I am delighted to share my thoughts with you for The Good Doctor of Warsaw by Elisabeth Gifford. I was very lucky to receive a copy of the book and also an Audio Cd in a giveaway run by Elisabeth on her Facebook page, that was last year!
Let me show you what it’s about…
‘You do not leave a sick child alone to face the dark and you do not leave a child at a time like this.’
Deeply in love and about to marry, students Misha and Sophia flee a Warsaw under Nazi occupation for a chance at freedom. Forced to return to the Warsaw ghetto, they help Misha’s mentor, Dr Korczak, care for the two hundred children in his orphanage. As Korczak struggles to uphold the rights of even the smallest child in the face of unimaginable conditions, he becomes a beacon of hope for the thousands who live behind the walls.
As the noose tightens around the ghetto Misha and Sophia are torn from one another, forcing them to face their worst fears alone. They can only hope to find each other again one day…
Meanwhile, refusing to leave the children unprotected, Korczak must confront a terrible darkness.
Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true accounts of Misha and Sophia, and on the life of one of Poland’s greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak.
It feels so wrong to say that I really enjoyed this book given the subject it is about, but I really did enjoy it. This is a meticulously researched book about Misha and Sophia and also of Dr Janusz Korzak.
Misha and Sophia live in Warsaw, Poland and they are the main focus of the story. Dr Korzack is a man who features in the story quite a bit along with many others who had to endure the tyranny of Hitler during WWII. Out of the 1/2 million people who were forced to live in the Warsaw Ghetto, less than 1% survived.
There are so many parts of this book that are so hard to read because of what they went through and what happened. The author paints a vivd and heartbreaking picture of suffering, devastation and pure horror of the living conditions of these people. What makes it so difficult is that I know what was going to happen as it did happen. When those living in the Ghetto are told that they will be relocated to a work camp at Treblinka, I know it was never going to be a work camp. I thought if only they knew the truth before they boarded the train! What was the alternative though, remain and be tortured and beaten to death or face starvation. This is why there were so few survivors.
Dr Korzak ran a home for orphans, this is where Misha and Sophioa meet. Dr Korzak’s main principle with dealing with children in his care was that you should look at the child as an individual. To do this you have to get to know the child and only then could you understand the child and their behaviour.
As Germany invades Warsaw, Korzak, the children in his care, Misha, Sophia and many hundreds of thousands are forced into ghettos. The conditions are squalid, disease ridden, food is scarce and is smuggled in. Escaping the ghetto is not an option as being caught is certain death. Misha and Sophia have to make a decision, stay and be rounded up and put on a train or separate and hope they can both survive the war and be re-united.
This is so emotional and hard to read, but it also shows hope and the determination. It is compelling and addictive and the author has done a beautiful job of telling this story.
I mentioned earlier the meticulous research. At the end of the story there are several pages that include the books she used to compile the facts, the places she had visited and the people she met. All these things were brought together and once she had all the facts she began to write. There are photographs on the inside covers of the book.
This is an inspiring story based on the true story of Misha and Sophia. It is a harrowing, heartbreaking, poignant story of courage, loyalty, belief, commitment and hope.
It is one I would Absolutely Recommend!
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx
Book 12 of 20