“… the author has used the power of multiple sources of words to conjure the immediacy of a vanished world.” Excellent review by ANZ Litlovers
“Wonderful book; deeply researched, scholarly, heartfelt and well written.”
—Emeritus Professor Roger Fay
“I loved your book. It really is a work of art. I found it heartbreaking but also filled with so much love and honour. You are a gifted writer. The world is richer for your book.”
Listen to an in-depth interview with Sara Vidal on the background and process of writing the book here
Launch speech by Richard Freadman.
For eighteen months from late 1943, Sara Vidal’s parents, Basia and Heniek, hid in a small hole in the ground under a sawing machine in the backyard workshop of a retired Polish policeman in a suburb of occupied Warsaw. In claustrophobic dark, they waited while outside a world war raged. Their story is inspirational; it begins with life in Warsaw in loving families, transcends the catastrophic circumstances in which they meet, fall in love, are witness to the destruction of a way of life and the murder of their entire families, endure entombment, and concludes with rescue, liberation, and immigration to make a new life.
This memoir, Bella and Chaim, is a a flowing collage which embraces and mingles memory, historical record, fragments of the 1950s, real-time journal entries and musings on the light, dark, and potential, of being alive. The whole is a testament to the human spirit.
“Many migrant stories … have been a recording of the atrocities during the war. But to link the deep past with the recent past and the present and to find themes that connect them all, that is fabulous.” — Liliane Grace
‘I found the intimate history of Bella and Chaim engrossing, their strength to survive during the Holocaust very moving and the historical details very informative … Sara has captured a story of life, of unspeakable horror and of amazing survival.’ —Daniel Rubenstein