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What World is Left

232 pages
A pampered child used to having her own way, Anneke Van Raalte lives outside Amsterdam, where her father is a cartoonist for the Amsterdam newspaper. Though Anneke's family is Jewish, her religion means little to her. Anneke's life changes in 1942 when the Nazis invade Holland, and she and her family are deported to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. Not only are conditions in the camp appalling, but the camp is the site of an elaborate hoax: the Nazis are determined to convince the world that Theresienstadt is an idyllic place and that European Jews are thriving under the Nazi regime. Because he is an artist, Anneke's father is compelled to help in the propaganda campaign, and Anneke finds herself torn between her loyalty to her family and her sense of what is right. What World is Left was inspired by the experiences of the author's mother, who was imprisoned in Theresienstadt during World War II.
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What ld Wor is Left
m o n i q u e p o l a k
Orca Book Publishers
Text copyright ©2008 Monique Polak
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
Polak, Monique What world is left / written by Monique Polak.
ISBN 9781551438474
1. Theresienstadt (Concentration camp)Juvenile fiction. 2. World War, 19391945ChildrenNetherlandsJuvenile fiction. I. Title.
PS8631.O43W43 2008 jC813'.6 C20089026489
First published in the United States,2008Library of Congress Control Number:2008927295
Summary: Anneke, a Dutch Jewish teenager, is sent with her family to Theresienstadt, a “model” concentration camp, where she confronts great evil and learns to do what it takes to survive.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Design by Teresa Bubela Cover image used with the permission of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Ivan Vojtech Fric Additional photographs by Monique Dykstra Author photograph by Elena Clamen
The views or opinions expressed in this book, and the context in which the images are used, do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of, nor imply approval or endorsement by, the USHMM.
Orca Book Publishers PO Box 5626, Stn. B Victoria, BC Canada V8R 6S4
Orca Book Publishers PO Box 468 Custer, WA USA 982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada. Printed on 100% PCW recycled paper. 11 10 09 08 • 4 3 2 1
For Ma, wit h love
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Acknowledgment s
hat World is Leftcould never have been written W without the support and love of many people. I owe a huge debt to them all. Filmmaker Malcolm Clarke, director of the documentaryPrisoner of Paradise, encouraged me to do the research for this book. When he learned that my mother had been a prisoner in Theresienstadt, he advised, “Make her tell you. Tell her she has to do it.” Malcolm also put me in contact with Czech writer Eva Papouskova and filmmaker Martin Smok, who were of great assistance, both personally and professionally, when I traveled to the Czech Republic in the summer of 2007. Eva accompanied me on my visit to Theresienstadt, along with my friend Viva Singer from Montreal. The Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec believed in this project and funded my research trip to Holland and the Czech Republic. Writer friends Claire Rothman Holden, Elaine Kalman Naves and Joel Yanofsky provided encouragement at various stages along the way. My neighbors Liz Klerks, Joanne Morgan
and Don Kelly read the first draft of this book. The team at Orca Book Publishers—Bob Tyrrell, Andrew Wooldridge and Dayle Sutherland—brought the book to life. My editor at Orca, Sarah Harvey, was the midwife who helped me deliver it. Sarah, I can’t thank you enough for your wisdom and sensitivity and for taking me where I had to go. My daughter, Alicia Melamed, has always been my anchor and my sunshine both. My father, Maximilien Polak, helped in ways too numerous to mention, but his sense of humor is at the top of the list. My grand parents, Jo and Tineke Spier, remain with me in spirit every day and hovered close when I was working on this book. My husband, Michael Shenker, was with me every step of this difficult, exhilarating journey. But I owe the greatest debt to my mother, Celien Polak, who agreed to share her story after some sixty years of silence. Though my book’s protagonist was inspired by my mother, Anneke’s thoughts and feelings are entirely the product of my imagination. Sharing her story and allowing me the freedom to turn it into a work of fiction are my mother’s greatest gifts to me and ones for which I will always be grateful.
y bed is warm and cozy. I think I’ll sleep M a little longer. I let my head sink into my feather pillow. The duvet feels so soft against my skin. I sniff the air. Yesterday was Thursday—laundry day. Sara, our new housemaid, hung out the sheets and pillowcases, and now they smell as sweet as the clover that grows by the canal behind our house. I pull the sheets up so high they cover my face. A real Dutch face, Father often remarks when he looks across the kitchen table at my blue, blue eyes, my blond ringlets and my turnedup nose. Tomorrow I will wear my favorite brooch, the one Johan gave me when I turned eleven. It is shaped like a tiny golden mirror with a curly handle on its end.I’ll pin it on my new blue sweater from Opa, my grand father, and all the other girls at school will admire my brooch and my new sweater. I yawn; yesterday was such a busy day. What fun it was to go fishing behind the house with Father and Theo. I caught a striped perch, reeling him in all by myself,