Reviewed by Eugene J. Fisher
Catholic News Service

“Luna’s Life” and “Gertruda’s Oath” are both stories of survival of Jewish children during the Holocaust. They will both challenge and spiritually uplift Catholic readers.

The author of “Gertruda’s Oath,” Ram Oren, has been called the John Grisham of Israel, and well deserves the title. His book is an engrossing page turner and a true account of very real events.

The hero of the story is not the child survivor, Michael, the son of a wealthy Polish Jewish family, but his Catholic nanny, Gertruda, who promises the boy’s dying mother to bring the boy to Israel, to join his family there. She does, but how she does it is a tale told amid horror, narrow escapes and the saving kindness of Poles, such as the priest who takes them in, places the boy in his school (teaching him just enough about Catholicism to pass as one of his students) and even gives Gertruda a job (and false identity papers).

Another person who helped them survive, when they had been captured by the Germans and the boy’s Jewishness was about to be revealed, was a Nazi SS officer. How he got there and why he risked his life to save a child he did not know is one of the absorbing subplots of the book.