- Written by: Georgia Hunter
- Published by: Viking Press
- Length: 416 pages
- Source: E galley via Edelweiss with publisher’s permission in exchange for an honest review
It is the spring of 1939 and three generations of the Kurc family are doing their best to live normal lives, even as the shadow of war grows closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety.
As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere.
A novel of breathtaking sweep and scope that spans five continents and six years and transports readers from the jazz clubs of Paris to Krakow s most brutal prison to the ports of Northern Africa and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century’s darkest moment, the human spirit can find a way to survive, and even triumph.
Intrigued by the story and the austerity of this cover I requested this e galley and I am so very happy that I did. While I often think that I have read all the stories of WW II and the utter nightmare of the Holocaust, I am wrong, so wrong, as each individual and each family has a unique story to tell. The Kurc family and their journey is one I will never forget.
Georgia Hunter learned that she was from a family of Holocaust survivors when she was 15, and she was shocked she was just now learning this. Her grandfather, Addy Kurc had been a young man living in France when the war began and the Nazis took over Poland where his family was. He would spend many years trying to reach them, serving in the war, escaping France and eventually arriving in Brazil, and then the USA. He changed his name to Eddy and never really talked about his youth. Georgia really began to piece things together at a family reunion her mother helped to organize, and as she heard all the passed down stories, and meet some of his siblings the reality sank in, and she knew she must know more.
While written as a novel, as I’m sure some details are fictionalized the story of the Kurc family is amazing. As the author says, they shouldn’t have survived. I first encourage you to read Georgia’s website, and the details of how she uncovered so much about her family. Then I recommend curling up with We Were the Lucky Ones and savoring every word. It’s not a difficult read, I really read through it quickly as I was so amazed at the determination of the people.
My review is really simple, be prepared to rejoice in the triumphs and cry in the pain and suffering this family witnessed. There are remarkable and heroic people all around us. I’m so very happy that Georgia Hunter wrote this book to share her family history with us.