Excerpt from The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The World That We Knew

by Alice Hoffman

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman X
The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2019, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 2020, 400 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Karen Lewis
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Print Excerpt


"That was not the reason it happened. It was because of who he was, not who you are."

Lea didn't answer, but she knew the truth. Who I used to be.

Hanni held her daughter's hand, grateful that God had allowed her to enter the alley with the shears in her hand. But what would have happened if he hadn't been so kind, and what would happen next time? Every day there were arrests, and by the following autumn men and women and children would be taken to the remote Grunewald freight station, where they would board the trains that would bring them to killing camps in the East.

Hanni collected the strands of hair littering the floor. Later she would place them on the windowsill for the birds to weave into their nests. But as it turned out, there were no birds in the trees. This was the day when they had all risen into the sky in a shining band of light, abandoning the city. There was nothing here for anyone anymore. Bobeshi could not leave her bed, let alone flee from Berlin, and Hanni intended to honor the fifth commandment. She could not leave her mother. The problem was time. There was so little of it. Each day groups of people were taken to Grosse Hamburger Strasse, where they were kept, without knowledge of their future, in a former old people's home, and would soon be sent to their deaths on trains that were leaving to resettle Jews in the East.

All Hanni knew was that someone among them must be saved.

Then and there she decided to send her daughter away.

Excerpted from The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman (copyright © 2019 by Alice Hoffman). Reprinted with permission from Simon & Schuster. All rights reserved.

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