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An emotionally tough read that tells a story which must not be forgotten. Based on the lives of two of the central characters, Sophia and Misha, it centres on an orphanage in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War and of the work of Dr Janusz Korezak, the Good Doctor of the title. The story begins in 1937 when Poland is independent. The anti-Jewish bigotry festering in fascist Germany is slowly spreading throughout Central Europe but life is still pleasant in Warsaw. Misha and Sophia are in love. There is a charming chapter when, in July 1939, the children from Korezak’s orphanage are taken to the country for a month of games and fresh air; an idyllic time and a poignant contrast to the horror to come. I do not need to tell you what happens, just to mention the word Treblinka is enough. Getting there in August 1942 is harrowing yet compulsive reading as we follow the adventures of Misha and Sophia and indeed the wonderful Dr Korezak. There is a postscript about the site today where a large stone monolith commemorates the awful events carried out there. It is surrounded by smaller stones each representing a village, town or city from which the Jews and Romanies were taken. Only one stone has the one word, Korezak.
'You do not leave a sick child alone to face the dark and you do not leave a child at a time like this.' Warsaw, 1940. The Jewish ghetto is under the Nazis' brutal control. Hundreds of thousands of men, women and children slowly starve within the walls. But while all around is darkness, one man brings hope, caring for the ever-increasing number of destitute orphans in the face of unimaginable conditions. And, torn apart as the noose tightens around the ghetto, how will one young couple's love survive the terrible tests of wartime? Half a million people lived in the Warsaw ghetto. Less than one percent survived to tell their story. This novel is based on the true story of that young couple, and on the life of one of Poland's greatest men, Dr Janusz Korczak.
A moving, skilfully written historical novel - Bookseller, Editor's Choice
Enjoyment is something of a nebulous term applied to a book of this nature but for want of a better word I did enjoy this book and I'm humbled to be educated about Dr. Korczak from a book written in such an easy, accessible style. - Nudge.com
I could scarcely put it down... vivid, chilling but utterly inspiring. -- Christopher Booker - Telegraph
Written with quiet, almost heroic, determination, Elisabeth Gifford's novel fictionalises these events... The end is inevitable. It is painful to read about such wickedness and suffering. - Daily Mail
A story that should be told and retold, and Gifford's version is readable and extremely powerful. - Antonia Senior, The Times
With powerful themes of loss, hope and what it means to be human, The Good Doctor of Warsaw is a brave, moving and important book with a message we need now as much as ever. - Katherine Clements
Powerful, harrowing and ultimately uplifting. Elisabeth Gifford has achieved an extraordinary blend of fact and fiction. - Andrew Taylor
Publication date: 05/07/2018
Publisher: Corvus an imprint of Atlantic Books
Publication date: 01/02/2018
Publisher: Atlantic Books
|Publication date:||5th July 2018|
|Publisher:||Corvus an imprint of Atlantic Books|
|Genres:||eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Relationship Stories,|
|Categories:||Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),|
Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She has written articles for The Times and the Independent and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married with three children. They live in Kingston on Thames but spend as much time as possible in the Hebrides.More About Elisabeth Gifford