“The Girl from the Train” by Irma Joubert is one of those books that stay with you long after you’ve finished reading the last page. The story begins in April, 1944 in Poland. The Resistance had planned to blow up a troop train. But it was an unscheduled train bound for Auschwitz, taking Jewish Poles to the concentration camp that triggered the bomb first. Gretl is the only survivor of that train. Jacob Kowalski, a member of the resistance, finds Gretl, a six-year-old little girl, hiding along the roadside and feels compelled to take care of her. She just wants to go to an uncle in Switzerland. That, of course, is not possible since the Germans occupy most of Europe and travelling is exceedingly dangerous. For four years, Jacob tried to take care of Gretl. He found a group in Germany that was helping orphaned German children immigrate to South Africa to be adopted by Afrikaner families. Because rules were so strict, Gretl had to keep secret that she was Polish and Jewish. What follows is a wonderful story about love and redemption. This is the first book of Irma Joubert’s that has been translated from Afrikaans to English. I hope it won’t be the last. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it highly.
I received a print copy of this book from BookLookBloggers.com in return for my honest review.