Escape in Time: Miri's Riveting Tale of Her Family's Survival During World War II

Escape in Time: Miri's Riveting Tale of Her Family's Survival During World War II

Nessya’s grandmother, Miri Eneman Malz, has friends, a loving family—and a secret: she is a Holocaust survivor. When twelve-year-old Nessya learns the truth, she wants to know what happened. After decades of silence, Grandma Miri decides it’s time to tell her story.It all begins one terrible day in the spring of 1944, when Germany crosses Hungary’s border and soldiers...

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Title:Escape in Time: Miri's Riveting Tale of Her Family's Survival During World War II
Author:Ronit Lowenstein-Malz
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Escape in Time: Miri's Riveting Tale of Her Family's Survival During World War II Reviews

  • Diane

    Leora Frankel translated this novel from the Hebrew and Laurie McGaw added fine duotone illustrations throughout, so it's evident that Escape in Time, Miri's Riveting Tale of Her Family's Survival During World War II is not a singular endeavor, but a long cooperative effort to bring this story to English audiences. And, as young readers ages 12 and older will discover, it's one well worth reading.

    Miri Malz was in the Holocaust, and a survivor, and is now a cheerful grandmother who has kept the

    Leora Frankel translated this novel from the Hebrew and Laurie McGaw added fine duotone illustrations throughout, so it's evident that Escape in Time, Miri's Riveting Tale of Her Family's Survival During World War II is not a singular endeavor, but a long cooperative effort to bring this story to English audiences. And, as young readers ages 12 and older will discover, it's one well worth reading.

    Miri Malz was in the Holocaust, and a survivor, and is now a cheerful grandmother who has kept the secret of her past from her grandchild. But when Nessya overhears school officials talking about inviting her grandmother to speak as a Holocaust survivor, a whole hidden world opens up - and when she confronts her grandmother, the answers she receives are difficult and strain their relationship.

    One might wonder at the need for yet another YA read about a Holocaust survivor - but given the unprecedented nature of genocide and its lasting aftermath, it would seem that new stories should appear every few years as fresh reminders of the lasting impact of events, lest future generations forget, or the classic, widely-distributed writings of such as Anne Frank become overly familiar.

    A packet of wartime letters, a young girl's curiosity about her heritage, a grandmother's experiences of ghetto routines, and a child's perspective of the war are supplemented by the gorgeous works of Laurie McGaw throughout (it cannot be emphasized too much that these images are realistic, lovely, and striking embellishments to the story line).

    More so than most Holocaust accounts, this presentation examines the concepts of anti-Semitism from a preteen's perspective as she learns about the past's effects on her present world and family's future; and it draws important connections between family relationships and world politics, exposing an atmosphere where even a relationship with a doorman can become important.

    In the end, that's what makes Escape in Time such a standout: a blending of the Anne Frank diary format of personal experience with observation of the changing, wider social and political world holds an ability to involve not just characters, but the reader.

    Escape in Time is truly riveting, is recommended for ages 12 and older, and is especially recommended as a classroom assignment to pair off quite nicely with Anne Frank's classic Diary. There are miracles here for everyone: the miracle of survival, the lasting impact of change, and lessons for the future that make such accounts not just stories but outlines of inhumanity, hope, and survival.

  • Emily

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    This was a fantastic book! My husband lived in Hungary for two years as a missionary and I loved talking about the events and places with him.

    When we think about the Holocaust and WWII, we primarily think about Germany, Poland, England, Austria, etc. Very little is said, and, therefore, generally known, about Hungary, but that country has a very interesting history. I loved learning about each member of the family.

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    This was a fantastic book! My husband lived in Hungary for two years as a missionary and I loved talking about the events and places with him.

    When we think about the Holocaust and WWII, we primarily think about Germany, Poland, England, Austria, etc. Very little is said, and, therefore, generally known, about Hungary, but that country has a very interesting history. I loved learning about each member of the family. Naftuli, the father, was such an interesting character. He saw what was brewing and tried to warn others but most people didn't listen to him. I was amazed at his resourcefulness throughout the story. I loved the letters that Hendi, the mother, wrote throughout the book. I felt that it gave great insight into her thoughts and feelings. She didn't always agree with what her husband thought, but she supported him regardless and they were protected because of it. I didn't feel a particular closeness to the daughters Magda and Mara, partly because they were absent during part of the story, but I did like what was included about them. I think my favorite daughter was Kati. I don't like to include any kind of spoilers in my reviews, so I'll just say that her particular experiences were the most interesting to me. Miri, of course, was a great character as well, telling us of their struggles, fears, and successes. I was very touched by her reaction to the sacred prayer shawls being used as skirts by the local girls. I can only imagine how that must have felt for them. I felt that her emotions and reactions to what they lived through were poignant and insightful. I loved Nessya for taking the time to read her grandmother's memoirs and for growing closer to her through that experience.

    This book was originally written in Hebrew and I am so glad that it has been translated into English. The illustrations were a great addition and I loved the helpful pronunciation guide at the beginning.

    We've all heard the phrase that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. It is reading about and understanding times like those described in this book that will help us as a society to prevent such things from happening again. This book is geared toward middle grade and young adult readers, but I would recommend it for young and old alike.

  • Candace

    The author does a great job of introducing the reader to the facts of the Holocaust in this book. She tells an interesting story of a family trying to escape their Jewish village after the father learns of evils that are occurring to the Jews in surrounding villages. The themes are the usual Holocaust themes, the disbelief by the Jewish people that such evil could really exist in the world or that this evil will reach them and their fear that by doing something about it they will only make

    The author does a great job of introducing the reader to the facts of the Holocaust in this book. She tells an interesting story of a family trying to escape their Jewish village after the father learns of evils that are occurring to the Jews in surrounding villages. The themes are the usual Holocaust themes, the disbelief by the Jewish people that such evil could really exist in the world or that this evil will reach them and their fear that by doing something about it they will only make things worse. The father in this book teaches his daughters that they must do something if they want to survive. They must be brave and act. So what makes this book different? The story is told by a little girl who has found her grandmother’s memoirs and old letters that were written to relatives during the Holocaust and by using these to tell her story, she gives the story a very authentic feel to it. (The author actually uses her grandmother’s memoirs while writing this book) The reader is immersed in the life of the Jewish family complete with simple Yiddish terms and antique-looking pictures in my kindle edition that had a historic look about them.

    This is a great book to introduce a middle- grade reader to the Holocaust. An older teen or one already familiar with the Holocaust and its atrocities will likely be bored by this book. All important facts are given; however, the author does not dwell on anything that would make this book inappropriate for readers 12 years and up

    I’ll end with a quote from the book, appropriate at this time of year…And so for yet another year, “all we can do is attempt to repair the world with our good deeds.”

    *I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review.

  • Kristina

    I just finished Escape in Time by Ronit Lowenstein-Malz. It is the story of Miri Eneman Malz’ experiences with her family during World War II. Her granddaughter is curious about her experiences. Her grandmother writes out the story with the aid of diaries and family letters. Nessya (the granddaughter) reads the accounts and cannot believe what her Grandmother went through during the war. Miri was living in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia in 1944. The city then became a part of Hungary during the war.

    I just finished Escape in Time by Ronit Lowenstein-Malz. It is the story of Miri Eneman Malz’ experiences with her family during World War II. Her granddaughter is curious about her experiences. Her grandmother writes out the story with the aid of diaries and family letters. Nessya (the granddaughter) reads the accounts and cannot believe what her Grandmother went through during the war. Miri was living in Munkacs, Czechoslovakia in 1944. The city then became a part of Hungary during the war. Jews were rounded up by the Germans and forced to live in Ghettos (a fenced in area) where families lived four or more families per apartment. The Eneman family did everything possible to stay alive, together, and out of the camps.

    I give Escape in Time 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is a good story and nicely written (lovely illustrations). It provides a different point of view from other books on this topic. The target audience for Escape in Time would be children who are middle school age. The book is written in a style that is easy to understand, but the topic is for older children (tweens).

    I received a complimentary copy of this novel from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.

  • Alex  Baugh

    Living a comfortable life in Tel Aviv, Nessya, 12, is stunned to hear that her grandmother, Miri Malz, has been invited to speak at her school's Holocaust Remembrance Day program. Nessya has never heard her happy, smiling grandmother speak being a Holocaust survivor, and besides, she doesn't even have at tattoo AND she has her family's old photo albums - items always destroyed by the Nazis.

    When Nessya and her friend Rachel cook up a scheme to get into Grandma Miri's apartment to search for

    Living a comfortable life in Tel Aviv, Nessya, 12, is stunned to hear that her grandmother, Miri Malz, has been invited to speak at her school's Holocaust Remembrance Day program. Nessya has never heard her happy, smiling grandmother speak being a Holocaust survivor, and besides, she doesn't even have at tattoo AND she has her family's old photo albums - items always destroyed by the Nazis.

    When Nessya and her friend Rachel cook up a scheme to get into Grandma Miri's apartment to search for evidence while she is out to look for clues, the plan backfires. But, is Grandma Miri really a survivor? For almost two weeks, Grandma Miri keeps to herself, seeing no one but her husband. When she finally does come to visit, she takes Nessya aside and begins to talk to her about her past.

    Living in Munkács, Czechoslovakia, Miri Eneman was part of a large, loving family and life was pretty peaceful. The family thought they were Hungarian and pretty safe from the Nazis, until one night in the spring of 1944 it all changed with a knocking on their door. The family was being rounded up. That night, Miri's father escaped out the back window, leaving everyone to think he had run off and deserted his family. But in reality, that was just the beginning of his fight for their survival.

    When she leaves, Grandma Miri gives Nessya a packet of letters written by her family members and tucked into their diaries, all of which her grandmother had spent two weeks translating for her granddaughter and including her own memories of her family during the Holocaust. The story of her family's survival is her gift to Nessya for her upcoming bat mitzvah.

    Miri's story is riveting. The Eneman family is often on the run after escaping the Munkács Ghetto, in hiding and living in fear, separated from other family members and never knowing what is happening to them. All the while, Miri's father manages to anticipate what to do and stay one step ahead of Nazi actions, even hiding in plain sight in Budapest. At one point, they find themselves living in and caring for a grand apartment after the owner flees to Switzerland. Here, they lived across the street from the virulent anti-Semitic Hungarian pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party's headquarters and under the nose to an equally anti-Semitic concierge. But can their collective luck whole out until the end of the war?

    Escape in Time is a truly apt name for this novel about one Jewish family's survival during the Holocaust. It is a story of courage, daring, luck and survival doing whatever needs to be done. Lowenstein-Malz based this story on actual memoirs giving it a real sense of authenticity. The book is written in such a way that the reader reads Miri's story right along with Nessya, but there are occasional breaks where we see her reaction to what she is reading (don't be surprised if your reactions are similar to hers).

    There aren't many good middle grade books about the fate of Hungarian Jews in WWII so this is a welcome additon to the body of Holocaust literature. For so long, they, like the Eneman family, thought they were safe, but it was just a question of time and politics and it all changed. It is one of the reasons that I found myself so drawn into Miri's memories, and her family's letters and diary entries. This is a slightly different Holocaust story in that, interestingly, no one in Grandma Miri's immediate family spends any time in a concentration camp, though extended family were sent there from the ghetto in 1944. Young readers will not only meet this courageous family, but they will also meet some really good people willing to help the Enemen family as well as some really hateful people who would turn them in in the blink of an eye.

    Escape in Time was originally written in Hebrew and I found the translation to be a very smooth one. Having done some translating myself, I know it is often hard to get together all the elements that make a book great, but that wasn't a problem here.

    Throughout this novel, there are realistic sepia-toned portrait illustrations that enhance the narration about the Eneman family.

    Escape in Time is a well-written book with well drawn, realistic characters for young readers interested in the Holocaust or historical fiction, and since it is a story of survival against great odds, don't be surprised if you shed a few tears along with Nessya. I did.

    This book is recommended for readers age 9+

    This was an EARC recieved from Net Galley

    This review was originally posted at

  • Laurie

    First I wish to say thank you to the author AND Goodreads for giving me the opportunity to read this book that I won through Goodreads.

    I first read some of the other reviews on it only because they were on the Goodreads site. However, after reading this novel written for the school-aged reader, I beg to differ in my conclusions.

    I liked the book. I liked the style. I liked the different points of view used. Also, I felt that the characters were characterized well enough for this style of writing

    First I wish to say thank you to the author AND Goodreads for giving me the opportunity to read this book that I won through Goodreads.

    I first read some of the other reviews on it only because they were on the Goodreads site. However, after reading this novel written for the school-aged reader, I beg to differ in my conclusions.

    I liked the book. I liked the style. I liked the different points of view used. Also, I felt that the characters were characterized well enough for this style of writing -- maybe not abundantly, but the amount of characterization used was fine for the style of writing used.

    What is the style, you may ask? After the beginning, much of it is in the form of letters and written as journal-type entries. There was no lag in the story with this style, though. I truly enjoyed reading Escape in Time and feel that many youth looking for a new book to read on the Holocaust, will enjoy this book if it is presented to them.

    It is from the viewpoint of both a young Jewish school girl and then often (through the letters and journal memories) through her grandmother's viewpoint. Different from other Holocaust books, this one is about a Jewish family who many would say was lucky because the whole family survived. However, it wasn't really luck. It was this child's father who saw what was happening and did not ignore it (as so many of the other Jews did, even when getting herded into the Jewish ghettos. He begged many of the Jews in his area to listen to him and get out of the cities before what had happened to others would happen to them. Most took the stance, "It won't happen to me." Well, we know it did. However, this family, though often separated, survived to share their story. And, by the way, this story is written about a family that really did survive this awful time period.

    Read it! I think you'll like it, too!

  • Dana

    Told as a story within a story, 12 year old Nessya has learned that her grandmother, Miri, is a Holocaust survivor, and when she asked about it, her grandmother wrote down the story for Nessya to read. Miri tells her family's story of escaping from Czechoslovakia, just in the nick of time before the Jews there were sent to concentration camps. She tells how they had to use false papers and how they moved to Hungary. They tried to warn other Jews about what was happening, but they refused to

    Told as a story within a story, 12 year old Nessya has learned that her grandmother, Miri, is a Holocaust survivor, and when she asked about it, her grandmother wrote down the story for Nessya to read. Miri tells her family's story of escaping from Czechoslovakia, just in the nick of time before the Jews there were sent to concentration camps. She tells how they had to use false papers and how they moved to Hungary. They tried to warn other Jews about what was happening, but they refused to listen until it was too late. Nessya shares her feelings about her grandmother's bravery during that time. I think this book is a well told story about the Holocaust that is appropriate for middle school age children. I received this book free to review from Netgalley.

  • Angie Fehl

    POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: This novel does touch upon the topic of suicide.

    Nessya is twelve years old when her Hungarian grandmother, Miri, reluctantly begins to share the darkest details of her Holocaust experience. Miri decides to write it all down, as she feels it will be easier to get the story out that way than if she were to speak the memories aloud. Through Miri's story, the reader is given specific details on how individuals and families were treated within the concentration camps. Such

    POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: This novel does touch upon the topic of suicide.

    Nessya is twelve years old when her Hungarian grandmother, Miri, reluctantly begins to share the darkest details of her Holocaust experience. Miri decides to write it all down, as she feels it will be easier to get the story out that way than if she were to speak the memories aloud. Through Miri's story, the reader is given specific details on how individuals and families were treated within the concentration camps. Such details covered:

    > Mandatory curfews within Jewish communities prior to residents being forced to move to the camps; also business licenses of Jewish owners being revoked, removing the business owners' ability to provide for their families. There are descriptions within this book of some families being forced to cut up a dead horse to keep from starving to death themselves.

    > Families were driven out of nice, clean communities into cramped, dirty ghettos. Miri's family was living with 4 other families in a one bedroom apartment in one such ghetto!

    > While still residing in their towns, Jewish residents were forced to wear circular yellow patches signifying that they were Jewish. These were the precursors to the yellow stars Jewish people were forced to wear in the camps.

    > Miri describes the children in her village learning how to speak in code from an early age, as well as learning to decifer coded letters from family during the war. In her story, she explains that there was a false sense of security that came with being educated and behaving cooperatively with the Nazi soldiers. You never knew who they were going to turn on. Miri's own father, Apu (aka Naftuli), was considered a doomsday-ish worrywart type with his gloomy prophecies about the Nazis, until his predictions started coming true.

    Miri's tale also gives reader an idea of the lengths Jewish citizens had to go to to escape German capture: the complex escape plots; creating fake transportation / documentation papers, relocating and living under new names altogether; families sometimes forced to split up (maybe forever) as a matter of survival. As Nessya reads of the tension, anxiety and uncertainty swirling around her grandmother's fate, the reader feels Nessya's emotions right along with her. The author also works in an important idea at this point: It's easy to judge the past actions of our relatives / ancestors (and possibly how those choices affected later behavior) from the comfort of present day. Lowenstein-Malz illustrates this nicely with the description of Nessya reading her grandmother's words and feeling utterly heartbroken for her... but Nessya is reading these words sitting outside in the sun with a nice glass of iced tea and a plate of cookies.

    This novel has a bit of a slow beginning, and while the book in its entirety is very short (less than 200 pages), there were passages that dragged a bit, sometimes reading more like a textbook than a novel. But the story does pick up and soon enough you are very much in Miri's world getting quite the education on this time period. The storytelling is enhanced by lovely pencil sketch illustrations done by Laurie McGaw.

    Translated from the original Hebrew by Leora Frankel, this novel was first published in Tel Aviv, Israel in 2006 under the title A Miracle of Love. In 2008, it was awarded the Yad Vashem Prize for Children's Holocaust Literature. The English translation provides a handy pronunciation guide for the some of the Hebrew vocabulary and Jewish cities mentioned throughout the novel, but there were a few lines here and there where the English grammar still seemed just slightly off.

    FTC Disclaimer: MB Publishing kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own

  • Bri

    I received this book for free on Net Galley. This did not influence my review or rating in any way.

    I really enjoyed this book. A couple of years ago, I was pretty much obsessed with historical fiction. I would go into a bookstore and instantly buy anything that was about the Holocaust, WWII or the Civil War. I remember reading about a hundred books that year about the Holocaust alone. I was sort of obsessed... Shortly after that, I picked up Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series, got

    I received this book for free on Net Galley. This did not influence my review or rating in any way.

    I really enjoyed this book. A couple of years ago, I was pretty much obsessed with historical fiction. I would go into a bookstore and instantly buy anything that was about the Holocaust, WWII or the Civil War. I remember reading about a hundred books that year about the Holocaust alone. I was sort of obsessed... Shortly after that, I picked up Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series, got obsessed with YA, and that was that. When I saw this book on Net Galley I knew that I HAD to try to get approved for it. Thank goodness I did!

    This story is from the point of view of a survivor of the Holocaust. The whole story is about her granddaughter reading about what happened to her. I liked how the book lets you read what happened to her grandmother, and then you got to see the granddaughter's reaction and go into her mind to see what's she's thinking or comparing the experiences to.

    The writing wasn't the best, but that could be because this book was translated from another language, but I'm not sure which one. I love how this book took place originally in Czechoslovakia since you don't see many books about Hitler's reign in that country. It was also kind of interesting to me since some of my ancestors are from there and it made me think about what they might have been doing at that time. I'm not really sure if this is a true story, but it reads like one and I wouldn't be surprised if it was. I found it really interesting and recommend it to anyone who wants to learn more about the Holocaust or WWII. This book is going to be released April 21st 2015, and I for one am going to go buy it as soon as it comes out!

    Thanks for reading!

    ~Bri

  • CatchTheseWords

    I was really excited to get an ARC of this book. The premise sounded very interesting and I had high hopes.

    The problem is that the writing felt so forced. I couldn’t believe in any of the characters when I was reading, I felt like the author was just telling me a list of events and I couldn’t get to know the characters at all. Had it not been obvious, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell which character was speaking by their voice, every single one was written pretty much the same.

    I must

    I was really excited to get an ARC of this book. The premise sounded very interesting and I had high hopes.

    The problem is that the writing felt so forced. I couldn’t believe in any of the characters when I was reading, I felt like the author was just telling me a list of events and I couldn’t get to know the characters at all. Had it not been obvious, I wouldn’t have even been able to tell which character was speaking by their voice, every single one was written pretty much the same.

    I must praise the author for the research she’s clearly done. There was a lot of information contained within this book that she must have spent significant time on. The pronunciation guide was also very helpful and I am grateful that it was included. I wish I could have enjoyed it more.

    All the dialogue felt very forced, the letters were almost rigid, in their telling. I desperately wanted to love this story, I enjoy historical fiction a lot but unfortunately I couldn’t. I felt like many characters were there just to move the plot along, we didn’t really get to know anyone fully, this is particularly the case for Nessya’s friend Rachel. She served no real purpose other than to initiate the search for documents linking Nessya’s grandmother to the holocaust.

    I gave this book 3 stars because it was well researched and I hope somebody else can read it, enjoy it and maybe learn from it. Unfortunately for me it was a real struggle to finish. I think it has massive educational potential and so I really want others to read it and see more than I did.

    I was provided an ARC in exchange for an honest review from netgalley.

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