Annita Sharpe′s Polish-born parents both came as children to France in the 1920s and became true Parisians, embracing French culture and the freedom from discrimination. Then came WWII. After hair-raising escapes to the Free Zone in 1942, the family lived in relative safety for two years.
The author writes,
′We had been arrested at the end of April or early May 1944. Two black Citroen cars were waiting at the entrance of Les Vignes, the village where we lived in the south of France… We were led out of our house at gunpoint: my parents, my two younger sisters – Fanny, age seven; Bernadette, five and a half – and myself, Annita, then age eleven. Bernadette, who was walking next to me, was stopped and addressed by one of the Gestapo, ′′Toi! Vas-t′en, t′es trop p′tite!′′ (You! Go away, you′re too small!)
I can still see Bernadette looking at me with hesitation, not understanding fully for a moment. Before we had time to think or say anything, she turned around and started running down the road.′
Annita′s story is a detailed and poignant remembrance of what was endured and lost, but also, one full of vivid characters and events that linger in the mind long after you have put the book down.