The Girl in the Red Coat

By Roma Ligocka

As a baby in German-occupied Poland, Roma Ligocka used to be recognized for the intense strawberry-red coat she wore opposed to a tide of accumulating darkness. Fifty years later, Roma, an artist residing in Germany, attended a screening of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s checklist, and immediately knew that “the lady within the crimson coat”—the purely splash of colour within the film—was her. therefore started a harrowing trip into the previous, as Roma Ligocka sought to reclaim her lifestyles and prepare the items of a shattered adolescence.

The result's this striking memoir, a fifty-year chronicle of survival and its aftermath. With brutal honesty, Ligocka remembers a early life on the middle of evil: the flashing black boots, the surprising executions, her mom weeping, her father vanished…then her personal harrowing get away and the unusual twists of destiny that allowed her to live to tell the tale into the haunted years after the battle. robust, lyrical, and designated between Holocaust memoirs, The woman within the purple Coat eloquently explores the facility of evil to curl our lives lengthy when we have survived it. it's a tale for someone who has ever identified the darkness of an insufferable past—and looked for the braveness to maneuver ahead into the sunshine.

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Chocolate! How lengthy have I dreamed approximately it! And now, ultimately, I’ll have the ability to flavor the true factor. setting out the lid, I see anything darkish brown and tough within. I holiday off a bit piece and positioned it in my mouth. it's very tough and breaks aside whilst I bite it. it truly is candy, but additionally sour. really it tastes lousy. “This is chocolate? ” I ask. all of them nod, and that i consider as if paradise has became a bit allotment backyard. I nonetheless have a photo from that point. It used to be taken on moms’ Day in 1946 and indicates Roman, the Horowitz young children, and me.

There isn't any room for everyone down here,” my mom whispers. “We could suffocate. they'd locate us. If considered one of us had allow them to in, the others down right here might have pounced on him. ” *   *   * within the grey sunrise, protecting my mother’s hand and nearly blind from the darkness, I go away the hiding position within the cellar gap. i'm 4 years outdated. It’s an ice-cold, ice-gray day. The streets are empty; the homes too. The lifeless are silent. Suitcases and bundles lie scattered at the pavement, a hat, pocketbooks.

They rip open the door and switch at the gentle. I blink sleepily. yet for all time I’m wakeful. “This is my ill mom. And this is often Teofila Ligocka, my cousin from Rzeszów, and her daughter,” Mrs. Kiernikowa explains in a strained voice. “Identity playing cards! ” one of many males in boots barks. My mom sits up, rubs her eyes, pretends she has been speedy asleep. i will inform instantly she’s no longer an outstanding actress. creating a lot of fuss, she will get our papers out of the suitcase below the sofa and fingers them to the boys in uniform.

Then she stuffs a few meals into my mouth. My father is silent. he's pondering. *   *   * within the huge sq. there are lots of, many folks back status subsequent to or sitting on their luggage. The vehicles are right here back. And the lads in boots with their enormous automobiles. They bellow instructions. They’re herding the outdated and the ill humans jointly. Many can’t stroll thoroughly. I see an outdated guy on crutches crumple within the weigh down. They beat him at the head with their gun butts and throw him apart like a bag of rubbish. it's nonetheless unbearably scorching.

There, Jakob learns to stroll and to assert his first be aware, adiós. After that to Sicily, the place the locals name Jakob angelo due to his blond curls. Then again to Vienna, the place we have a good time his first birthday with my mom. Jakob has now not been baptized. Jan by no means insisted on it; he has internalized either the Jewish and the Christian faiths like not anyone else i do know. occasionally he claims he's extra Jewish than i'm. We by no means speak about faith with my mom. *   *   * We’ve been at the street for 4 years now, dwelling in lodges, continually simply passing via, basically visitors.

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