Family Secret / The Search

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Originally published in Dutch by the Anne Frank House, these graphic novels complement each other by telling the stories of two women's experiences during World War II. The Search tells the story of Esther, a Jew who fled Germany for Amsterdam, and Family Secret tells the story of Helena, Esther's Dutch non-Jewish best friend. Both stories begin in the present day, with the elderly women recounting their experiences in flashback to their grandsons. Esther and Helena's childhoods, friendship, and family lives are covered in detail, explaining the challenges, suffering, and losses they endured. One day, Esther is separated from her friend during a roundup of Jewish families, and the girls fear they will never see each other again. Esther managed to elude the Nazi roundup by hiding in the countryside, but she was forever separated from her family, who died in a concentration camp. Helena also endured loss and challenges, with the death of one brother in battle, and her older brother's involvement in the Resistance. The girls grow up, the War ends, and Helena and Esther live their own lives for decades, unaware that the other is still alive. Will Helena and Esther ever be reunited? These excellent graphic novels provide a detailed, European perspective to WWII. By Eric Heuvel. 62 pgs. ~ Lisa
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