at times, exhilarating." —Wall Street Journal "A gripping narrative that reads like a page turning thriller novel." — NPR In the summer of 1942, the Rabinowitz family narrowly escaped the Nazi ghetto in their Polish town by fleeing to the forbi One family’s inspiring true story of love, escape, and survival "An uplifting tale, suffused with a karmic righteousness that is, at times, exhilarating." —Wall Street Journal "A gripping narrative that reads like a page turning thriller novel." — NPR In the summer of 1942, the Rabinowitz family narrowly escaped the Nazi ghetto in their Polish town by fleeing to the forbidding Bialowieza Forest. They miraculously survived two years in the woods—through brutal winters, Typhus outbreaks, and merciless Nazi raids—until they were liberated by the Red Army in 1944. After the war they trekked across the Alps into Italy where they settled as refugees before eventually immigrating to the United States. During the first ghetto massacre, Miriam Rabinowitz rescued a young boy named Philip by pretending he was her son. Nearly a decade later, a chance encounter at a wedding in Brooklyn would lead Philip to find the woman who saved him. And to discover her daughter Ruth was the love of his life. From a little-known chapter of Holocaust history, one family’s inspiring true story.

30 review for Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love

  1. 4 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This is yet another good book from WWII, written by Rebecca Hankel. It focuses on the Rabinowitz family and their experiences after escaping to the forest to avoid capture by the Nazis. I enjoy reading about different aspects of this time period to further my knowledge of history. Advance electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Rebecca Frankel, and the publisher.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tami

    From the first chapter, I found myself completely invested in the Rabinowitz family. Living in a small town in Poland, they managed to get by for a time without much interference from the Germans. Eventually, like many other Jewish families, they ended up in a Nazi Ghetto. Once the Nazi regime started their “selections” the Rabinowitz family knew they had to escape the ghetto and take their chances living in the forest. Their ingenuity, patience and bravery were what drove them to successfully es From the first chapter, I found myself completely invested in the Rabinowitz family. Living in a small town in Poland, they managed to get by for a time without much interference from the Germans. Eventually, like many other Jewish families, they ended up in a Nazi Ghetto. Once the Nazi regime started their “selections” the Rabinowitz family knew they had to escape the ghetto and take their chances living in the forest. Their ingenuity, patience and bravery were what drove them to successfully escape the ghetto and then survive two brutal winters in the forest. Typhus, starvation, freezing and the risk of capture were ever-present challenges to overcome. Liberated by the Red Army, the family eventually crossed into Italy and lived for a time as refugees before making their way into the United States, where they were reacquainted with a young man who survived the same ghetto, thanks to Mrs. Rabinowitz. I found their journey after being liberated just as interesting as their time in the forest, though not as harrowing. History lovers and those who enjoy inspiring stories will not want to miss this book. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read an advance copy. I am happy to give my honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Susan Snodgrass

    I have always enjoyed reading about the Holocaust and have quite a few books on the subject in my own library. This one does something most other books don’t. It follows some survivors beyond that horrific time and delves into their lives deeper. The author here has done a wonderful job! My thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    AC

    Into the Forest is a nonfiction book about the Rabinowitz family living in Zhetel, in what is now Belarus. It's an astonishing tale of hardship, survival, and, in the end, love. A chance meeting at a weeding puts a young man on a path to find the woman who saved him from being shipped off to a camp and killed. There is a brief introduction in the first few chapters about the family - how they landed in Zhetel, what their businesses were, what their houses looked like, and so on. Normally, this wou Into the Forest is a nonfiction book about the Rabinowitz family living in Zhetel, in what is now Belarus. It's an astonishing tale of hardship, survival, and, in the end, love. A chance meeting at a weeding puts a young man on a path to find the woman who saved him from being shipped off to a camp and killed. There is a brief introduction in the first few chapters about the family - how they landed in Zhetel, what their businesses were, what their houses looked like, and so on. Normally, this would be well less than interesting, an infodump that the author did not weave into the narrative, but it works here, as the immersion into that time and that place are both necessary and fascinating. The woods of the title refers to the large forested area in the vicinity. As WWII begins, and Nazi troops begin pouring through the country, first depriving Jews of their rights and then of their lives, the Rabinowitz family escapes the ghetto and hides in the forest for an amazing two years. They dig dugout shelters and disguise them to hide from Nazi (and their collaborators) due to raids. There is never enough food during the years, and never enough heat in the harsh winters. Disease runs rampant, and the family is forced to relocate their shelter when the smallish community of those hiding in the woods is found by the Nazis. Throughout it all, the family stays together, occasionally making contact with friendly farmers in the area - people the Rabinowitz family knew to be sympathetic to their plight even before the Jews were rounded up in the area. Eventually, WWI ends, and the family, along with other survivors, heads over another dangerous pass, this time to sneak into Italy as a step of making their way to what is now Israel. They ultimately give up on that idea and head to America instead. It's a fantastic story, well told, and I loved it. Highly recommended. Five out of five stars. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the reading copy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Oh my, what an absolutely awesome read. This is by far one of the best WWII books I have come upon. I came to feel as if I knew Morris and Miriam as my friends. This is my first Rebecca Frankel novel; I will be looking for more. The writing was excellent, the research was stellar. This book covers how it was, to live in the forest and so many times I backtracked just to hear the telling again. Miriam and Morris’s love for each other, their dedication to their family and their kindness and determ Oh my, what an absolutely awesome read. This is by far one of the best WWII books I have come upon. I came to feel as if I knew Morris and Miriam as my friends. This is my first Rebecca Frankel novel; I will be looking for more. The writing was excellent, the research was stellar. This book covers how it was, to live in the forest and so many times I backtracked just to hear the telling again. Miriam and Morris’s love for each other, their dedication to their family and their kindness and determination to make a life after, was inspiring. Based upon true events – wonderful book….. Wonderful read. The highest 5 stars!!! I want to thank St. Martin’s Press along with NetGalley for allowing me the opportunity to read an ARC.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jg

    I had just finished a soon to be published fascinating fictional book of people hiding in the woods to escape the nazis, so when I saw this new NF account I had to request it. Besides reading about resistance fighters hiding for a while in the woods, this is the first time Ive read or heard about this little known chapter in WW2. To stay hidden in the woods for over two years trying to survive through the cold weather, lack of food and continuous nazi raids is an incredible feat, and one we shou I had just finished a soon to be published fascinating fictional book of people hiding in the woods to escape the nazis, so when I saw this new NF account I had to request it. Besides reading about resistance fighters hiding for a while in the woods, this is the first time Ive read or heard about this little known chapter in WW2. To stay hidden in the woods for over two years trying to survive through the cold weather, lack of food and continuous nazi raids is an incredible feat, and one we should hear more about. This story is incredible, the writing great, the subject matter riveting. I highly recommend Into the Forest.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sandra The Old Woman in a Van

    I've read a large number of Holocaust-era memoirs, biographies, nonfiction, and fiction. Yet Rebecca Frankel's new nonfiction account of a family surviving for years while hiding out in the primordial Bialowietza Forest. The book is an inspirational account of Jewish refugees, partisan Russian fighters, and others hiding in this impenetrable forest. They evade Nazi annihilation, survive Typhus, and live through record cold winters. It is one of the top books I've read detailing Holocaust history I've read a large number of Holocaust-era memoirs, biographies, nonfiction, and fiction. Yet Rebecca Frankel's new nonfiction account of a family surviving for years while hiding out in the primordial Bialowietza Forest. The book is an inspirational account of Jewish refugees, partisan Russian fighters, and others hiding in this impenetrable forest. They evade Nazi annihilation, survive Typhus, and live through record cold winters. It is one of the top books I've read detailing Holocaust history. And there is more. Frankel's tale uncovers some odds-defying coincidences that bring some of the survivors together after the war. The story was riveting from beginning to end; it reads like a novel. I'm thrilled this story is coming out. If you like WWII history and want to learn more about a relatively unknown and heroic aspect of the Holocaust, add this book to your reading list. I received a Net Galley copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Konet

    A story of survival of the Rabinowitz family during the Holocaust. It is honest, emotional, and raw and people need to realize stories like these still matter for historical accuracy. Because I was so emotional and taken by the honesty, I was able to read it in a few sittings even though some of cruelty was graphic. Recommended for people that like untold stories in world history. Well written and researched. Thanks to Netgalley, Rebecca Frankel and St Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for an A story of survival of the Rabinowitz family during the Holocaust. It is honest, emotional, and raw and people need to realize stories like these still matter for historical accuracy. Because I was so emotional and taken by the honesty, I was able to read it in a few sittings even though some of cruelty was graphic. Recommended for people that like untold stories in world history. Well written and researched. Thanks to Netgalley, Rebecca Frankel and St Martin's Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Available: 9/7/21

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Pesnell

    This was a really good, detailed book. I really enjoyed it and would like to read more by the author. Would definitely recommend this to anyone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Madison Doerr

    CW - Holocaust (Please look up for more details) I think my biggest issue with the book is that it was miss marketed. I didn't realize this was non-fiction when I first picked it up. I believed it was based on true events of the holocaust and was well researched (based on the references in the back) but I believed it would be structured like a standard novel and follow a family through their experience during the Holocaust. The book does follow a particular family but just by showing what their l CW - Holocaust (Please look up for more details) I think my biggest issue with the book is that it was miss marketed. I didn't realize this was non-fiction when I first picked it up. I believed it was based on true events of the holocaust and was well researched (based on the references in the back) but I believed it would be structured like a standard novel and follow a family through their experience during the Holocaust. The book does follow a particular family but just by showing what their life looked like while the booked walked the reader through events of the Holocaust. It's all telling and no showing. There are no conversations between characters (or in this case real people), we don't get into their heads to understand their thought process or feelings. The reader is shown what the the family is doing and then breaks off to show what else is going on at this time within the world in regards to the Holocaust and treatment of Jews. There are a lot of names of generals and rebel leaders that became confusing to follow in these descriptions. Had I known that this was non-fiction before going into the book I think it would have prepare me for the writing style of the book (which does make sense for a non fiction book). The title "a holocaust story of survival, triumph, and love" and the back description make it sound like a novel and I think the book could have a hard time finding the right audience with that. With all that being said, I did enjoy the book. I learned a lot about the Holocaust that I didn't already know from school, specifically about the survival of Jews in the Bialowieza Forest. For such a hard hitting and horrific period of history to read about I did find the book engaging and easy to read. If anyone is interested in reading more about the Holocaust, WWII, or nonfiction in general I would recommend this. I think it could be used as a great jumping off point to find more books on the subject (especially with all the references from research).

  11. 4 out of 5

    KennytheKat

    I finished this book at about 3am this morning, but this book was amazing. I love the realness of the details the author uses. I love that it’s also nonfiction because I’m a German history nerd, lol. This book is a must read and I’m really glad I won this in a giveaway and had the chance to read this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a DRC of this book! Into the Forest is one family's story of survival during the Holocaust, and is an intimate look at the Holocaust along the Eastern front. The Rabinowitz family- father Morris, mother Miriam, and two little girls, lived in Zhetel with their extended family. Now located in Belarus, the town was occupied by the Soviets during the first years of the war. When the Nazis marched into town in 1941, the Jews of Zhetel and the nearby village Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a DRC of this book! Into the Forest is one family's story of survival during the Holocaust, and is an intimate look at the Holocaust along the Eastern front. The Rabinowitz family- father Morris, mother Miriam, and two little girls, lived in Zhetel with their extended family. Now located in Belarus, the town was occupied by the Soviets during the first years of the war. When the Nazis marched into town in 1941, the Jews of Zhetel and the nearby villages were placed in a ghetto. Unlike the Holocaust of Western Europe and parts of Poland occupied by the Nazis prior to 1941, there were no deportations from Zhetel to camps. Instead, the Nazis would periodically hold selections and take everyone they deemed unnecessary to a mass grave to shoot them. Knowing that escape was their only option to live, the family flees into the forest of Belarus. It sounds terrible to say that I enjoyed reading a book about such horrible events, so perhaps enjoyed isn't the right word. This book was compelling. We don't often hear Holocaust survival stories from this part of the world, much less those that focus on a family unit rather than an individual. The family story is interwoven with the story of the community and it's surrounding area- how the Judenrat tried to resist the Nazis, how the partisans in the woods lived and interacted with each other and their various ideologies. This is a definite must-read for anyone interested in Holocaust history.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steven Z.

    Over the years many books and memoirs have been written describing the imponderable experiences of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. The story line that I have found most unbelievable involves those individuals who escaped the Nazi imposed ghettoization of villages, towns, and cities into forests that adjoined their homes. The latest narrative, INTO THE FOREST: A HOLOCAUST STORY OF SURVIVAL, TRIUMPH AND LOVE by Rebecca Frankel is a poignant description of eight hundred people who escaped the Belo Over the years many books and memoirs have been written describing the imponderable experiences of survivors of the Nazi Holocaust. The story line that I have found most unbelievable involves those individuals who escaped the Nazi imposed ghettoization of villages, towns, and cities into forests that adjoined their homes. The latest narrative, INTO THE FOREST: A HOLOCAUST STORY OF SURVIVAL, TRIUMPH AND LOVE by Rebecca Frankel is a poignant description of eight hundred people who escaped the Belorussian village of Zhetel in August 1942 into the Lipiczany forest who by August 1944 was reduced to about two hundred. The resistance/survival genre of the Holocaust was popularized in the 1980s with the publication of the book DEFIANCE and a film of the same name which told the true story of the Bielski brothers who defied the Nazis, built a village in the forest, and saved about 1200 Jews. These stories reflect the tenacity and will to live by so many as is shown in Frankel’s description of the plight of the Rabinowitz family as they survived in a primeval forest near their home. Frankel immediately captures the attention of her readers as describes a 1953 wedding in Brooklyn, New York attended by Philip Lazowski, a Yeshiva student who attended classes at Brooklyn College. We soon learn that during the war that Philip left his home in Bilitz as the Nazis were massacring Jews and was protected by a woman and her two young daughters as the Nazis had moved on to the village of Zhetel. While attending the wedding Philip recognized a woman named Miriam Rabinowitz, the same person who had saved his life. This story and numerous others are recounted by Frankel as she delves into the many horrors that the Holocaust wrought to so many people. Frankel’s monograph is a story of how people react to certain death and the triumph of the human spirit. In telling her stories Frankel blends the course of the war and the Holocaust in a concise manner and its impact on the Rabinowitz family, Morris, Miriam, and their two young daughters Rochel and Tania, in addition to other relatives and people that they came in contact with. Morris had been a businessperson who had acquired an intimate knowledge of forestry which would assist him and his family in their quest for survival. Miriam had owned a medical shop that sold alternative remedies for injuries and disease, again her knowledge would later come in very handy. Frankel explores the distinction between Nazi and Soviet approaches in dealing with Jews particularly after the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 26, 1939, and the invasions by both countries dividing Poland in half. Everyone is aware of the Nazi approach to the “Final Solution” of the Jewish people, but the Russians in many instances let their anti-Semitism block any cooperation with Jewish partisans who wanted to fight the Germans. Once the Rabinowitz’s escaped into the forest the author describes the hardships they faced and how they went about surviving. They would link up with Chaim Feldman’s family who were able to smuggle a wagon load of supplies into the forest and the two families were able to dig shelters and smuggle food into the forest through their friendships with Christian families forged before the war. The book points to a myriad of rules and mores that were broken. The forest would produce its own socio-economic structure that created friendships but also a degree of hostility as the woods created a society of have and have nots. Frankel describes in intimate details how human relationships became tools of survival for women. It was clear to many that the only way a woman might survive was if they had a relationship with a man for protection. If these relationships happened to produce a pregnancy, abortion and allowing babies to die became the norm as any sound, i.e.; a crying baby could give away a position and result in another Nazi Selektion that would massacre the Jews. Frankel delves into the fears, the highs and lows of living in the forest with death facing them each moment, the preparations to fight, and the interactions with others with the result that the reader should develop a high degree of empathy for victims of the Nazi genocide. Many historical events and characters appear. The Bielski brothers resided in the same forest as the Rabinowitz’s. SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Oskar Direwanger who had the reputation as “the most evil man in the SS” leads the the killing squads that resulted in the death of over 10,000 in the first months of 1943 appears. Herz Kaminsky, a man who lost his wife and child took in seventy people and protected them and acquired the nickname of “the father of all children.” Numerous other personal stories are told each rendering the reader to ponder how they may have fared in this situation. By the start of 1944, the 150,000 Russian partisans had taken control of the forests and the Soviet army began its march toward Berlin. The Jews who lived in the forest had to navigate being caught between the surging Russian forces and the retreating Germans. By September of 1944, the Rabinowitz’s and others were told by the Christian farmers that the Germans were gone, and they soon walked for weeks to return to the village of Zhetel which they found was occupied by the Soviet army and their homes and possessions gone. The 1953 wedding is evidence of the randomness of survival and reconnection that followed European Jewry after the war. Frankel’s extensive research based on interviews of survivors and their descendants tells a story of struggle and resilience and it will captivate the reader and in many instances bring forth thoughts of how people treat each other in desperate situations and what they will do to overcome and save themselves and their families. This is a gripping story with a satisfying ending, which I recommend to all.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    I read an advanced copy from Edelweiss.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Meagan

    Do not let the word “Love” in the title fool you into thinking this is a novel style, romantic love story. I personally like reading about WW2, and this book tells a part of history that I have never heard of. This is a true story that follows a Jewish family through the struggle of keeping their family together, while staying alive, with all odds against them, going to unimaginable lengths, through that dark time in history. There is no fluff filler. It tells the atrocities without extreme, but Do not let the word “Love” in the title fool you into thinking this is a novel style, romantic love story. I personally like reading about WW2, and this book tells a part of history that I have never heard of. This is a true story that follows a Jewish family through the struggle of keeping their family together, while staying alive, with all odds against them, going to unimaginable lengths, through that dark time in history. There is no fluff filler. It tells the atrocities without extreme, but enough, detail, it makes you feel a wide range of emotions. I had to reread some paragraphs more than once and had to keep reminding myself that this really happened, to real people, not an exaggerated “loosely based on true events” story. I had to set it down a couple of times to regroup. It shows the bad and good of human nature, and how circumstances can change people’s actions. It shows that the love of family is one remarkable, odds defying, emotion. Thank you so much for the ARC

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    How can a shiksa boomer born in Milwaukee possibly appreciate the trials, tribulations, and journeys of the people in this book. Well, start with the area my grandparents came from (all four), add in my calling as a nurse in the inner city, and finish up with a familiarity since childhood with the family names of a large number of the people in this book. I learned a lot about the Russian Poles that I never heard at home, and little of it was good. Did you know that so many of the partisans rema How can a shiksa boomer born in Milwaukee possibly appreciate the trials, tribulations, and journeys of the people in this book. Well, start with the area my grandparents came from (all four), add in my calling as a nurse in the inner city, and finish up with a familiarity since childhood with the family names of a large number of the people in this book. I learned a lot about the Russian Poles that I never heard at home, and little of it was good. Did you know that so many of the partisans remained adamantly antisemitic during the war? Can you imagine living in a dense forest with thirty or more people in an underground bunker for almost two years with little food, clothing, water, sanitation or ability to care for the sick. Can you imagine having to do surgery with a kitchen knife and no anesthesia or pain killers other than whiskey. Still they survived. And no less brave or stubborn than those who were caught, tortured, and murdered. But this book celebrates the triumphs and positives of people who went through incredibly severe trials and came out on top. And it is a labor of love and incredible research and cooperation from people who find it all indescribably painful to talk about. I am totally impressed with everyone associated with this story and agree NEVER AGAIN. I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Janilyn Kocher

    I simply cannot read enough of these types of books. Into the Woods reveals the harrowing stories of one Jewish family and many of their contemporaries who fled into the Polish woods to outwit and survive the Nazis. Their ingenuity and skills impressed me time and time again. I was mesmerized from the first page. I barely looked up in the hours reading it consumed me, I am so glad these stories are being preserved and shared.for others to read and learn. It also reminded me of Kristin Harmel’s F I simply cannot read enough of these types of books. Into the Woods reveals the harrowing stories of one Jewish family and many of their contemporaries who fled into the Polish woods to outwit and survive the Nazis. Their ingenuity and skills impressed me time and time again. I was mesmerized from the first page. I barely looked up in the hours reading it consumed me, I am so glad these stories are being preserved and shared.for others to read and learn. It also reminded me of Kristin Harmel’s Forest of Vanishing Stars. Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the advance read.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kim Fox

    I have read many books based on WWII, or during WWII. Some fiction/historical fiction and some non fiction. All have been amazing in their own way, but... Into The Forest by Rebecca Frankel (a true story) was different. This book tells the story of the Rabinowitz family and their determination to live! This family escaped a Nazi ghetto and lived in the woods, alongside many others, and SURVIVED! Two years in the woods until they were liberated by the Russians. TWO YEARS!! Two years of living off I have read many books based on WWII, or during WWII. Some fiction/historical fiction and some non fiction. All have been amazing in their own way, but... Into The Forest by Rebecca Frankel (a true story) was different. This book tells the story of the Rabinowitz family and their determination to live! This family escaped a Nazi ghetto and lived in the woods, alongside many others, and SURVIVED! Two years in the woods until they were liberated by the Russians. TWO YEARS!! Two years of living off the land. Two years of constantly having to look for safer places to live in the woods. Two years of having to dig underground bunkers and stay in those when the Nazi's would get close. TWO YEARS! Such a wonderful story of perseverance, love and family. I cant not recommend this book enough!! This book will release on September 7th, so for those of you that like to read stories about World War 2, add this one to your collection. 4⭐ Thank you to Netgalley, St. Martin's Press and Rebecca Frankel for the eARC/ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Baron

    I’ve read hundreds of Holocaust stories but this one is exceptional. Although it reads like a thriller with its horrors of war, it left me with an uplifting feeling. Be sure to read the Acknowledgments to see the personal connection between the author and the subjects of the book and learn about her five years of research that inspired this moving, true story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Cris

    This is an amazing story of WWII about a family and there will to survive no matter the cost! They ending is remarkable!I live the story, very well written and the characters are amazing because they are real.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rita

    I was given an advance copy of this book from goodreads and Rebecca Frankel. Thanks and gratitude to both. This is a well written book that details the horrible events that this family and others endured during the holocaust. It vividly describes the horrors that the Jewish people experienced during this time. Have tissues ready. This covers many horrific events and many many deaths by the nazi agenda. It gives the reader a better understanding of what people went through and I would recommend t I was given an advance copy of this book from goodreads and Rebecca Frankel. Thanks and gratitude to both. This is a well written book that details the horrible events that this family and others endured during the holocaust. It vividly describes the horrors that the Jewish people experienced during this time. Have tissues ready. This covers many horrific events and many many deaths by the nazi agenda. It gives the reader a better understanding of what people went through and I would recommend this book to be read by all to keep in mind just how evil man can be.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary Cummins

    I received an ARC of Into the Forest by Rebecca Frankel in a Goodreads giveaway.This book is a wonderful true story of the Rabinowitz family who endure over 2 years living in a forest Poland after their village is invaded by the Nazis.It is a heartwarming and engaging tale about brave people who did everything they had to do to survive during a horrible time in history even showing kindness to other families and a boy who would one day become their son in law.It also tells about their journey af I received an ARC of Into the Forest by Rebecca Frankel in a Goodreads giveaway.This book is a wonderful true story of the Rabinowitz family who endure over 2 years living in a forest Poland after their village is invaded by the Nazis.It is a heartwarming and engaging tale about brave people who did everything they had to do to survive during a horrible time in history even showing kindness to other families and a boy who would one day become their son in law.It also tells about their journey after the war to get to Palestine but eventually decide to come to America.Their life in America is testimony to their bravery and stalwart attitude.A different kind of Holocaust story.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Into the Forest, by Rebecca Frankel, is subtitled "A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love." It is an accurate summary of the book, with the important addition that this is a true story of one family's experience evading torture and extinction from Nazi invasion. Their survival is nothing short of miraculous. Most true accounts suffer from the absence of imagination and characterization that infuses fiction. Yet, this story, constructed from interviews and historical events, manages to Into the Forest, by Rebecca Frankel, is subtitled "A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love." It is an accurate summary of the book, with the important addition that this is a true story of one family's experience evading torture and extinction from Nazi invasion. Their survival is nothing short of miraculous. Most true accounts suffer from the absence of imagination and characterization that infuses fiction. Yet, this story, constructed from interviews and historical events, manages to transcend fiction. I was awed by the fragility of life itself when confronted by evil and inspired by the fortitude and resilience of this one family. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read a digital ARC. I highly recommend it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    thewanderingjew

    Into The Forest, Rebecca Frankel It has been described as a great love story, but that does not do the book justice. It is so much more. It is the quintessential book about the Holocaust. To read about the it takes courage and fortitude because the details are mind bending. No matter how many books one reads about the Holocaust, fiction or non-fiction, there are always new discoveries of more and more heinous behavior. Thus, the books are difficult to read, and often, they take longer than one wo Into The Forest, Rebecca Frankel It has been described as a great love story, but that does not do the book justice. It is so much more. It is the quintessential book about the Holocaust. To read about the it takes courage and fortitude because the details are mind bending. No matter how many books one reads about the Holocaust, fiction or non-fiction, there are always new discoveries of more and more heinous behavior. Thus, the books are difficult to read, and often, they take longer than one would imagine because of the emotions they arouse and the respite required after a few chapters. Still, these books must be read as they give the reader so much to think about and so much to try and remember, because these facts must be remembered to prevent a recurrence. The indomitable spirit of the families in this book, coupled with their optimism in the face of nothing optimistic, is what gives one the hope, at the end, that the molested will always survive while evil will succumb to the forces of righteousness. The story of this family from Belarus, and those they came in contact with, during and after the war, is often heart rending as well has uplifting, as one learns of the enormous strength of character and courage that the survivors maintained in the face of the most barbaric of situations, in the face of such brutality and hate that it seemed the stuff of horror novels. The survivors were so few in number when considering the total greater number that were murdered, that it tortures the reader’s sensibilities. Families were torn asunder, friendships were tested as was the desire to live and/or resist. Should they seek retribution, vengeance, or justice? Should they simply hope for an end to the violence so that life could return to normal? Would normal ever be possible again? Hitler turned family members against each other, turned neighbor against neighbor, made fear an everyday experience. Soon, no one knew whom to trust. First they hoped for the Germans to be defeated, but then the Russians came and many were also barbaric, and many hated the Jews. The Jews were the wretched of the lands they lived in, and those that preyed upon them were the spawn of the devil. Even after the war ended, the Jews were accosted by barbarians who were still filled with their bigotry and greed. There was so much opposition to those of the Jewish faith that even after the horrors they experienced were discovered, they found it hard to find a safe haven. Often they could not return to their own homes, homes that were stolen from them, because those that looted or occupied them would not comply and leave. So often they were brutalized again. Most survivors sought safer places to live in other countries, like Israel, which was not easy because of The White Paper and British control of the immigration numbers, or America, which required sponsors. The still pervasive anti-Semitism hindered their efforts in many countries, but they persisted. These were the survivors. As one reads, it becomes apparent that Jews were even cruel to other Jews, in the fight to survive. They were often duped into turning fellow Jews in, as they believed they would be resettled and not systematically tortured and murdered. Sometimes they did it believing they could save themselves. Some Jews thought they were better than others. Some thought that what they had heard could not be true, so atrocious were the stories of humiliation and abuse. When finally they resisted, they were outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and less well equipped. Still they fought and resisted, as best they could, once they learned about the horrors that awaited them. Hiding places, sabotage and escapes became more and more prevalent. The forest became a place of refuge for many. They built underground bunkers; they moved often so as not to be caught; they helped each other, but also hindered the efforts of some who needed help, in order to survive. Children and elderly were suffocated to prevent them from crying out and revealing those who were hidden. Desperate times called for the most desperate of measures. Those that brought such circumstances about have a special place in Hell. The Nazis enlisted help from the lowest elements of society, criminals, dysfunctionals, sadists, psychopaths and other mentally ill individuals without a conscience. What they perpetrated on society was so evil and yet today it is not on everyone’s radar. When I hear of groups wanting reparations for injustice, I wonder if they understand that others have also faced a most awful kind of injustice for centuries. Rather than reparations, we should seek to prevent a recurrence of the same kind of hatred and violence in our society. We should seek to accept our differences and not let them divide us. There were places in which my life converged with that of the survivors. My father came from Belarus and were it not for chance, he could have been there and not in America at the time of the war. I also went to the Borscht Belt in the Catskills, as we became more financially stable. It was a place of refuge where Jews felt they belonged, where they were accepted, catered to and respected. I also attended Brooklyn College, which at one time was filled with upwardly mobile Jewish students. It was hard to get into the school without academic success, but it provided an opportunity for higher education for those who could not afford the more esteemed places of learning like Harvard or Yale or other schools with big price tags. They were not even part of my opportunity zone. For the price of a bursar’s fee and the purchase of used books, a future could be had at city schools. There were no programs that provided for students to go to any school they wanted to, or met requirements for, because one had to be responsible for the cost of their education. So the book is hard to read, but also hard to put down. The loyalty and devotion of family members to each other, sibling to sibling, parent to child, child to parent and grandparent, and spouse to spouse is writ large on each page of this book. It would be easy to say that their love kept these survivors alive, but it would not be true. Courage, the kindness of others, perhaps a bit of fate or happenstance, and a good deal of nothing more than luck and chance, also played a major role. Let us remember this history so we do not repeat it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    into the Forest is one of the most outstanding, compelling, moving, poignant and incredible books I've ever read. The author managed to capture every emotion there is through her extensive research and writing. Though I have read many, many Holocaust books, this one is astounding. It is about perseverance, heartache, betrayal, sorrow, anguish, determination, survival, hope and love. The unspeakable suffering and constant hiding, not to mention scrounging for scraps of food each day, seem worlds into the Forest is one of the most outstanding, compelling, moving, poignant and incredible books I've ever read. The author managed to capture every emotion there is through her extensive research and writing. Though I have read many, many Holocaust books, this one is astounding. It is about perseverance, heartache, betrayal, sorrow, anguish, determination, survival, hope and love. The unspeakable suffering and constant hiding, not to mention scrounging for scraps of food each day, seem worlds away from most of us. Add cruelty, fear and death to the equation and you get a heartbreaking situation. How some willed to go on is unreal. A very small percentage of Jews in Poland survived the war and aftermath. Millions didn't. Miriam and Morris Rabinowitz, along with their two young girls Rochel and Tania, faced horror after horror. They were forced to leave their home and everything they had and eventually ended up in the ghetto. Those caught leaving were shot and living conditions were appalling. Evil men such as Dirlewanger (look him up) were on the rampage. Bunker living was even worse with no toilet facilities, fresh air and other basics. Crying babies were "put to sleep" to prevent the soldiers from finding the hiding groups when they were rounded up and obliterated. A young boy, Philip, survived but his family didn't. His story is one of the most poignant in the book. In the Bialowieza Forest the Rabinowitz family survived lice, disease, starvation and cold winter for two years. The stories are harrowing and chilling. After liberation they returned to their homes, to nothing. The family lived in Italy for a short time before moving to America where there were kind relatives who helped them rebuild their lives. Most survivors couldn't speak of their experiences but the Rabinowitz family did. My gratitude for them and other survivors cannot be put into words. This extraordinary family takes my breath away! Though a horrible subject to read about, this should be required reading for everyone. Into the Forest is truly a life-changing book. The author's meticulous research must have been highly emotional as she communicated with members of the Rabinowitz family and learned about their story. I researched this time for several hours last evening. My sincere thank you to Rebecca Frankel for writing this book, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for the honour of reading this inspiring book. I cannot begin to describe how it moved me.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Leighton

    Thank you to St. Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love by Rebecca Frankel is an interesting true story about how a family escaped the Nazis and went on to thrive and find love. The story revolves around the Rabinowitz family, starting in 1942 and continues throughout the decades. First, they escape the Nazis in Poland by hiding in a forest for two years. Afterwards, they immigrated to Italy and eventually to Thank you to St. Martin's Press for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love by Rebecca Frankel is an interesting true story about how a family escaped the Nazis and went on to thrive and find love. The story revolves around the Rabinowitz family, starting in 1942 and continues throughout the decades. First, they escape the Nazis in Poland by hiding in a forest for two years. Afterwards, they immigrated to Italy and eventually to the United States. At its core, the book is a love story. In the past, the Rabinowitz family pretended that a young boy was part of their family, saving his life. When he locates them again years later in Brooklyn, it ends up starting an epic romance decades in the making. Here is an excerpt from the first chapter, which flashes forward to a romance in the future: "Gloria told him the story of how her friend's mother had risked her own life and the safety of her two young daughters to keep the boy from death during the first ghetto massacre in Zhetel. As he listened, Philip's heart began to pound - he already knew this story. "That was me," he told her. "I am that boy." A few minutes later, Philip was racing down a flight of stairs to the pay phone in the catering hall basement. Excitement buzzed through him as he dialed the operator while the wedding party whirled on above. ... The line rang. A woman answered. It was her - Miriam Rabinowitz, the woman who had saved him. He'd found her at last." Overall, Into the Forest is an amazing true story that will stun readers looking for a World War II sotry that they've never heard before. While reading this book, there were many points where I thought that this story was too unbelievable. What a coincidence that Philip would find the family that saved him years later and in a completely different country! I really enjoyed reading the story of the Rabinowitz family. One highlight of this book is the immense amount of historical research that the author did in order to tell this story authentically. I did take off 1 star because i don't typically enjoy historical books. That's not the book's fault. I'm just explaining why it wasn't a 5-star read for me personally. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you enjoy reading books about history in general, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in September!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sascha

    I had never read a Holocaust story until Rebecca Frankel’s Into the Forest. Certainly I’ve learned my history lessons, seen movies, but have always shied away from what I knew would be the full unblinking recognition of stark, irreconcilable inhumanity. Yet, I was drawn to this book perhaps because it promised triumph and love. The love story of Miriam and Morris Rabinowitz is one I will not forget. While it was not the stuff of sighs and roses, it was the stuff of substance. Enough substance to I had never read a Holocaust story until Rebecca Frankel’s Into the Forest. Certainly I’ve learned my history lessons, seen movies, but have always shied away from what I knew would be the full unblinking recognition of stark, irreconcilable inhumanity. Yet, I was drawn to this book perhaps because it promised triumph and love. The love story of Miriam and Morris Rabinowitz is one I will not forget. While it was not the stuff of sighs and roses, it was the stuff of substance. Enough substance to guide them through times so horrible that few of us today can even begin to imagine. At first they have the seeming idyllic life in quaint Zhetel, Poland (which is today part of Belarus) but then the threat of Nazi Germany looms and is a force they cannot ignore, especially when Russians and then Nazis take over their town, and they are forced to survive in the cramped quarters of a ghetto. As the reader follows the Rabinowitz family, they witness tragedies and self-sacrifice and individuals sometimes compelled to do the unthinkable in order that others might live. There were many times when I had to set the book aside momentarily because I find it difficult to absorb just how cruel people can be to one another. However, I would pick the book back up and when the Rabinowitz family found themselves in Italy after the end of the war, I felt joy for them, for their survival and future. Many parts of this story might be considered miraculous but perhaps the one most of all involves a boy Miriam saved during a Nazi culling, who survives. They meet many years later in New York. And, this story has a happy ending. Frankel deftly tells this story, taking her reader through many lives, and deaths. Showing us the choices, many difficult, that people make through love or fear or to survive. While this may be the only Holocaust book I will ever read, I think I chose wisely because this one is moving and unforgettable. An amazing book. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    My passion is learning more about WWII. I read lots of historical fiction and some non-fiction. I am passionate about learning about individuals who survived very difficult circumstances and how they survive to go on to have good lives. We cannot begin to imagine the suffering of the Jewish people by the Nazis. I recently read a very good historical fiction account of a multi-year survival in a forrest, have seen the movie, Defiance, and I am glad to have read Into the Forest by Rebecca Frankel My passion is learning more about WWII. I read lots of historical fiction and some non-fiction. I am passionate about learning about individuals who survived very difficult circumstances and how they survive to go on to have good lives. We cannot begin to imagine the suffering of the Jewish people by the Nazis. I recently read a very good historical fiction account of a multi-year survival in a forrest, have seen the movie, Defiance, and I am glad to have read Into the Forest by Rebecca Frankel which is a non-fiction account of the Rabinowitz family. It did take me several weeks to read this book as I needed to stop and think about what I had read. I really liked the preface which shows a chance encounter of Philip Lazowski, a twenty-three-year-old immigrant who in 1953 attended a wedding and encountered Gloria who was also an immigrant from Poland. As they talked about their experiences during the war, Gloria mentions how she knew a mother with two daughters who saved a boy in the first massacre in Zhetel. If Philip had not been at the wedding or if the wedding had been a week later, Philip would not have found out that the woman Miriam Rabinowitz was alive and well and living in the U.S. Philip was that boy. I was hooked at this point to start delving into this book. I like that this book talks about the lives of Miriam and Morris Rabinowitz before the war, during the war, and after the war. I find it so amazing that they could stay alive for two years in the forest, living underground with children in a multi family group, getting food……it really does blow my mind. I also like that we follow their lives after the war. I also felt all of Frankel’s author notes at the end of the book (VERY COMPREHENSIVE) are amazing. This is a book that I will be thinking about for a long time! My thanks to St. Martin’s and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. The opinions in this review are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ted Waterfall

    Into the Forest, by Rebecca Frankel, is the story of the Rabinowitz family, a Jewish family living in Poland at the outbreak of World War 2. Story lines can be advanced usually through the character's dialog, which places the reader in time and place and the action was occuring in real time, or by relating it as if from the perspective of recalling events from the past. As a former history teacher of 29 years, I have made a career of the latter, but as a reader, I prefer the former. This book is Into the Forest, by Rebecca Frankel, is the story of the Rabinowitz family, a Jewish family living in Poland at the outbreak of World War 2. Story lines can be advanced usually through the character's dialog, which places the reader in time and place and the action was occuring in real time, or by relating it as if from the perspective of recalling events from the past. As a former history teacher of 29 years, I have made a career of the latter, but as a reader, I prefer the former. This book is written in the style of the latter. There is nothing wrong with that style, but I find the former far more entertaining. The story begins in the years prior to the outbreak of the war. The Rabinowitz family is introduced along with totally common daily routine. Nothing there that makes the reader want to turn the page. But then the war breaks out and the efforts that the family makes to survive become astonishing. They eventually flee into the surrounding forest where they survive - most of them, anyway, for two brutal years, barely enduring a couple of the most horrific winters on record, along with concerted efforts by the German military to ferret them out and destroy them. Accounts of German brutality can be disturbing even for those of us who are seasoned veterans of World War 2 literature. They remain in the forest until the end of the war. The book concludes by describing their emigration to various locations, including the United States, the once again humdrum, boring details of peacetime routine, which, of course, after the trauma they experienced, is exactly what they would have wanted, but makes for what I might call, challenging reading. Fotunately, the concluding pages were not long. This was an advanced, uncorrected readers copy won on Goodreads.com and is available to the public beginning September 7, 2001.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love is an important book. The last generations of people who experienced these events first hand are a dying generation. The author's meticulous unraveling of this story through multiple interviews is an epic work of one family's struggle in WWII. The book starts off with one of those coincidental events that Reader's Digest used to specialize in telling, back in the 1970s. A young man is at a wedding in New York and in casual chit ch Into the Forest: A Holocaust Story of Survival, Triumph, and Love is an important book. The last generations of people who experienced these events first hand are a dying generation. The author's meticulous unraveling of this story through multiple interviews is an epic work of one family's struggle in WWII. The book starts off with one of those coincidental events that Reader's Digest used to specialize in telling, back in the 1970s. A young man is at a wedding in New York and in casual chit chat with another wedding guest, discovers that a woman who did him a great kindness when he was a young man in Poland during the Nazi terror is living within a few miles of his home in America. From this point, we go back in time to find out what happened to the Rabinowitz family. It is amazing to me all the details about the gradual disintegration of life for the Jews in Eastern Poland that the author relays in the story. This is not an overnight change in their lives, but a slow loss of rights until they are prisoners in their own town and everything has been taken from them. Eventually the family is able to escape to the nearby forests, where they will live throughout the rest of the war, surviving the brutal winters by burrowing into underground hidden huts. Their eventual journey to America is less dramatic than what came before, but no less interesting. Sometimes books with as much detail as is given here about daily life can be a little boring, but here the author skillfully uses these details to immerse us in 1940 Poland. This is really just an astounding story and I for one am so grateful to the author for telling it. Thank you to NetGalley, St. Martin's Press, and the author for allowing me to read this ARC. I give it a full five stars!

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