Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer – Discussion Questions

English 394 – Literature for Young Adult

Grant T. Smith, Ph. D.


Come prepared to “talk” about some of these issues and questions.


·        Irene violated one of God’s laws in order to save several Jews.  What is your response to this? 


·        Irene also violated civil laws in order to save several Jews.  She became a “freedom fighter.”  When is it appropriate to obey a moral law and defy a civil law?  What is the difference between a “freedom fighter” and a terrorist?


·        What was there about Irene’s character that enabled her to survive?


·        Choose one passage in the book that you want to read aloud and discuss.


·        What images in the book stayed with you after you finished the last page?  Why?


·        What statements does this book make about the power of the individual?  The consequences of “choice”?  The nature of good and evil?


·        Birds (or images of birds) appear frequently in the book.  Find some passages where bird imagery is present and discuss how the imagery is used in the narrative.


·        Opdyke said that she wrote the book because she was fearful that people would forget the Holocaust or deny that it happened.  This year we are honoring the survivors of Auschwitz, and yet we are witnesses to modern-day acts of mass genocide?  Why haven’t we learned from WWII?