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Review – “Sarah’s key” by Tatiana de Rosnay

October 4, 2011

Reviewed by Raewyn 

This international bestseller has been made into a film and has recently appeared in our movies theatres. 

Ten- year old Sarah represents one of the 4,000 Jewish children who were rounded up in the Nazi purge of the Jews in Paris on July 16 1942.  Along with all adults who were forced to wear the yellow star of David, they were taken to the Velodrome d’Hiver. After severe deprivation and inhuman treatment, most were herded into trucks and trains bound for the death camps in Germany.  Very few survived, but Sarah appears to be one whose name was not listed among the dead.    The “key” is to the cupboard where her small brother is hiding to avoid capture, waiting for Sarah to come back.

This is a very sad story, made more so by the known compliance of the French authorities and police during the Second World War. However, it is a story that needed to be told.  I, like many who have read the book, have changed my mind about France’s involvement in World War 2.

Tatiana de Rosnay skilfully weaves two stories into Sarah’s Key: the past involving Sarah and her family in July 1942, and the second which is also intriguing and takes place in the same location in recent times, when a journalist researches the past and discovers an unexpected personal involvement with the events of the past. 

Although the author states that the characters are fictitious, the book has been so well written and researched that, I had to keep reminding myself it was a novel and not a factual account. Be sure to put Sarah’s Key on your “must-read“ list.

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