Written by Jennifer A. Nielsen
In 1942 sixteen-year-old Chaya Lindner is a Jewish girl living in Nazi-occupied Poland, a courier who smuggles food and documents to the isolated Jewish ghettos in southern Poland, depending on her forged papers and “Aryan” features–but when a mission goes wrong and many of her colleagues are arrested she finds herself on a journey to Warsaw, where an uprising is in the works.
Primary Source Pairing:
Chaya faces fear and death each day. Her bravery saves people’s life even though it puts hers at risk. Chaya’s story is one of many who worked as a courier during WWII in Nazi-occupied Poland. Readers will experience heart-pounding paragraphs and hold-your-breath chapters and they accompany Chaya on her missions. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study an image from the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. The photo caption reads: “Picture taken at Nowolipie street looking East, near intersection with Smocza street, perhaps Nowolipie 64 / Smocza 1. In the back one can see ghetto wall with a gate.” The horror and destruction in Warsaw Ghetto was just one of the many places across Europe where Jews were persecuted. For more images, visit the Stroop Report as available on Wikimedia Commons. Note, many of the images show distressing situations and disturbing content. Viewer discretion is advised.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- What people and objects are shown?
- How are they arranged?
- What is the physical setting?
- What’s happening in the image?
- How do you feel when you look at this image?
- Consider Chaya’s involvement in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Make a connection to her story and something you see in this photograph.
- How does seeing an image of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising impact your visualization of the event?
- What questions do you still have?
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Jews pulled from a bunker, photograph from Stroop Report: Wikimedia Commons