I love Pam Jenoff’s books – all of them. “The Kommandant’s Girl” is the latest that I have read. Ms. Jenoff’s portrayal of the Jewish situation in World War II is fantastic. She makes their plight known and their struggles to stay alive during this harrowing time so palpable that reading the story not-stop to the end is a necessity to the avid reader.
I this novel, Emma Bau has been married to a young Jewish man for only a few months when the Nazis invade Poland. Jacob is very political and decides that he must be a part of the resistance movement, which means leaving Emma alone. She finds her way to her parents in the Jewish ghetto in Krakow and stays with them for a time. Friends of Jacob find her, get her out of the ghetto, give her false papers and take her to Jacob’s aunt, a Gentile. She is there with a little Jewish toddler whose mother has been killed and whose father has been taken away by the Gestapo. Hopefully, they will be safe there during the occupation.
Krysia, Jacob’s aunt, is also a part of the resistance, but also a known socialite in Krakow. She had many links to the resistance along with seemingly accepting the Nazi regime. At a party where she is presenting her “niece and her little brother” to the Gentile community, Emma (now known as Anna) is noticed by the Kommandant. He asks her to work for him as his personal assistant. She has to say yes. The resistance leaders can now use her to ferret information from the Kommandant’s office and relay this to the resistance. In becoming closer to the Georg, she must make a personal decision whether or not to compromise her marriage vows for the greater good of the movement.
Ms. Jenoff’s writing is addicting. I was unable to put this book down and after I finished it I could not stop thinking about the story. I was unable to help myself, but I found that I was sympathetic to the Kommandant and to Anna in her dilemma. I wonder how I would have handled the situation were I in their shoes. I felt that the horrors of war and the circumstances surrounding the occupiers and those fighting against them were almost understandable. The Kommandant had to follow orders and Anna was bound to honor her husband and parents in finding out information that would save her people. I read this book with mixed emotions which have really made me think about those times and the people who lived them.
I highly recommend this book, especially if you are interested in stories about World War II. I purchased a Kindle copy of this book from Amazon.com and was under no obligation to post a review.