We Were the Lucky Ones

We Were the Lucky Ones

Book - 2017
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"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 ever closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships facing Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurc family will be flung to the far corners of the earth, each desperately trying to chart his or her own path toward safety. As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death by working endless hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an extraordinary will to survive and by the fear that they may never see each other again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere. In a novel of breathtaking sweep and scope that spans five continents and six years and transports readers from the jazz clubs of Paris to the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to Krakow's most brutal prison and the farthest reaches of the Siberian gulag, We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the capacity of the human spirit to endure in the face of the twentieth century's darkest moment"--
Publisher: New York :, Viking,, 2017.
ISBN: 9780399563089
Branch Call Number: FIC HUNT
Characteristics: 1 volume


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Aug 27, 2019

This book is SO SLOW. Whilst the fact that it is based on a true story is amazing, the way the story is told really makes it hard to get through and to enjoy. Personally wouldn't recommend it.

The true story of a Jewish family before and during WWII. Their trials and tribulations; their courage and perseverance against all odds! Well written and enlightening, A tribute to the human spirit.

Jul 27, 2019

I am nearing the end of this story. I have found the book gripping and well written. I was amazed to find that this story is written by a first time author. The characters and descriptive material flow smoothly throughout. I read the Tattooist of Auschwitz and would recommend this book over the Tattooist if I was only given one to choose.

May 11, 2019

Good but not a page turner. I realize it is a true story and found it absolutely amazing that so many in survived. However, I found the format confusing and at times difficult to keep up with all the characters.

Mar 16, 2019

Because of reading this 'novel', (it's a page turner)(true family story) .. the war that went on for years and years.
I have learned more about the expanse of the countries affected by WWII.. and my understanding by the end of the novel has matured, especially regarding the visceral human tragedies of the suffering and horrors inflicted on the Jewish people in European countries, during WWII.

Running, hiding, walking; eating, sharing, starving. Bleeding, diseases, illness. Waiting, suffering, hoping. Trying, thinking, deciding. Making actions happen.

I didn't realize there were walled off sections of cities, .. in which Jewish people were kept confined-imprisoned, except for forced labor work, and, -- that there were thousands and thousands of rampant murders of Jews while they barely existed, trying to survive, in those imprisoned sections.
You must also read the Author's Notes.

Starvation ongoing for all was one of the horrors. To share one hard boiled egg for the day?

The family's love for each other and its strength ....and their personal insights ... and the actions of each of the family members ... was a stunning portrait of how love is an action, with its particular, and purposeful energy to affect change; love powers insights; insights power steps to take to make all effort to stay alive in the ugliest years of persecution history.

I only wish the book began with a family tree of who is who because after reading the entire book, I'd have an impossible time describing who is who. Except for Addy.

Reading a true story novel such as this is also a real way to learn real history. Family history.
And reading this true story novel became a better way to understand the "heart of the horrors" of the extermination of a people of faith whose holy historic tradition dates thousands of years. But it is the power of their actions taken on behalf of sustaining each other to stay alive that is the absolute grace of love as a power of action.

BPLpicks Feb 14, 2019

This is a fictional survival story based on the author’s real family history. It follows a Jewish family consisting of mother, father and five adult children who are separated by circumstances during WWII. This story takes us to many locations around the world and follows the fates of the individual members of this closely bonded family. It is an immersive read for those that like historical fiction or family sagas.

CarleeMcDot Feb 12, 2019

When I shared The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah in last month's book recap I got quite a few folks who suggested I check out this title since I liked that book so much. I had to wait a couple weeks for it to become available at my library, but once it did I ran over (no, literally, I've been "running my errands" now that the hubby and I are sharing a car, so I physically ran to the library for the book) and snagged it. I'll be honest, this one was a little harder for me to stick with and follow. I love the idea that the book jumps from the different characters' perspectives, but at times it was hard for me to keep all of the story-lines and people straight in With that said, it was still an amazing (and gut-wrenching) story. Seeing as the cover of the book says that it's a novel, I was thinking it was made up (with some portions based on the history of World War II, concentration camps, etc), but when I got to the Author's Notes I was blown away that this was legit a family story. This family absolutely defied the odds and despite all of the death and destruction, they came out on the other side more "whole" than one could have every imagined - they truly were the lucky ones! I feel like so often we hear about the plight the Jews went through during WWII, but, at least for me, I feel so removed from it. This made their experiences so real (and raw) that all I could do was tear up, shake my head and pray that we never repeat the atrocities that occurred. I would give it an 8 out of 10.

Jan 20, 2019

I’ve read several WWII books this year, including The Nightengale, All the Light We Cannot See, Underneath a Scarlett Sky, and Lillac Girls. I thought this book was incredible and the best of them all. I learned about persecution of the Jews during WWII in several areas of the world in one book. . It doesn’t seem possible that it’s true because they all survived such terrible circumstances. Truly the triumph of the human spirit. It does have a lot of people to keep track off- put a sticky note on the page with the family tree.

ArapahoeMarcia Nov 28, 2018

An unbelievable story of the challenges of an extended family of Polish Jews before, during, and after WWII. Highly recommended!

Oct 22, 2018

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ArapahoeMaryA Jun 26, 2018

...her world was torn to shreds. She’d watched from then on as every basic truth of the life she once knew—her home, her family, her safety—was thrown to the wind. Now, those fragments of her past have begun to drift back down to earth, and for the first time in over half a decade she has allowed herself to believe that, with time and patience, she might just be able to stitch together a semblance of what was. It will never be the same—she’s wise enough to understand that. But they are here, and for the most part, together, which has begun to feel like something of a miracle.


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