In My Hands is a fiction book that focuses on the autobiography and memoirs of author Irene Gut Opdyke. Irene’s story is that she was a nursing student, who was a Polish Catholic who was always known as a good hearted person and she was very close to her family. However living in the middle of War World II her life took a turn for the worst. During this time in her life; the Nazi army invaded her country in September 1939 and this forced her to leave her family and worked as a volunteer for the Polish army. She joined the Polish army because she was a proud Polish girl and wanted to defend her country from the Nazis. During the ensuing events she was captured, raped and forced to work by the Russian army. She was able to survive these events and she eventually returned to Poland to see her family again. Since her country was now in the power of Germany, she was forced to leave her family once again and work by the German army serving food to the Nazi soldiers. During her time working for the German soldiers, she could not bear to witness the suffering of the Jewish people. Since she was such a kind hearted person she was willing to take action and take risks to help them.
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The events that took place in helping saving the Jews was that she would help the Jews by relaying information from the German soldiers’ plans for the Jews. She would lay food under the fence for Jewish prisoners because she was able to get easy access of food since she worked as a meal server. Irene also helped transport Jews to safe hiding areas in the outskirts of the Polish Ghettos, and she also stole blankets and rations from the German army supplies and gave them to the Jews. Her most heroic moments were during the time when she was working under a Nazi major general. She was able to successfully rescue and hide twelve Jews in the basement of that Nazi major’s basement. She felt that she had to take action because she wanted to help the Jews escape from war and death. She knew that it was the right thing to do and that it was her duty to save them from war and death.
Since the Holocaust was such a big historical event, the historical perspective from her point is quite large in In My Hands. The fact that she pitted herself in the middle of war is great. She is in herself apart of War World II and Holocaust history. She helped save Jews from the troubles that we upon them during the Holocaust and Irene was able to save some of them. Since so many Jews were being executed, she was willing to take risks to save the lives of others. Although she didn’t save many compared to how many Jews were executed during the Holocaust, she still changed history by not letting others die. For her actions and efforts she is a significant World War II and Holocaust heroine for risking her life in the middle of war and helping others survive. A true act of heroism on her part because she could’ve easily died helping save Jews from death. Not only was she a heroine and saved lives of have the Jewish people but she also witnessed much of the brutality that was put upon towards the Jewish people during the Holocaust. She witnessed brutality such as babies and children being taken away from their mother and being killed. She saw the senseless murders of Jewish people. She lived and was a part of this great historical genocide.
In my personal view, I enjoyed the book very much. When I was reading I was compelled about her stories and I wanted to keep reading the book. I finished this book pretty quickly because it really drew my attention. I can’t imagine what this woman went through but Irene explained her stories and was very detailed about what happened. I find it hard to believe that a woman that was separated from her family would disregard her own life to save the lives of others. She risked not seeing her family again whom she loved and cared about and also risked her own life to be the only hope and savior for the Jewish captives. She herself didn’t even have to get involved with the Jewish people and she could’ve just went on and live her own life. Any other ordinary Non-Jew would’ve disregarded the Jewish people and just live their own life to try and survive the war themselves. Irene did not look out for herself. Irene was courageous enough to do what she did, especially hiding the twelve Jews in the basement. That part for me was interesting to read because during that time the penalty for hiding Jewish people was death. Not only did she hide them, she hid them in the basement of a major Nazi general. She successfully hid them down there or a long time too. That was a pretty reckless thing to do in her part because the chances for her to be caught doing that act was great, but she did what she had to do to help others in need. Irene Gut Opdyke is a great person to admire and also the perfect role model for anyone who needs courage because she displayed great bravery and composure during one of the most biggest and horrific events in world history. Overall the book was a great read. Her story and experiences were put into great detail which engulfed me to keep reading the book.
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