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Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance
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Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  750 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
A gripping memoir wherein Jack and Rochelle Sutin recount their struggle to survive the Holocaust as part of a band of partisans in the forests of Poland. Told through their son Lawrence, the memoir brings to life the reality of months spent hidden in a dank underground bunker unaware of the outside world. However, this is not just an account of stark survival. It is also ...more
Paperback, 225 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Graywolf Press (first published 1995)
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Oct 05, 2013 Kat rated it it was amazing
There is nothing as compelling as a real-life story - whether it's a love story, a war story or a personal journey through an unimaginable horror. Jack and Rochelle is all three of these stories, melded and meshed together into an unforgettable story of the terrible things that human beings can do to each other and the power of love and determination.

Told simply, in a conversational format and alternating between Jack and Rochelle, it is a story that I found completely and utterly riveting from

Jack and Rochelle Sutin tell their survival story, taking turns recounting all that they endured as Polish Jews during the Holocaust. They start with a brief account of their family and their lives before the war. Mere acquaintances before the Nazi occupation, the two met again after escaping the ghettos, hiding with other Jewish partisans in the Belorussian forest called Naliboki.


In December of last year, I read Nechama Tec’s book Defiance, about the Bielski partisans, who took
Diane Chamberlain
This book will make you open your well-stocked pantry and freezer doors and stand there in awe at all the choices you have, knowing that some people survived for months and months on nothing more than flour and water. This is an eye-opening and beautiful story about love and survival. I was familiar, of course, with life in the concentration camps, but not with the partisan groups who escaped to the wilderness and managed to survive in the freezing cold and parasite-ridden summers for years. Ama ...more
When we think about the Holocaust, we remember the atrocities perpetuated on the Jews of Europe by the Nazis, the concentration camps, the death camps, the showers of poisonous gas, the digging of their own graves, and the starvation and mass murder of an entire people. But this isn't a memoir of the same types of experiences. Instead Jack and Rochelle were Jews from different towns in eastern Poland, who had each led a fairly comfortable life before the onset of World War II. That said, the Pol ...more
Sep 01, 2009 Becky rated it it was amazing
This powerful book of the Jewish resistance in Poland is one of the most inspirational books of survival and will power -- plus, the story of love which endures. The descriptions of living under ground, the woods, the swamp,etc. are so vivid! I learned a lot about the psychology of people in close quarters under constant stress and what people have to do to survive.
Amy Hustead
Sep 29, 2011 Amy Hustead rated it really liked it
A touching account of resistance, fate and true love (just to name a few) that made me cry often but mostly made me feel thankful for the very basic things I have (food, roof, family, etc..) I liked how the story allowed for both jack and Rochelle to each tell their own side and version. Finally i am glad I finally read it after searching for it for so long!
Lynn Morzorati
Aug 22, 2015 Lynn Morzorati rated it it was amazing
this was an amazing story - and a great Twin Cities connection that I didn't realize going in. What a love story set amidst really unfathomable conditions.
Oct 12, 2016 Vuesxhudson.K12.Wi.Us rated it really liked it
Jack and Rochelle's love is compelling and very interesting as it takes place in the time of the German invasion in Poland. As the two try to survive in the forest while fighting the German forces because they don't want to be taken to the concentration camps and possibly die. It doesn't only give us an inside story of them protecting themselves and their family form the Germans, it gives us an inside story on how they have to survive as well. This makes it even more interesting realizing that t ...more
Sep 20, 2010 Trisha rated it it was amazing
This is the remarkable, true-life account of Jack and Rochelle Sutin, two Polish Jews who fled the Nazi labor camps and escaped the holocaust by hiding out the war in the deeply wooded forests of Poland. Narrated alternately between the two of them, their story has been carefully and faithfully captured by their son Laurence as it was told to him in a series of interviews. It is filled with harrowing and gruesome details familiar to readers of holocaust literature, but unlike many other books in ...more
May 17, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Inspiring and emotional

I can't begin to tell you how much this story moved me. Not your typical holocaust story. The perspectives and narratives by Rochelle, Jack and at the end their son provides a complete picture of the events unfolding. These are truly survivors of the spirit who accomplished great things through sacrifice and love throughout the story. A must read.
Oct 12, 2016 Nate rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book because most people don't have any idea what conditions for people were like during the holocaust. some of the things in this book are hard to even believe. this story shows so much strength and perseverance and it's unreal to read about the things they went through. i would recommend this book to anyone, but moreso to anyone interested in the holocaust.
Tim Kubiak
Aug 15, 2014 Tim Kubiak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
an interesting read told in a conversational manner. A love story at the core based in the most unlikely of circumstances and with some of the awareness left intact which made it only more compelling. Different from many survivor stories as Jack and Rochelle chose to escape if for no other reason than to die on their terms and were part of the resistance as a means of survival.
Marianne L. Holt
Jack and Rochelle

I had a hard time getting started reading this book. It takes place during an incredibly horrific time in history and I was dreading reading the book. In the story of this young couple in Poland during the Holocaust, the one thing that helped them survive was their devotion to each other and family.
Dec 19, 2014 Katelyn rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandi Glodowski
Feb 23, 2016 Sandi Glodowski rated it really liked it
I am currently reading this book and I am really enjoying it. I like the way it is organized because you get to here from both Jack and Rochelle and what they were thinking around the same time. This book also makes me want to keep reading and it is easy to fall into.
Sep 16, 2009 Annette rated it really liked it
It's hard to describe why this story isn't like other holocaust stories. It doesn't take place in a concentration camp for one thing. But mostly I think because the love Rochelle and Jack have for one another comes through each part of the story. Their side of the war being in hidden resistance is an effort you hear little about increasing the interest. Mostly I felt how they were real to me, the voice of the writing plays well off one another's narration. And it isn't bogged down with ugly char ...more
Vicki Lohnes
Oct 23, 2015 Vicki Lohnes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holocaust Survivors

Jack and Rochelle Sutin were heroic in their trials. Their satisfaction in less stressful times depicts a joy in life that most never experience.
Oct 16, 2015 CrabbyPatty marked it as to-read
Shelves: wartime-conflict
I read this a few years ago and recall it being amazing. Beyond their activities during the war, the book shares the story of their life in Minneapolis with their children, and how their love story continues.
Aug 01, 2016 Peg rated it it was amazing
Authentic oral history of young partisans who escape the horrors of the Nazis in the forests of Poland. Thank goodness stories like this have been preserved.
Dec 30, 2015 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jack and Rochelle's love story

Such a strong story of love and the persistence strengthened by it. Their intensity built by fiercely protecting one another and always on the brink of being crushed showed their character and courage.
Susan Hinesley
Oct 18, 2015 Susan Hinesley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my goodness. I had no idea people could survive so many things. Great story of two people who never gave up. It had me on the edge of my seat many times.
Denise Jo
Mar 13, 2013 Denise Jo rated it it was amazing
This is the story of Jack and Rochelle Sutin as told to their son, who writes with great love and sensitivity about his parents' struggle to survive the Holocaust. Theirs is the account of a segment of the Holocaust I had known little about before I read this book: the Jewish Resistance. As the Nazis invaded Poland, established, and then emptied the ghettos, some Jews escaped to the forests, living in dirt caves, hiding from the Nazis, scratching out their survival from one day to the next, not ...more
Lisa Holyk
Apr 04, 2016 Lisa Holyk rated it it was amazing
While a tad confusing at first, getting used to the voice switching between Jack and Rochelle, once it gets to the point of where they escaped the ghettos, the story is gripping and really seems to be honestly told.
Dec 04, 2015 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting to read of the war from the perspective of partisan resistance fighters. Good book, interesting couple.
Feb 21, 2014 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really wonderful nonfiction story of holocaust survival, but it differs from those normally told in two crucial ways. First off, the main characters, Jack and Rochelle, are not confined to a concentration camp but instead live in the forests of Poland as part of a Jewish partisan unit made up of other Jews who managed to escape the mass murders in their cities. Secondly, this story speaks of the time after, of moving and adapting and returning to normal society with a new family. I wou ...more
May 25, 2015 Sharon rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Mr. Sutin has shared his parents' story of escaping Polish ghettos and fighting with the resistance during WWII. The tale switches off between Jack and Rochelle, and I could almost see them sitting side-by-side on a sofa filling in the blanks in each others' narratives. Of course, many parts of the story are horrifying and behavior all around them runs the gamut from merely distasteful to truly reprehensible. It is amazing that the couple was able to fall in love under such circumstances and sus ...more
Amy Lane
Sep 27, 2015 Amy Lane rated it it was amazing
amazing love story - wow!
Sep 04, 2014 Tara rated it really liked it
This turned out to be a wonderful story. It was a little slow moving at first, but then really picked up. Like most Holocaust stories, I'm amazed at what this couple went through. I hadn't read much about Jewish partisan groups, so this was a good read to learn more about what they did during the war. I loved how the story was told by both Jack and Rochelle. The narrative style really felt like I was sitting at their dining room table listening to them tell the story of how they survived. I woul ...more
Apr 10, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2016 Nancy rated it really liked it
I have read lots of Holocaust stories. This was a different experience. Maybe not quite as horrific as concentration camps but horrible still!
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