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Ela Stein was eleven years old in February of 1942 when she was sent to the Terezin concentration camp with other Czech Jews. By the time she was liberated in 1945, she was fifteen. Somehow during those horrendous three-and-a-half years of sickness, terror, separation from loved ones, and loss, Ela managed to grow up. Although conditions were wretched, Ela forged lifelong friendships with other girls from Room 28 of her barracks. Adults working with the children tried their best to keep up the youngest prisoners' spirits. A children's opera called Brundibar was even performed, and Ela was chosen to play the pivotal role of the cat. Yet amidst all of this, the feared transports to death camps and death itself were a part of daily life. Full of sorrow, yet persistent in its belief that humans can triumph over evil; this unusual memoir tells the story of an unimaginable coming of age.
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Susan Goldman Rubin is the author of more than fifty-five books for children. She has written extensively on human rights in books such as Fireflies in the Dark: the Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin, which was a Sydney Taylor Award Honor Book and a SCBWI Golden Kite Honor Book, and Freedom Summer: The 1964 Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, which was an ALA Notable Book, a Booklist Editors' Choice and A Golden Kite Honor Book. Many of her books focus on the arts, with an emphasis on the visual arts. She lives in Malibu, California.
Ela Weissberger was liberated from Terezin in May of 1945. In 1949 she emigrated to Israel and later came to the United States, where she married and raised a family. Today, Ela spends much of her time speaking to audiences of all ages about her Holocaust experiences.
Starred Review. Grade 3-6–Rubin first met Weissberger, a Holocaust survivor, at a contemporary production of Brundibár, a children's opera most famous for having been performed by Jewish children imprisoned at Terezin. Rubin was researching Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin (Holiday House, 2000) and Weissberger was there to see the opera in which she herself had acted during her internment. The Cat in the title is the part that she played, and this memoir is a result of that meeting. This finely tuned collaboration weaves together narrative and memories into one cohesive story of trauma, friendship, and survival. The clearly written text incorporates countless quotes taken from numerous personal interviews, providing readers with a true and immediate account of Ela's experiences before, during, and after the war. Extensive use of historical photographs, drawings, and primary visual sources brings even greater depth to readers' understanding of the daily life endured by Terezin's children and the importance of the relationships they formed with one another and their caregivers. Rich in detail, yet not overwhelmingly dire, this is a book about remembering, and the importance of sharing one's stories with the next generation, and the next.–Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
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Book Description Holiday House, 2006. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0823418316
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