@JewishLibraries - MY SISTER'S EYES Review - "... adults would also find the story fascinating as well."

Halperin, Joan Arnay. My Sister’s Eyes: a Family Chronicle of Rescue and Loss During World War II.
Gr. 5-12. AJL Reviews by Joyce Levine, May/June 2018

Like Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania who saved thousands of Jewish lives, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat in Bordeaux, France, deliberately defied his government’s decree. Against all orders, he issued visas allowing Jews safe passage into Portugal from where they could then travel to other destinations. The book begins by depicting the author as a young girl begging her parents to tell her about their lives in Lodz, Poland before the war. Their idyllic prewar life soon turns into a nightmarish escape from Belgium and a frantic journey through France and Spain, to a safe haven in Portugal…and finally to the United States. The Krakowiak family’s personal tragedy, losing a daughter to a heartbreaking accident in Jamaica, is revealed when a fellow refugee recognizes the author because her eyes resemble those of the sister she never knew existed (hence, the title: My Sister’s Eyes.)    There are numerous photographs and other documents to support the narrative, including many pieces of personal correspondence. The increasing desperation of those family members trapped in Europe is reflected in their writing. Newspaper clippings, maps, a family tree, and some full color pictures enhance the story. This Holocaust memoir highlights the role of Sousa Mendes, who made a great personal sacrifice through his courageous actions in 1940. He died a pauper in 1954 after being harshly punished by his own government. Sousa Mendes posthumously received recognition and honors from Yad Vashem, the U.S. Congress, and the Portuguese Parliament...    Although the writing is geared to a young audience, adults would also find the story fascinating as well.

Like Chiune Sugihara, the Japanese consul in Lithuania who saved thousands of Jewish lives, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, a Portuguese diplomat in Bordeaux, France, deliberately defied his government’s decree. Against all orders, he issued visas allowing Jews safe passage into Portugal from where they could then travel to other destinations. The book begins by depicting the author as a young girl begging her parents to tell her about their lives in Lodz, Poland before the war. Their idyllic prewar life soon turns into a nightmarish escape from Belgium and a frantic journey through France and Spain, to a safe haven in Portugal…and finally to the United States. The Krakowiak family’s personal tragedy, losing a daughter to a heartbreaking accident in Jamaica, is revealed when a fellow refugee recognizes the author because her eyes resemble those of the sister she never knew existed (hence, the title: My Sister’s Eyes.)

There are numerous photographs and other documents to support the narrative, including many pieces of personal correspondence. The increasing desperation of those family members trapped in Europe is reflected in their writing. Newspaper clippings, maps, a family tree, and some full color pictures enhance the story. This Holocaust memoir highlights the role of Sousa Mendes, who made a great personal sacrifice through his courageous actions in 1940. He died a pauper in 1954 after being harshly punished by his own government. Sousa Mendes posthumously received recognition and honors from Yad Vashem, the U.S. Congress, and the Portuguese Parliament...

Although the writing is geared to a young audience, adults would also find the story fascinating as well.