The Girl From the Train

The Girl From the Train

Book - 2015
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Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Aushwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks.

As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl's unscheduled train reaches the bomb first.

Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family.

But she can't stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families--so long as Gretl's Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered.

Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.

Publisher: Nashville :, Thomas Nelson,, [2015]
ISBN: 9780529102379
Characteristics: 370 pages
Additional Contributors: Silke, Elsa


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Nov 16, 2017

An enjoyable read! WWII was a dark, difficult time & this story showed the darkness yet offered refreshing light. This book should not be confused with "Girl on a Train" which only offered incredible darkness!

Aug 28, 2016

Enjoyed this book very much. It is a moving story of loss and the enduring power of love.

May 24, 2016

At first glance I mistook this book for the more popular The Girl On The Train, however, it was a less than noteworthy read. At the heart of the book is a love story that spans a decade and two countries; not really my cup of tea but I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story line (Eastern Europe during WW II and South Africa in the Fifties).

Jan 01, 2016

I almost didn't get past the first few pages, as the sentences were short, but then figured it was a juvenile fiction and kept reading. The Polish part of the story was well done. I looked forward to the South African part, and it started well, but then the story descended into a romance and it lost me altogether.

Dec 09, 2015

This novel, translated from Afrikaans, takes the reader on a tumultuous journey from World War II Poland to South Africa in the late 1950s. Gretl Schmidt, age 5, is pushed from a train headed to Auschwitz near the end of the war. She is rescued by a Polish Resistance fighter who renames her Gretz Kowalski. A few years later, Gretz is accepted into an adoption program for German orphans and becomes Greitjie Neehling. As she grows and matures, Greit struggles with all her now hidden former identities. Events come to a climax when her former rescuer, Jakob Kowalski, emigrates to South Africa after his politics clash with the new Communist regime. A quick read that shares World War II history that's not focused on the American story.

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Jan 26, 2016

cgutierrez1 thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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