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Suzanne's Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris

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“Immersive...Suzanne’s Children vividly dramatizes the stakes of acting morally in a time of brutality.”—The Wall Street Journal A story of courage in the face of evil. The tense drama of Suzanne Spaak who risked and gave her life to save hundreds of Jewish children from deportation from Nazi Paris to Auschwitz. This is one of the untold stories of the Holocaust. Suzanne Spa “Immersive...Suzanne’s Children vividly dramatizes the stakes of acting morally in a time of brutality.”—The Wall Street Journal A story of courage in the face of evil. The tense drama of Suzanne Spaak who risked and gave her life to save hundreds of Jewish children from deportation from Nazi Paris to Auschwitz. This is one of the untold stories of the Holocaust. Suzanne Spaak was born into the Belgian Catholic elite and married into the country’s leading political family. Her brother-in-law was the Foreign Minister and her husband Claude was a playwright and patron of the painter Renée Magritte. In Paris in the late 1930s her friendship with a Polish Jewish refugee led her to her life’s purpose. When France fell and the Nazis occupied Paris, she joined the Resistance. She used her fortune and social status to enlist allies among wealthy Parisians and church groups. Under the eyes of the Gestapo, Suzanne and women from the Jewish and Christian resistance groups “kidnapped” hundreds of Jewish children to save them from the gas chambers. In the final year of the Occupation Suzanne was caught in the Gestapo dragnet that was pursuing a Soviet agent she had aided. She was executed shortly before the liberation of Paris. Suzanne Spaak is honored in Israel as one of the Righteous Among Nations.


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“Immersive...Suzanne’s Children vividly dramatizes the stakes of acting morally in a time of brutality.”—The Wall Street Journal A story of courage in the face of evil. The tense drama of Suzanne Spaak who risked and gave her life to save hundreds of Jewish children from deportation from Nazi Paris to Auschwitz. This is one of the untold stories of the Holocaust. Suzanne Spa “Immersive...Suzanne’s Children vividly dramatizes the stakes of acting morally in a time of brutality.”—The Wall Street Journal A story of courage in the face of evil. The tense drama of Suzanne Spaak who risked and gave her life to save hundreds of Jewish children from deportation from Nazi Paris to Auschwitz. This is one of the untold stories of the Holocaust. Suzanne Spaak was born into the Belgian Catholic elite and married into the country’s leading political family. Her brother-in-law was the Foreign Minister and her husband Claude was a playwright and patron of the painter Renée Magritte. In Paris in the late 1930s her friendship with a Polish Jewish refugee led her to her life’s purpose. When France fell and the Nazis occupied Paris, she joined the Resistance. She used her fortune and social status to enlist allies among wealthy Parisians and church groups. Under the eyes of the Gestapo, Suzanne and women from the Jewish and Christian resistance groups “kidnapped” hundreds of Jewish children to save them from the gas chambers. In the final year of the Occupation Suzanne was caught in the Gestapo dragnet that was pursuing a Soviet agent she had aided. She was executed shortly before the liberation of Paris. Suzanne Spaak is honored in Israel as one of the Righteous Among Nations.

30 review for Suzanne's Children: A Daring Rescue in Nazi Paris

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I heard about this book on a podcast and was very interested in reading it based on the discussion. However, I was very disappointed, as the title is very misleading. The book is very well researched and gives a lot of information on the resistance in Paris during the war. However, only a very small portion of the book talks about the rescue of Jewish children in France. By my estimation, it's covered in about 2-3 chapters of the book. The rest of the book is background information and follow up I heard about this book on a podcast and was very interested in reading it based on the discussion. However, I was very disappointed, as the title is very misleading. The book is very well researched and gives a lot of information on the resistance in Paris during the war. However, only a very small portion of the book talks about the rescue of Jewish children in France. By my estimation, it's covered in about 2-3 chapters of the book. The rest of the book is background information and follow up information to those involved in the rescue. There are SO many people discussed, it is very hard to keep track of who's who. I found myself skimming towards the end to finish. If you are interested in the resistance in Paris, this contains a lot of information on the resistance in Paris and in other parts of France and Belgium. However, if you are wanting to read about this specific rescue, be prepared that it is only a very small portion of this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Smith

    “I witnessed so many deaths, and not just firing squads – humans can be so horrible.” Abbe Franz Stock, German prison chaplain at Fresnes, Resistance sympathiser. Codename Suzette is an incredible account of resistance and salvation. It’s narrative style merged with clear facts marks this as an accessible and precise resource for those wishing to know more about the Holocaust from the perspective of those operating within France. However, the style also renders this as a particularly difficult r “I witnessed so many deaths, and not just firing squads – humans can be so horrible.” Abbe Franz Stock, German prison chaplain at Fresnes, Resistance sympathiser. Codename Suzette is an incredible account of resistance and salvation. It’s narrative style merged with clear facts marks this as an accessible and precise resource for those wishing to know more about the Holocaust from the perspective of those operating within France. However, the style also renders this as a particularly difficult read, in the way that horrific truths so often are. On several occasions I had to put this aside, overcome by the weight of all that happened within Europe during WWII and the burden compassionate citizens bore when betrayed by their neighbours and acquaintances. I am not a new reader to this subject having read extensively over the last 20 years on many aspects of WWII, but this book was striking in its power to move me. I am grateful to Anne Nelson for producing this book and giving Suzanne Spaak the attention she deserves. The research undertaken to write this book was phenomenal and by all appearances, an adherence to accuracy has taken precedence within the narrative. It’s a testimony to Anne Nelson’s skill as a writer that you can pick Codename Suzette up and read it in the same manner as you would a novel, although its contents will shred you all the more as you continually remind yourself that everything you are reading is fact, not fiction. “Suzanne Spaak was capable of seeing and serving the ‘alien other’ because, in her clear gaze, no fellow human was alien, or other. ‘Something must be done’.” Suzanne Spaak was murdered on August 12, 1944, in the prison courtyard of Fresnes. It is unclear by whom and under what order as she had been pardoned and was due for release at the end of the war. Available evidence suggests that all of the children rescued by Suzanne’s network survived the occupation. In 1985, Suzanne was designated Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel, conferred to non-Jews who risked their safety or their freedom to save Jewish lives from the Holocaust, with no expectation of personal gain. Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of Codename Suzette for review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is the story of Belgian, Suzanne Spaak and her work with the French Resistance where she personally rescued hundreds of Jewish children from deportation to Auschwitz from Nazi occupied Paris. Some interesting facts that I picked up: There was a "French Gestapo" known as the "Bonny-Lafont Gang," which ran a torture shop in western Paris. Suzanne Spaak worked hard to save as many children as she could, but her personal life, as well as the lives of her children and husband, were a mess. They we This is the story of Belgian, Suzanne Spaak and her work with the French Resistance where she personally rescued hundreds of Jewish children from deportation to Auschwitz from Nazi occupied Paris. Some interesting facts that I picked up: There was a "French Gestapo" known as the "Bonny-Lafont Gang," which ran a torture shop in western Paris. Suzanne Spaak worked hard to save as many children as she could, but her personal life, as well as the lives of her children and husband, were a mess. They were Dysfunctional with a large capital D! The Nazis frequently practiced Sippenhaft: arresting family members of suspects as hostages and for blackmail. In the case of the Spaak family, they rounded up over a dozen family members in all and what happened to each of them was shocking. Paris was liberated on August 25, 1944. On this day, French General, Charles de Gaulle gave a speech that implied that all of France had fought for liberation under his banner, which they did not. His version of history ignored the scores of British SOE (Special Operations Executive) agents, thousands of American infantrymen, and millions of Russians who lost their lives on the way to France's liberation. It also overlooked the crimes of the vichy bureaucracy, the French paramilitary Milice, and the nefarious General Commissariat on Jewish Affairs. It would shortchange the roles of immigrant Jewish resistance movements and, indeed of foreigners in general. The way Claude lived (and how) after Suzanne's death was mind-blowing. He really is someone that I though should have rotted in h#$%! At the beginning of the book is a "Cast of Characters," which is good because there are a lot of people involved in this piece of history regarding the Holocaust. At the end is information about what happened to some of these people. For others, you will have to read the book to discover what happened. Righteous Among the Nations -- The Yad Vashem memorial in Israel is charged with identifying non-Jews who risked their safety of their freedom to save Jewish lives from the Holocaust, with no expectation of personal gain. The process requires rigorous documentation. Susanne Spaak was designated Righteous Among the Nations in 1985. Since then, at least fourteen members of her network have been so honored. It was an honor to read a book about a true hero.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    A gripping, true story of life in France during the WWII German occupation. I read this EARC courtesy of Edelweiss and Simon & Schuster pub date 10/17/17

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tony Nielsen

    I found "Codename Suzette" a deeply troubling read. I have long had a fascination with the era prior to and during the Europe of the Second World War. I have read numerous novels that I thought conveyed the essence of that troubled time in history. With "Codename Suzette" I have had to recalibrate my outlook on the rise and relentless actions that Hitler's ruthless henchmen carried out under the banner of Nazism. The difference between this book and the others, many of them excellent, is that thi I found "Codename Suzette" a deeply troubling read. I have long had a fascination with the era prior to and during the Europe of the Second World War. I have read numerous novels that I thought conveyed the essence of that troubled time in history. With "Codename Suzette" I have had to recalibrate my outlook on the rise and relentless actions that Hitler's ruthless henchmen carried out under the banner of Nazism. The difference between this book and the others, many of them excellent, is that this is a non fiction story. The remarkable story of Susanne Spark whose bravery, courage and foresight is shared with the reader. Susanne Spaak came from a well to do Belgian Catholic family and furthered her rise with a marriage into the country's leading political dynasty. In occupied Paris she moved among the elite, but when she became friends with a Polish Jewish refugee her double life began. Much of her focus was on rescuing children whose parents were being sent to the gas chambers and despite considerable risks on a daily basis she created a team and methods of saving their young lives. For many months Susanne Spaak, codename Suzanne, was able to avoid detection even though she took incredible risks. She didn't hold back from the nitty gritty of the work, spreading her efforts way beyond the headline role that she initially created. "Codename Suzette" will make a mess of your emotions. Expect to experience sadness, anger, frustration and more. The evil that Susanne Spaak confronted each day demonstrates how humankind displays its worst attributes when a minority is targeted in the way that the Nazis set out to exterminate the Jews. On the other hand bravery such as hers offers a counter balance and that's the main message I took away from this highly emotional read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Helen O'Toole

    The post war fiction perpetuated by Charles de Gaulle upon the liberation of Paris was that all of France had resisted bravely against the Germans. This book puts that story squarely to rest. The puppet French government was complicit in the deportation and murder of tens of thousands of immigrant Jewish men, women and children including many French citizens. Suzanne Spaak, as a wealthy Belgian aristocrat living in Paris,could have chosen to ignore the plight of the Jewish families yet she chose The post war fiction perpetuated by Charles de Gaulle upon the liberation of Paris was that all of France had resisted bravely against the Germans. This book puts that story squarely to rest. The puppet French government was complicit in the deportation and murder of tens of thousands of immigrant Jewish men, women and children including many French citizens. Suzanne Spaak, as a wealthy Belgian aristocrat living in Paris,could have chosen to ignore the plight of the Jewish families yet she chose to work in collaboration with Jewish and Christian resistance groups and in so doing saved hundreds of children from the gas chambers. Her efforts led to her capture and execution. She was honoured as one of the Righteous Among The Nations. The most poignant aspect of this book are her final letters to her son and daughter written when she actually believed she would be released.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Grazyna Nawrocka

    I liked reading this book. Suzanne was a person worthy of rescuing from oblivion. I am glad Anne Nelson brought her back to the light of day. I cannot quite wrap my mind about her agreement to live in love triangle, and would love to get insight into emotional and logical side of such a choice. The other side of the story the author told is this great, objective and thorough description of social background. I envy French this openness and courage to deal with their past. As I read I started to I liked reading this book. Suzanne was a person worthy of rescuing from oblivion. I am glad Anne Nelson brought her back to the light of day. I cannot quite wrap my mind about her agreement to live in love triangle, and would love to get insight into emotional and logical side of such a choice. The other side of the story the author told is this great, objective and thorough description of social background. I envy French this openness and courage to deal with their past. As I read I started to suspect more and more that there is more to the social history of Poland during II World War. In my society we have never faced fact that some people collaborated with Nazis, and their existence was never acknowledged or evaluated. It is a great book, and very inspirational, although Suzette didn't survive. There is also some strange mean streak in how German treated her, or Dietrich Bonhoeffer, at the end of the war. Those killings seem so unnecessary. Detaining people for the long time, and killing them close to the end of war, when Nazis already knew they lost, is so absurd! But such sometimes is life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Theresa Smith

    “I witnessed so many deaths, and not just firing squads – humans can be so horrible.” Abbe Franz Stock, German prison chaplain at Fresnes, Resistance sympathiser. Codename Suzette* is an incredible account of resistance and salvation. It’s narrative style merged with clear facts marks this as an accessible and precise resource for those wishing to know more about the Holocaust from the perspective of those operating within France. However, the style also renders this as a particularly difficult “I witnessed so many deaths, and not just firing squads – humans can be so horrible.” Abbe Franz Stock, German prison chaplain at Fresnes, Resistance sympathiser. Codename Suzette* is an incredible account of resistance and salvation. It’s narrative style merged with clear facts marks this as an accessible and precise resource for those wishing to know more about the Holocaust from the perspective of those operating within France. However, the style also renders this as a particularly difficult read, in the way that horrific truths so often are. On several occasions I had to put this aside, overcome by the weight of all that happened within Europe during WWII and the burden compassionate citizens bore when betrayed by their neighbours and acquaintances. I am not a new reader to this subject having read extensively over the last 20 years on many aspects of WWII, but this book was striking in its power to move me. I am grateful to Anne Nelson for producing this book and giving Suzanne Spaak the attention she deserves. The research undertaken to write this book was phenomenal and by all appearances, an adherence to accuracy has taken precedence within the narrative. It’s a testimony to Anne Nelson’s skill as a writer that you can pick Codename Suzette up and read it in the same manner as you would a novel, although its contents will shred you all the more as you continually remind yourself that everything you are reading is fact, not fiction. “Suzanne Spaak was capable of seeing and serving the ‘alien other’ because, in her clear gaze, no fellow human was alien, or other. ‘Something must be done’.” Suzanne Spaak was murdered on August 12, 1944, in the prison courtyard of Fresnes. It is unclear by whom and under what order as she had been pardoned and was due for release at the end of the war. Available evidence suggests that all of the children rescued by Suzanne’s network survived the occupation. In 1985, Suzanne was designated Righteous Among the Nations by the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel, conferred to non-Jews who risked their safety or their freedom to save Jewish lives from the Holocaust, with no expectation of personal gain. Thanks is extended to Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of Codename Suzette for review. * The edition I have read is Australian and titled Codename Suzette.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Floyd Larck

    Another view of the The Holocaust, this time from within France. Holocaust deniers would have a difficult time denying the relocation and murder of Jews by the Nazis if they were to read this book. What was an eye-opener to me was the ways in which the French themselves participated in the relocation and subsequent deaths of Jews through the years of Vichy France. This story of one woman's network that saved 1000 Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers was well-written and very well-researched Another view of the The Holocaust, this time from within France. Holocaust deniers would have a difficult time denying the relocation and murder of Jews by the Nazis if they were to read this book. What was an eye-opener to me was the ways in which the French themselves participated in the relocation and subsequent deaths of Jews through the years of Vichy France. This story of one woman's network that saved 1000 Jewish children from the Nazi gas chambers was well-written and very well-researched. The lengths that Suzanne Spaak (a non-Jew) and her network went through to prevent the murder of Jewish children was amazing. She spent large sums of her own inheritance on providing sustenance for the children along with moving them out of reach to the Nazis. What was interesting is that Vichy France cooperated fully with their Nazi in the rounding up of and deportation of 90,000 Jews. Vichy France and even modern day France feels as if they were justified in sending so many Jews to the gas chambers and death camps because the majority of those deported were "foreign" Jews instead of "French" Jews. The Nazi attack on the children displayed their hatred of the Jews by trying to murder the bloodlines in an effort to stop the younger Jews from filling the void caused by the deaths of adults. What was interesting was the way Charles de Gaulle cast off the accomplishments of Allied troops when he stated that French countrymen were the ones who freed France from the grip of Nazi occupation. In doing so he swept Vichy France under the proverbial carpet even though he himself was working against them from the safety of London. The pictorial section of the major subjects of the book was an extra treat.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I really enjoyed this book. I thought that it was pretty easy read. Though, I was having a rough time pronouncing and reading some of the French that was littered throughout the story (French is not my first language). There was some parts where she would put translations in parenthesis , which I was very grateful for. I also enjoyed how this book highlighted unsung heroes as well. Even though this book was about Suzanne Spaak, who herself was an unsung heroe , Anne Nelson highlighted other peop I really enjoyed this book. I thought that it was pretty easy read. Though, I was having a rough time pronouncing and reading some of the French that was littered throughout the story (French is not my first language). There was some parts where she would put translations in parenthesis , which I was very grateful for. I also enjoyed how this book highlighted unsung heroes as well. Even though this book was about Suzanne Spaak, who herself was an unsung heroe , Anne Nelson highlighted other people who were in the resistance and the Red Orchestra. She highlights the people who took Jewish children at the risk of themselves and their families. The criticism I have read on this book is that people felt that the title was misleading. which I can understand because its not until almost the end of the book she starts talking about how Suzanne Spaak started rescuing Jewish children. I was kind of thinking this as well, but once I read the book in its entirety I changed my mind. Anne Nelson just doesn’t give you one piece of the puzzle, she gives you the entire picture. I love how detailed that this book was. I think that in order to understand how Suzanne was able to go far as she did in rescuing Jewish children you would have to look in her past and the current situation that she is living in. All of which Anne Nelson covers in this book. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Nazi occupation in France. I think that this a great starter book. This book has made me want to read more on that subject as a whole.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    I've always has a fascination with the holocaust and what people did to survive. This was a different biography to what I have read in the past. This book is a great example of how one person, with an organized group of others saved the lives of those who may not have survived the war. Although very detailed in descriptions of occupied France, the book tells a harrowing yet essential story of what good people can do. It also tells of the 'ignominious' end to the heroine, Suzanne Spaak. I've always has a fascination with the holocaust and what people did to survive. This was a different biography to what I have read in the past. This book is a great example of how one person, with an organized group of others saved the lives of those who may not have survived the war. Although very detailed in descriptions of occupied France, the book tells a harrowing yet essential story of what good people can do. It also tells of the 'ignominious' end to the heroine, Suzanne Spaak.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Caren

    This meticulously researched and compelling text reveals the courage and sacrifice of Suzanne Spaak, a cultured, Belgian Catholic woman, who dedicated her time in occupied Paris during WWII to the rescue of Jewish children, thus saving them from deportation and certain gassing by the Nazis. Her connections to wealthy Parisians, to social and Christian groups, to Jewish and non-Jewish resistance organisations, allowed "Suzette" to work under the eyes of the occupied forces to "kidnap" these child This meticulously researched and compelling text reveals the courage and sacrifice of Suzanne Spaak, a cultured, Belgian Catholic woman, who dedicated her time in occupied Paris during WWII to the rescue of Jewish children, thus saving them from deportation and certain gassing by the Nazis. Her connections to wealthy Parisians, to social and Christian groups, to Jewish and non-Jewish resistance organisations, allowed "Suzette" to work under the eyes of the occupied forces to "kidnap" these children and to hide them in safe houses until the war's end. The author brought this little known story to life through a personal portrait of Spaak and of her family and friends, immersing the reader in a well-drawn landscape of Paris itself during its occupation and of the activities of Spaak and those who resisted in highly dangerous, clandestine actions. The personal relationship of Suzanne and her somewhat estranged husband was intriguing, especially in the guilt he was left with after discovering how she had died. Suzanne's connections to writers like Colette, to Communists, to clergymen, to Polish refugees, were significant in their resistance efforts and in their personal alliances to her. Against the backdrop and complicity of Vichy France, the resistance activity was life-threatening for the rescuers, for those who harboured Jewish children, and for the groups which worked to maintain their social and moral consciences. Spaak never saw herself as heroic, though her compatriots and the children who survived because of her efforts , including her own two children, honoured her sacrifice. In 1985 she was posthumously recognised as a Righteous Among Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel. This is an excellent and compelling record, important in that it testifies to the existence of humanity in a period darkened by evil.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Harron68

    I picked it up just to have something to read during these days of science fiction come to life as Covid 19. i expected a dry account, but I was totally wrong. It puts names to the ones who acted when so many were afraid to face genuine evil. Suzanne Spaak had wealth and no reason to risk her life and those of her family members in Paris. Living upstairs from the famous author Collette, Suzanne was friends with the famous and not-so-famous. Her family was connected to Belgian politicians and pow I picked it up just to have something to read during these days of science fiction come to life as Covid 19. i expected a dry account, but I was totally wrong. It puts names to the ones who acted when so many were afraid to face genuine evil. Suzanne Spaak had wealth and no reason to risk her life and those of her family members in Paris. Living upstairs from the famous author Collette, Suzanne was friends with the famous and not-so-famous. Her family was connected to Belgian politicians and power-brokers. She had no reason to try to save Jewish children from "the camps." in truth, as the fog of war brought chaos to much of French life, the early removal of foreign (i.e. refugee Jews from Ukraine, Poland and the USSR) didn't much trouble the mostly Catholic French. Most thought the refugees were shipped off to work in the factories that desperately needed workers. Once the truth emerged, Spaak and others, from Communists to the religious, to French willing to risk their lives to harbor Jewish children, the need was clear. The book pulls no punches. Those who collaborated and those who did so to survive the Nazi horrors are mentioned. The many shipments to prison camps we know well thru history of adults and children as young as six appall readers, but truth makes this necessary. Her life is remembered by Jewish organizations as it should be. She gave her life to save others. As the book quotes her, "Something must be done." And she gave her all for them. Four stars on an important book in order for the readers to get a complete picture of the chaos and fear of the times and those who set out to defeat the terrible atrocities of those years. It personalizes a horror we imagine as unthinkable, so gives a service to humanity never to forget.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth R

    Always an interesting journey along a single thread woven through WWII. This read a little bit like the author had a pile of information and had to pick a subject, and this is the one that worked out the best. That said, she clearly developed a relationship with Suzanne's birth children, and that informed the book. There were so many people weaving in and out of the picture, and of many nationalities, that it was a bit hard to keep things straight by times. There were photos included of Suzanne Always an interesting journey along a single thread woven through WWII. This read a little bit like the author had a pile of information and had to pick a subject, and this is the one that worked out the best. That said, she clearly developed a relationship with Suzanne's birth children, and that informed the book. There were so many people weaving in and out of the picture, and of many nationalities, that it was a bit hard to keep things straight by times. There were photos included of Suzanne and her family, and a scattered number of the characters (undoubtedly whatever the author could get), which helped keep some of the people straight. This wasn't the most organized narrative, but nevertheless the author made it clear just how many people were involved in any kind of rescue, how brave they all were, and I learned a great deal about the deportations of Jews from France. I didn't really know about the Vel d'Hiv. I didn't know that most of the Jewish deportees from France were the ones registered as "foreign-born", and that many French Jews rode out the entire occupation in their own homes. One of the minor characters from the last WWII book that I read, A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II, Ben Cowburn, popped up in this one. Well, technically a couple of other Resistance and SOE people were there too, but they were only mentioned in passing.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sonia

    The subtitle of the book is a bit misleading. This book is really about the French Resistance and Vichy France. Suzanne Spaak was a well to do patron of the arts, she could have safety sat out the war but whom sympathy for the Jewish exiles in the late 30s became a moral resistance during the occupation. I picked this up because my mother's name was Suzanne and she was a young child in Rouen France during WWII. Her stories of the Nazi's marching down the street, the fellow Jewish students empty d The subtitle of the book is a bit misleading. This book is really about the French Resistance and Vichy France. Suzanne Spaak was a well to do patron of the arts, she could have safety sat out the war but whom sympathy for the Jewish exiles in the late 30s became a moral resistance during the occupation. I picked this up because my mother's name was Suzanne and she was a young child in Rouen France during WWII. Her stories of the Nazi's marching down the street, the fellow Jewish students empty desk, the whistle of the bombs overhead as they hid in bomb shelters will always stay with me. She spoke of her father's small bit of resistance of having a radio which was banned. Suzanne saved hundreds of children because she couldn't stand back and watch. We all need that hero in evil times.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Karen Berlin

    Chillingly accurate, this biography captures the heart and contributions of posthumous "Righteous Among the Nations" award recipient (for non-Jewish humanitarian contributions during WW II) Suzanne Spock who acted upon her beliefs that "no one alive is an 'other,' and "something must be done." The well-research account documents the successful efforts of Suzanne and others to rescue children, including toddlers living in orphanage and slated for gestapo arrest/deportation/execution by placing th Chillingly accurate, this biography captures the heart and contributions of posthumous "Righteous Among the Nations" award recipient (for non-Jewish humanitarian contributions during WW II) Suzanne Spock who acted upon her beliefs that "no one alive is an 'other,' and "something must be done." The well-research account documents the successful efforts of Suzanne and others to rescue children, including toddlers living in orphanage and slated for gestapo arrest/deportation/execution by placing them with families willing to receive them throughout the countryside. While eventually imprisoned and executed for her role in providing safe harbor for over 1000 children, Suzanne's adaptability, hope, and strength remained strong all throughout as evidenced in final words penned to her daughter, "when your conscience is at peace, there is always joy."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Honey

    I was a little disappointed because that title reveals how dichotomous this book is. I thought it would be about the children as the title suggests. But instead it was more related to the subtitle and ended up being more about the whole of the resistance network in France. It was still interesting but I was hoping for more of a “what ever happened to_______” story. I suppose since most of the underground rescue of children was done covertly, records are sketchy at best and sometimes nonexistent. I was a little disappointed because that title reveals how dichotomous this book is. I thought it would be about the children as the title suggests. But instead it was more related to the subtitle and ended up being more about the whole of the resistance network in France. It was still interesting but I was hoping for more of a “what ever happened to_______” story. I suppose since most of the underground rescue of children was done covertly, records are sketchy at best and sometimes nonexistent. Also a bit put off by Suzanne’s husband shacking up with another woman for decades and her staying with him. Regardless there is value in the book to learn about the war from the Perspective of France.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    A story of courage in the face of evil. Suzanne Spaak risked and gave her life to save hundreds of Jewish children from deportation from Nazi Paris to Auschwitz. This is one of the amazing untold stories of the Holocaust. In Paris in the late 1930's, her friendship with a Polish Jewish refugee led her to her life’s purpose. When France fell and the Nazis occupied Paris, she joined the Resistance. She used her fortune and social status to enlist allies among wealthy Parisians and church groups. Un A story of courage in the face of evil. Suzanne Spaak risked and gave her life to save hundreds of Jewish children from deportation from Nazi Paris to Auschwitz. This is one of the amazing untold stories of the Holocaust. In Paris in the late 1930's, her friendship with a Polish Jewish refugee led her to her life’s purpose. When France fell and the Nazis occupied Paris, she joined the Resistance. She used her fortune and social status to enlist allies among wealthy Parisians and church groups. Under the eyes of the Gestapo, Suzanne and women from the Jewish and Christian resistance groups “kidnapped” hundreds of Jewish children to save them from the gas chambers. In the final year of the Occupation, Suzanne was caught. She was executed shortly before the liberation of Paris.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Candace Chesler

    This non-fiction book was difficult for me to read - the struggles of the families and the decisions that parents, government officials, supporters all had to make were hard. I often stopped to read more about the events in Europe and the United States during the same time. Children abandoned in Paris because their parents were arrested - left to fend for themselves. Children that Suzanne Spark and others organized to help. Some children brought to safety - others sent to the death camps. And wh This non-fiction book was difficult for me to read - the struggles of the families and the decisions that parents, government officials, supporters all had to make were hard. I often stopped to read more about the events in Europe and the United States during the same time. Children abandoned in Paris because their parents were arrested - left to fend for themselves. Children that Suzanne Spark and others organized to help. Some children brought to safety - others sent to the death camps. And what of Suzanne's own children - assisting their mother when they could - and then abandoned themselves when she is imprisoned for her efforts in aiding Jewish children.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I'm sure the author went to great research for this book; but it was a difficult read. Hard to keep track of all the people, places, groups. I guess I would have liked to read more about the actual rescuing of these innocent children. As I read the book, about halfway, I found I sort of scanned some of the information. In the paragraphs about the actual rescuing, I found interesting and was intrigued. But then the author left the subject matter. I did find it interesting to read all the people i I'm sure the author went to great research for this book; but it was a difficult read. Hard to keep track of all the people, places, groups. I guess I would have liked to read more about the actual rescuing of these innocent children. As I read the book, about halfway, I found I sort of scanned some of the information. In the paragraphs about the actual rescuing, I found interesting and was intrigued. But then the author left the subject matter. I did find it interesting to read all the people involved, but again, way too much info which bogged the book down. It would have been better to read more about the children's rescue.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I had a difficult time following the author's writing style. As the book neared the end, it became a bit easier. It is so difficult for me to understand WHY all this happened! How can a community, a country be so oblivious to the hate brewing around them and not band together and fight as their neighbors are whisked away? How hundreds of children could be saved by Suzanne and her group, issued new identity cards and relocated with other families until they could be reunited after the war is an a I had a difficult time following the author's writing style. As the book neared the end, it became a bit easier. It is so difficult for me to understand WHY all this happened! How can a community, a country be so oblivious to the hate brewing around them and not band together and fight as their neighbors are whisked away? How hundreds of children could be saved by Suzanne and her group, issued new identity cards and relocated with other families until they could be reunited after the war is an amazing accomplishment. The story is astounding and rather unbelievable!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nalani

    After reading another non-fiction book regarding occupied Paris, I thought that this would be a better read. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the "textbook" better than I did this book. The combination of the bland statements and oversaturated information got overwhelming at times. The amount of names mentioned throughout (with the expectation of remembering who is who) and extra tidbits of information thrown in came to be frustrating at times. I understand that there must have been a lot After reading another non-fiction book regarding occupied Paris, I thought that this would be a better read. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the "textbook" better than I did this book. The combination of the bland statements and oversaturated information got overwhelming at times. The amount of names mentioned throughout (with the expectation of remembering who is who) and extra tidbits of information thrown in came to be frustrating at times. I understand that there must have been a lot of research done for this novel, but I feel like they tried to include every single little fact they had uncovered. I think they should have concentrated on a smaller range of information.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ted Nelson

    Riviting Real Factual Mistery A must read for all to know what happened in Paris in WW II. Thls book relates under-reported Vishy-French participation in the Nazi occupation AND the heroic efforts of other French to frustrate the brutal exporting of Jewish children to certain death. But is also a story of (non-Jewish) Suzanne's personal bravery and intrigue and wrenching choices risking self and family to save stangers. Such compassion, guts, and love from one person ! Riviting Real Factual Mistery A must read for all to know what happened in Paris in WW II. Thls book relates under-reported Vishy-French participation in the Nazi occupation AND the heroic efforts of other French to frustrate the brutal exporting of Jewish children to certain death. But is also a story of (non-Jewish) Suzanne's personal bravery and intrigue and wrenching choices risking self and family to save stangers. Such compassion, guts, and love from one person !

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rose

    I only skimmed this book, but from what I did read, Suzanne Spaak used her wealth and influence to rescue many Jewish children during World War II. However her heroic efforts came at a terrible price. It is a shame that more people did not take care of the children, or stand up to the Nazis. Suzanne is a hero. The pictures are interesting to view, and provide some visuals of the people mentioned in the book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    This is a very factual account of individuals involved in the Resistance in France during WWiI, not always easy reading since it tends to get bogged down in detail. The title is misleading; only a portion of the book covered the children. A lot of the book led up to the children, but there was little detail about the children. This did show, however, how some French and Belgians who helped Jewish children have been overlooked despite the price they paid.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Averil Evans

    My interest was piqued in this book because of the following phrase in the review...Under the eyes of the Gestapo, Suzanne and women from the Jewish and Christian resistance groups 'kidnapped' hundreds of Jewish children to save them from the gas chambers....however I found it to much more generalised than this and the subject matter much broader. I'm sorry to say I couldn't get into it and gave up quite early on in the book. My interest was piqued in this book because of the following phrase in the review...Under the eyes of the Gestapo, Suzanne and women from the Jewish and Christian resistance groups 'kidnapped' hundreds of Jewish children to save them from the gas chambers....however I found it to much more generalised than this and the subject matter much broader. I'm sorry to say I couldn't get into it and gave up quite early on in the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    The Book Grocer

    Purchase Suzanne's Children here for just $12! This is an unforgettable story of Suzanne Spaak and her heroic efforts in saving countless numbers of Jewish children from the Nazis and certain death. A must read for all to know what happened in Paris in WWII. Alicia - The Book Grocer Purchase Suzanne's Children here for just $12! This is an unforgettable story of Suzanne Spaak and her heroic efforts in saving countless numbers of Jewish children from the Nazis and certain death. A must read for all to know what happened in Paris in WWII. Alicia - The Book Grocer

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathi Olsen

    The woman Suzanne Spaack was a courageous protector of Jewish children in Nazi occupied France. She took many risks and for a long time was pretty much under the radar of exposure. This biography doesn't have many of her own words or writings, but there is an explanation for that which is at the end of the book. Her husband (who was a jerk, by the way) burned her letters and pictures, including those belonging to their two children. A worthwhile read for anyone. The woman Suzanne Spaack was a courageous protector of Jewish children in Nazi occupied France. She took many risks and for a long time was pretty much under the radar of exposure. This biography doesn't have many of her own words or writings, but there is an explanation for that which is at the end of the book. Her husband (who was a jerk, by the way) burned her letters and pictures, including those belonging to their two children. A worthwhile read for anyone.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Thank you Goodreads for giving me this book. I was really looking forward to reading it as I totally enjoy WWII stories. This was a disappointment for me as it was too much like reading my high school history assignments. I truly admire Suzanne's (and others like her) courage and compassion but I just could not get into this story. I'm sure true history buffs would like it. Thank you Goodreads for giving me this book. I was really looking forward to reading it as I totally enjoy WWII stories. This was a disappointment for me as it was too much like reading my high school history assignments. I truly admire Suzanne's (and others like her) courage and compassion but I just could not get into this story. I'm sure true history buffs would like it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Megan Langan

    The life of Suzanne was an amazing example of sacrifice and determination. While her story was incredible I was expecting the book to be written as a novel but it reads more like a research paper. If you are hoping to see the names, dates, and histories of the resistance in Paris during the occupation you will be pleased. Incredible story and worth the read if you know what to expect.

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