Set during the harrowing, final moments of World War II, Polish resistance fighter Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks intending to destroy a Gerguy troop carry, yet six-year-old Gretl Schmidt’s unreserved train bound for Auschwitz reaches the bomb first. Gretl is the only survivor.

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Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself now lost in a hostile nation. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and compassion prompt him to hide and protect Gretl in his home surprise from his Catholic family. For years, the young guy and also little girl create a bond over the tricks they need to hide from the people.

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Set in the time of the harrowing, final moments of World War II, Polish resistance fighter Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks intending to destroy a Gerguy troop move, however six-year-old Gretl Schmidt’s unscheduled train bound for Auschwitz reaches the bomb initially. Gretl is the just survivor.

Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned Germale Jew finds herself now lost in a hostile country. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and compassion prompt him to hide and also protect Gretl in his residence surprise from his Catholic family members. For years, the young male and also little girl create a bond over the tricks they need to hide from the human being. But she can’t remain with him forever before. Jakób renders the challenging option to send Gretl to South Africa, wright here Gerguy battle orphans are promised bbest futures via adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and relationships to communist Poland also are never before found. Separated by continents, politics, faith, language, and also years, Jakób and also Gretl will certainly most likely never before see each various other aacquire. But the occasions they have actually both made it through and their idea in the huguy spirit forge an unbreakable bond of love.

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About Irma Joubert


Irma Joubert, global bestoffering writer, was a history teacher for 35 years prior to she began creating. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and also rich historical detail. She’s the writer of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and also in her native South Africa.

Author Website


“Readers will certainly adore intrepid Gretl and also solid Jakób in this story of war, redemption, and love.”Publishers Weekly

“Joubert mastertotally crafts every scene through tenderness and hauntingly exact detail. It’s a stunning coming-of-age novel that packs eactivity in a delicate weave of hope, faith—and also the exceptionally best of love.”Kristy Cambron, author of The Butterfly and the Violin


1. How does Gretl experience a conflicted identification once we fulfill her in the opening chapters of the novel, and just how does this problem of identity fix throughout the course of the story?

2. How does Jakób’s own journey mirror Gretl’s, and also in what means are their journeys different?

3. What did you learn about the political situation in WWII and post-WWII Poland that you didn’t recognize before reading this book? What did you learn about the political instance in WWII and also post-WWII South Africa that you didn’t know before reading this book?

4. Discuss the function of Grandpa John in the story. How does he serve as a bridge for Gretl in between her previous background and also her present life? Why is their partnership distinct and special?