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AT THE MERCY OF STRANGERS: Growing Up on the Edge of the Holocaust by Suzanne Loebl -- At the Mercy of Strangers is the account of how Suzanne Bamberger, her mother, and her sister survived the long Nazi occupation of Brussels. We hear two voices: the gutsy, bored adolescent whose diary was her only confidant, and we hear the mature woman, recalling the war years from the safety of post-war America. -- This coming-of-age story provides us with unusua1 glimpses of the cataclysm that engulfed Europe from 1939 to 1945. We watch the storm clouds gather over Germany. We witness the invasion of Belgium, the futile attempt of a quarter of the population to escape, and the stranglehold of the German occupation. -- We are relieved that the Bambergers opt to go into hiding rather than be resettled by the Germans. There is poignancy in the juxtaposition of the tedium and frustration of Suzannes daily life with the ever-present danger of discovery. There is the fear of being deported, and the grief for friends who have vanished. -- Suzannes diary records her secret love for Emile, a Belgian Resistance fighter, and of her constant need to be careful and good. We share her fantasies as she lies alone and hungry in an attic adjoining a storeroom for onions. We hope with her that she will be able to join the Resistance and work for justice alongside her beloved Emile. -- At the Mercy of Strangers is uplifting, even though it never minimizes the horrors of the Holocaust. -- I never regretted having grown up on the edge of the Holocaust. The experience not only left me as a stronger, more compassionate human being, but, strange as it may sound, it provided me with a deep faith in humanity. Though I have much evidence to the contrary, I believe that often, when you have your back against the wall, somebody out there comes to the rescue. -- Suzanne Loebl is the author of The Nurses Drug Handbook, The Columbia-Presbyterian Osteoarthritis Handbook, and other books dealing with medical and scientific topics. Her most recent childrens book is The Wish Ring, a picture book published by Star Bright Books.

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