We Were the Lucky Ones (Hardcover)
The Kurcs were a well-to-do close-knit Jewish family of seven. Their lives changed drastically in 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, tearing their family apart, scattering them in all directions. The Kurc’s vitality had been depleted, their human dignity stripped away. They played mental tricks to ignore the daily horrors that surrounded them.
Based on a true story, the Kurcs unbelievably found their way back together after the war. This story is a testament to family, resilience, and to life! I still cannot get it out of my head!
-Recommended by Virgie
When author Georgia Hunter was in high school, she was given an English assignment to dig up pieces of ancestral facts and information. For the first time, she learned that her grandfather’s family had miraculously survived a war that annihilated more than 90 percent of Poland’s 3 million Jews and all but 300 of the 30,000 Jews from her grandfather’s town of Radon, Poland.
Twenty years later, Hunter visited Radon, Poland, and interviewed family members. The result is this story of survival.
The story began in pre-World War II Poland in the town of Radon. Sol and Nechuma Kurc, well-to-do Polish Jews, sent their five children to private academies to sidestep the undertones of anti-semitism. The close-knit family would gather at their parents' home weekly. For the Kurcs, nothing was more important than family.
The vibrant life of the Kurcs drastically changed in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. The family was torn apart and scattered in all directions as the Germans and Russians encroached on their land. The Jews lived in a state of perpetual pain, exhaustion and hunger. Their vitality was depleted by long days of forced labor, pathetic rations and the mental tricks they would play to ignore the daily horrors that surrounded them. Nevertheless, the greatest torment, the pain too strong to bear, was the uncertainty of the status and whereabouts of each family member.
Throughout the book, I had to keep reminding myself this was more than a novel; it was this family’s life. This is what they endured: Their human dignity had been stripped away, and their strength, courage and fortitude barely kept them alive.
This book could have been six novels, one following the paths of each family member. What separates the stories are the diverse locations and political scenarios each family member found themselves in. The commonality in these stories are the fear, pain, starvation and courage, accompanied by a powerful will to one day be united as a whole family, once again. Their worlds were torn to shreds the day the Germans marched into Radon. Would their family ever come together as a cohesive whole?
This story is a testament to family, to resilience, to life. It is powerful. I cannot get it out of my mind.
Hunter’s blog, weweretheluckyones.com, offers a glimpse into the extensive research she completed to unveil the travesty and survival of her family.
~Recommended by Virgie— From Book review: Novel testament to courage, family
Inspired by the incredible true story of one Jewish family separated at the start of World War II, determined to survive--and to reunite--We Were the Lucky Ones is a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds
"Love in the face of global adversity? It couldn't be more timely." --Glamour 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 closer. The talk around the family Seder table is of new babies and budding romance, not of the increasing hardships threatening Jews in their hometown of Radom, Poland. But soon the horrors overtaking Europe will become inescapable and the Kurcs will be flung to the far corners of the world, each desperately trying to navigate his or her own path to safety. As one sibling is forced into exile, another attempts to flee the continent, while others struggle to escape certain death, either by working grueling hours on empty stomachs in the factories of the ghetto or by hiding as gentiles in plain sight. Driven by an unwavering will to survive and by the fear that they may never see one another again, the Kurcs must rely on hope, ingenuity, and inner strength to persevere. An extraordinary, propulsive novel, We Were the Lucky Ones demonstrates how in the face of the twentieth century's darkest moment, the human spirit can endure and even thrive.
About the Author
When Georgia Hunter was fifteen years old, she learned that she came from a family of Holocaust survivors. We Were the Lucky Ones was born of her quest to uncover her family's staggering history. Hunter's website, georgiahunterauthor.com, offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the extensive research this project has entailed. She lives in Connecticut.