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Farewell to Prague is an amazing story of a twelve year old s escape alone from Prague as the German occupation began in March 1939 Her circuitous two month journey by foot and by train took her from Prague, through Czechoslovakia and north through Poland to the Baltic Sea where a fisherman in his small boat took her to sweden Departing from Goteborg she went by ship on stormy seas to Southampton.The journey was difficult because of the deep snow, rain and stormy seas Also she traveled throug Farewell to Prague is an amazing story of a twelve year old s escape alone from Prague as the German occupation began in March 1939 Her circuitous two month journey by foot and by train took her from Prague, through Czechoslovakia and north through Poland to the Baltic Sea where a fisherman in his small boat took her to sweden Departing from Goteborg she went by ship on stormy seas to Southampton.The journey was difficult because of the deep snow, rain and stormy seas Also she traveled through German held lands where the Gestapo were always a threat as she had no German papers Add to this worrying about her father who had been arrested, her mother whom she left behind in Prague with the promise she would follow, and her sister who was evacuated in a separate effort Had I read Farewell to Prague by Miriam Darvas even two weeks ago, it might not have resonated with me as much as it did Even though WWII ended 70 years ago, the plight of refugees is just as relevant today.This book was very hard to put down It was not terribly detailed in some parts, but that mostly worked in the book s favor The urgency that pushed Miriam to move from place to place on a daily basis during some passages is conveyed to the reader.What I found really interesting was how ever Had I read Farewell to Prague by Miriam Darvas even two weeks ago, it might not have resonated with me as much as it did Even though WWII ended 70 years ago, the plight of refugees is just as relevant today.This book was very hard to put down It was not terribly detailed in some parts, but that mostly worked in the book s favor The urgency that pushed Miriam to move from place to place on a daily basis during some passages is conveyed to the reader.What I found really interesting was how everyone worked together against insurmountable odds to help Miriam survive She didn t know where she was going or how she would get there, but she made it Every stop along the way there were people willing to help her, feed her, give her a place to stay, and protect her It is amazing to me how this underground railroad so efficiently moved children out of continental Europe It is also a testament to the human spirit and how everyone works together in times of desperation At any time, Miriam could have been raped or murdered and no one would have ever known what happened to her But she wasn t Everyone was under threat and everyone worked together Again, it was amazing and terrifying to read.The book was also interesting from a psychological point of view The short term and long term impact of war displacement, fear, loss, death on a child are explored thoroughly I think this is why the book resonated with me so much in this era Right now, Europe is experiencing an influx of refugees not seen since WWII, but their experience is frighteningly similar If you want to know what those refugees are experiencing now, read this book It is terrible that we are seeing these same scenes play out over and over again.Check out the full review on my blog I never cease to be shocked and saddened by the loss and degradation that was inflicted on tender children, women and innocent men during the Nazi reign of terror Miriam Darvas tells the story with taste and elegance She would be 84 perhaps she is still alive Grief Defiance Submission Resurrection Never forget The author s father wrote a poem, quoted before the beginning of the story The Sunken City Like one lost in the fog in the evening,groping to find that lost roadtoward the City,which yesterday, in the earthquake,sank into the Bottomless Lake but people were expecting him there longingly,desires, beliefs, goals, and battles,wife, ecstasy, music, life but he doesn t yet knowthat all this has been lost beneath the surface he just keeps going, or would go, but false sound shadowslead him astray fr The author s father wrote a poem, quoted before the beginning of the story The Sunken City Like one lost in the fog in the evening,groping to find that lost roadtoward the City,which yesterday, in the earthquake,sank into the Bottomless Lake but people were expecting him there longingly,desires, beliefs, goals, and battles,wife, ecstasy, music, life but he doesn t yet knowthat all this has been lost beneath the surface he just keeps going, or would go, but false sound shadowslead him astray from the path woes, slogans, echoes, songs,foghorns sounding alarms,a will o the wisp, a phantom, a fog mirage in the heavy, dense silence that aches in sympathy,the dark wings of the shadows of fate rustle,a witch s gloating cackles,the withering horror of the deaf darknessgapes, like the throat of execution day,from its ice caves of distant old age,a wolf howls, a hyena laughs,and the dog of death barks Oh, where have you gone, Sunken City Oh, where are you, Life, Youth J nos Darvas The Author s Father 1929 And the poem is all too appropriate for a beautifully written story that begins in Berlin with a seven year old watching her classmate, playmate, neighbour and first sweetheart, Kurt Blumberg, being beaten by men with truncheons, long past his falling limp on the sidewalk, for being a Jew The day after they killed Kurt, Father did not allow me to go back to school Though I loved going, I was glad not to have to go out alone I was afraid of the men in their black boots and their red armbands The ordeal of crossing the border into Czechoslovakia is chilling, and it s only the beginning yet.Prague was lovely The white, upright blossoms of the chestnut trees lining the boulevards glowed like candles among the dark green leaves of their crowns From the old cobblestone streets, the city s ancient churches rose toward the heavens, their gilded cupolas glistening in the sun The river Vltava meandered through the city, dividing the Old Town from the New In the Old Town were the bustling marketplaces that had been there since time began In the New Town were cultivated parks and elegant homes On a hill, towering majestically above it all, stood Hradcany, the castle of the kings of Bohemia and in modern times the home of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, founder and first president of Czechoslovakia I looked forward to the spring festivals People danced in the streets to the resounding Czech oom pah pah music Sometimes I walked on the sidewalk holding Mother s hand, keeping pace with the parade of people in national costumes They wore crowns of flowers with ornamental streamers flowing on the air like opening blossoms Their full skirts swished as they danced, and their embroidered vests flashed in the sun The music drifted into the air as vibrant and varied as the balloons that floated up, up into the sky, their strings wiggling like tails But the Nazi threat loomed Miriam was sent to boarding school nearby by her father, for safety Friends of parents discussed leaving for France and advised Miriam s mother to send children to England There was a Nazi classmate and a Sudeten German teacher at school An Aryan is a superior human being of the German race, Obermeier intoned, emphasizing the seriousness of his statement by drumming out each word against the blackboard with his birch This was a lie made up by nazis Aarya is a Sanskrit term and literally means of Light, and has nothing to do with physical characteristics of any kind, but relates to inner enlightenment and its manifestation in life and conduct of a person Cultured breeding, civilised conduct and high values in humanitarian terms is part of connotation of the word It was stolen and twisted by nazis, and so was Swastik, and they falsified both.As Germans marched into Prague, her school closed, and everybody had to leave Miriam and Angelika walked to Prague, eighteen miles by road, through fields and forests covered deep in snow, and list one another in Prague Miriam arrived home next day, and they met Lex, but Steffie was taken by Germans herding masses of people outside the cafe into trucks The city was devoid of Czech sounds The guttural sounds of bellowed commands, the march of solid boots, and the rat tat tat of drums floated through the air along the boulevard Troops swarmed through the city, trampling down the snow Patrols scoured the streets Paralyzing fear spread through the city, shuttering windows and doors I tried not to be afraid and pretended I did not see the patrols We crossed the marketplace The vegetable stands were tightly wrapped with tarpaulin A few peasants stood around silently, their arms folded across their chests, watching soldiers at the other end of the marketplace toppling the statue of Masaryk My head was tightly tucked into my coat collar in the hope that perhaps I would not be seen Mother tightened her hold on my hand and pulled me along We took the long way around to the Caf Kotva We walked as fast as we could, trying not to cause suspicion Several times we ducked into doorways to avoid the armed patrol My heart beat faster when I saw Chris walking on the sidewalk across the street with his father I was about to call to him when my mother squeezed my hand so tightly it hurt I had been told that I must not recognize anyone, lest I implicate them or they us When I saw Chris I forgot the admonition Our eyes met and held for a moment as he walked past I tagged along beside my mother, my heart splintering into a thousand shards They were attended to in Kotva by the solicitous Zelezny Suddenly the shouting stopped and heads turned to the entrance of the street Trucks were backing into the cul de sac and forcing people against the buildings, closing off the street Flanked by SS officers in their black and silver, soldiers jumped out of the trucks, rifles at the ready Shrill voices rose against the Caf s window as women, children, and men were herded toward the trucks Steffie was among them Lex stretched his arm across the bobbing heads in a vain attempt to reach Steffie s hand She was pushed farther and farther away from him and finally forced by rifle butts into a truck Her hands clung to the tailgate as it slammed shut The packed truck drove away and another backed into the street More people were rounded up The ones left behind forced themselves into the Caf in an attempt to get away, and Lex was pushed against the far wall Zelezny fed them and put them up for the night, since it was curfew already Miriam was sent a way by her mother through the underground resistance channel to England, handed from stranger to stranger until she arrived, various stationmasters and their wives and other strangers feeding her and looking after her along the way The descriptions here are very evocative, the beauty of desolate winter landscape and her train ride and walk up in Tatra mountains, the slide down into Poland and ride to Danzig and further and the couple in Gdynia, and the impressive honesty and kindness of the series of strangers along the way from school to Prague to Gdynia to Carlisle who help, feed and shelter the solitary child.Miriam arrived in England, at Southampton, in May after leaving Prague in March Hungry, sick, and tired, I hardly cared where I was going Dunes and downs and houses floated by like a hazy dream At Victoria Station in London, we were unloaded and hauled off to a hostel, where I had a bath, ate my first meal in five days, and fell into a sound sleep between clean sheets The following day, a woman dressed in a tweed suit walked me through streets covered with black fog Lamps shed a dull sepia glow that formed weak pools of light on an invisible street Her flashlight guided us one slow step at a time The hall of the station was brightly lit and the people on the platform milled around casually and unperturbed, while I kept looking behind me for a column of soldiers to round us all up The strange sound of the language, the different looking streets, the unaccustomed color of the official uniforms kept me in a constant state of anxiety She looked at me intently Carlisle, she repeated I nodded She smiled, patted me on my knee, and left I had noidea where Carlisle was than I had known where Katowice or Goteborg was, nor did I have any idea in which direction I was traveling There was no end of unknown places in the world I seemed destined to spend my life traveling on trains or on foot from town to village with no permanent place to land I belonged nowhere New landscapes sped by green pastures of lush grass neatly parceled by hedges dividing one from another, gardens attached to bungalows like colorful aprons This then was England where my mother believed me to be safe, but I did not feel safe I felt as if I were skimming across a thin sheet of crackling ice that was going to give way any moment and send me plunging into an abyss of darkness to drown She was met with and taken home The car slid through a wrought iron gate A shiny brass plate emblazoned with the word Nazdar announced the entry to Miss Masters s estate What was the familiar Czech word for so long doing at the end of the world Later I learned that Miss Masters had been to Prague twice She had memorialized her visits with the copper sign, but it was the only Czech word she knew The house stood on the crest of a hill, against dark trees rising into a hazy May sky The view from its windows, which I came to know well, was of emerald meadows, lush and brilliant, gliding into distant blue black woods The nearer gardens were manicured lawns defined by the red and lavender blossoms of vibrant rhododendron shrubs Beyond the circular cobblestone courtyard and through the woods, willows encircled a lake It was fed by Eden Brook, which flowed through the village of Brampton A narrow arched bridge led to a small island covered with azaleas and rhododendron In time, this would become my favorite spot I would sit hidden from view amid the greenery and wonder about what would happen next Miriam worried about her mother, and when she d learned English well enough, asked Miss Masters how she could find her She wrote as per her suggestion, and learned that Nora and Chris were in Sussex Nora was a poor correspondent, and wrote only to say Chris had been killed by a car Her mother wrote about getting papers from Gestapo to leave, but finally she lacked money for a ticket, and no one helped Angelika and her family were taken by Gestapo, and Lex was sharing the apartment of Miriam s mother while their spouses were taken by Germans.Miriam was sent by Miss Masters to Brighton Hove school, and was subjected to pranks until her school performance surprised everybody War had parents remove daughters, and Miriam was sent to Denbigh in Wales, then Kettering and then to another school, Long Dene school, to which she walked from Windsor station This school was run by a wiser,sympathetic principal, and had a pair of Czech brother and sister students that Miriam was happy to bond with The two girls relocated to London to study after graduating school, while their beaux Miriam and the Czech boy Teo, his sister Lilka and another guy Anthony had paired up went to join air force to fight in the war Miriam found work in a magazine Sailplane and Glider, and was taken gliding by the editor who was an enthusiast Mr Blunt and I soared over the downs of Dover Silently suspended between sea and sky, the turmoil of life became the stuff of insubstantial smoke The soughing of the sea merged with air currents into an empyrean dream We went every weekend I loved it and dreamed of becoming a pilot Then I would be able to float above the absurdity of the discord below Teo visited, and subsequently was shot down over straits of Dover Then Anthony was shot down, and our lives caved in There seemed to be no consolation anywhere among the ruins and death The wailing of the air raid sirens, the bomber formations overhead immediately after the sirens sounded, the bombings, the collapsing buildings, the gathering of the maimed and dead these were constant reminders that life hung by a slender thread Forthan a year we had been reading warning signs about the German secret weapon Suddenly, it burst across the sky and landed in our lives They thought those were German planes shot down At last, the government announced that these were rockets the secret weapons London had been warned about Relieved to know what the secret weapon was, we were now afraid of not knowing where the next one would crash, and walked hunched in anticipation The sirens screeched continually Asthan two thousand V 1 rockets trashed the city, Londoners humorously dubbed them Doodlebugs Miriam s office was bombed and gone, so were the places they lived in, one after another They learned to not unpack London was swarming with struggling humanity from all parts of the globe Refugees from Europe came to seek shelter Soldiers in tunics and turbans, khaki and blue, choked the streets Along with the daily tragedies went an aura of licentiousness Here today and gone tomorrow was an attitude expressed in lethargic indifference or frenetic activity After yet another raid, they found an a room in a house We found an attic room The roof was so frail that every tremor caused by rocket, plane, and anti aircraft burst threatened to bring it down This cardboard house with the sword of Damocles hanging over it was the domain of a Polish refugee, a Mr Rosenblum It was Mr Rosenblum who reminded us that neither Lilka nor I was Jewish, because we were not born of Jewish mothers I finally realized what my father had tried to explain to me before we left Berlin Religion had not been an issue in our house Mother was a Catholic and Father wasa political activist than a Jew But we had been labeled Jews The thought, that my father had died as one, and that had I been captured crossing the border I might have died as a member of a group that did not accept me, was tragic I wanted to weep Lilka said that regardless of what Mr Rosenblum believed, we were in the same predicament as he was They worked on Sabbath in the Rosenblum home, but finally left amidst a raid after having done their duty as air raid wardens, being unable to deal with the house rules Miriam and Lilka met two flyers, Jacques Maron and Vaclav I got a job at the Czech embassy in exile and worked there as an assistant to the consul while I continued going to the university Lilka got a job with the Czech Red Cross Nora came to live with them They got news, after the war was over, about their mothers deaths Extraordinary odyssey This s an awful history of what World War did to a young girl Through unbelievable sadness and loss, destruction and death are scenes of good people helping just at the right time This echoes countless other stories of survival. A very poignant book It is an important read as the story of the children that survived the war is seldom told We are assigned to read about Anne Frank in school, but never learn about the non Jews who suffered Miriam s memories of that time are sad, and unimaginable to this American English and history teachers should read it and let it become part of their curriculum The older I get, theI learn, and realize the struggles went on long before and long after America played its role. .FREE ☪ Farewell to Prague ⚖ Farewell to Prague is a memoir set against the turbulent events of the Nazi era in Germany and World War II England It is the story of a girl who, at the age of six, witnesses a murder being committed by German Storm Troopers From that moment, the happy life she has known disintegrates Her family escapes to Prague, where they create a new life Six years later, the Germans march into Prague Now she has to escape to England alone and on foot She walks across the snow covered Tatra Mountains By train, fishing boat, and ship, she finally manages to get to England She comes of age there during the bombing of London When the war ends, she immediately returns to the Continent to discover the fate of her family Farewell to Prague is a gripping true story that will fascinate and inspire readers of all ages Who am II read this book today Even with all the sadness and madness of those years the people have trouble giving up their countries All countries can learn from Germany Do not be stupid and blind when your leader is a dictator. True and personal and heartbreaking and scary and hopeful and revelatory and..Memoir I read during a visit to Prague Author was about 6 or 7 when the story begins with an escape.anything else would spoil it for you. Farewell to PragueI chose this rating because it is truly a wonderfully written book and thrilling story A great book Keeps the reader wanting to read what happens next I recommend this book