Between Shades of Gray

*link to animoto video

World War II started a Holocaust. Most everyone knows what Hitler did to the Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, and anyone he did not like. Auschwitz and other death camps are now museums. The genocide of the Jews was not the only one, however.

By the year 1941 the world was falling apart. FDR gave his “4 Freedoms” speech, Rivera-Schreiber warned of a Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Captain America first appeared in a comic book, and the first large scale round up of Jews in Paris took place. Stalin became Premier of Russia and Germany declared war on the Soviet Union along with Italy and Romania. The Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and the US enters the war.  On June 23 Nazi occupation of Lithuania began. On June 24 the entire Jewish male population of Gorzhdy Lithuania was exterminated. What is hardly taught though, is the fact that the Russian Secret police were already at work.

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys tells the story that no one hears. In 1941 Lina is a fifteen year old girl whose childhood is stripped from her. Lina’s life is changing for the better. She got accepted into an elite art school and summer is on the way. Everything changes to quickly. Her house is broken into by the Russian Secret police and her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp. Lina and her mother are sent to Siberia with her younger brother. Only they aren’t the only ones going, and the road isn’t straight. Using her skill in art, Lina sends secret messages to her father hoping they will reach him and risking her life if they don’t. Evil will rule until good men and women choose to act. Is it possible to keep hope when everyone around you is dying? Is there a chance that Lina’s father is alive? Are there any good men and women who will choose to stand against the Russian government?

The world is not just black and white. Lina and the Lithuanians she is with are not the only ones in a prison. Between Shades of Gray is a story of human resilience. It is human nature to survive. Lina must find hope between the shades of gray that surround her.

Did anyone know about this? How do you think it is different from the Holocaust? Would you not read it for any reason?

Views: 29

Tags: Between Shades of Gray, Historical Fiction, RutaSepetys, WWII, What is the worth of a human life?, genocide, holocaust

Comment by Andrew Lundholm on January 8, 2014 at 9:22pm

I've heard many of these kinds of stories with all of the history classes that go over the same stuff year after year, (that's why I am not a fan of history).  But your title got me thinking about something I heard before, what is the value of a human life?  Well broken down to chemicals, it's worth about $1986.  Not to be ignorant of your post, just wanted to share that fact.

Comment by Sarah Hoadley on January 8, 2014 at 10:44pm
Wow. I'm chemically only worth $1986! That's cool! Thanks for sharing that! I can't wait to wow my chem teacher. ;)
Comment by Holly Straup on January 8, 2014 at 11:27pm
I enjoy reading these kind of holocaust stories and this one seems very interesting. I'm not a huge history fan but a book like this makes it easier to learn about the past. It's more fun when past events are told in a story rather than solid facts. Great post Sarah!
Comment by Jennifer Brand on January 10, 2014 at 11:35am
I've always heard of holocaust stories but this is something I haven't seen. This sounds really interesting and I love the true story kind of things. Great post!
Comment by Sarah Hoadley on January 10, 2014 at 12:59pm
It's an amazing book!!! You should read it. It draws you in and is so hard to put down.

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