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The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  3,374 Ratings  ·  311 Reviews
In 1943, with Lvov's 150,000 Jews having been exiled, killed, or forced into ghettos and facing extermination, a group of Polish Jews daringly sought refuge in the city's sewer system. The last surviving member this group, Krystyna Chiger, shares one of the most intimate, harrowing and ultimately triumphant tales of survival to emerge from the Holocaust. The Girl in the Gr ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2008)
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Posted at Shelf Inflicted

After watching Agnieszka Holland’s powerful film, In Darkness, I was delighted to find this story in the library. After finishing it, I learned that the film was not actually based on Krystyna Chiger’s story, but on an earlier story by Robert Marshall, In the Sewers of Lvov, which covers the same events.

The Girl in the Green Sweater is told from the perspective of Krystyna, who was only 8 years old when the Lvov ghetto in Poland was liquidated and the remaining Jews se
May 16, 2009 Cam added it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
It doesn't matter how many different accounts I've read of the holocaust, I am still fascinated and touched by each one. I am in awe of the people in this book, and reminded that I don't know what true suffering is. It was interesting to read this story and think about my Macey who is basically the same age as the children in this story. Their childhoods were truly taken away from them. It's so hard to imagine what you would do in that mother's place.
It was also interesting to read an account o
Aug 16, 2009 Liv rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If this book was a work of fiction, I would critique it by saying I enjoyed the author's journalistic style but the story was too far-fetched to ever really happen. I guess this is what many say or think when reflecting on the Holocaust, and with good reason. This is, indeed, a remarkable tale about the strength and depth of the human spirit, and about the human need for a family, a friend, or at the very least--an angel.
Feb 03, 2013 Hayley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
The story of young Krystyna Chiger and her family in Nazi-occupied Lvov, Poland is harrowing and beautiful. Upon the final liquidation of the Janowska concentration camp, Krystyna and her younger brother flee with their parents and quite a few others into the cold, uninhabitable sewers beneath the streets of Lvov, through which the rushing Peltew river courses.

They descend into the secret entrance with the belief that they will see the sun again in a few weeks. This, however, was not their lot.
Dec 31, 2015 Brina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The girl in the green sweater is Chiger's moving account of how her family survived the holocaust by living in a sewer for 15 months. I have read many holocaust books over the years, but I found this particularly moving because with her collaborator Paisner, Chiger managed to tell her story through the eyes of her seven year old self. B"H she moved past this baggage and raised a family and has now donated this gem to all of us.
Jan 15, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Krystyna Chiger’s memoir of her childhood during the Holocaust. A Polish Jew, her family was forced to hide from the Nazis lest they be exterminated during the “cleansing” of the town of Lvov. Though they were able to survive longer than many Jews, through her father’s ingenuity and sometimes sheer luck, they were eventually forced into the sewers underneath the city. There, along with a dozen or so other Jewish people, they hid for fourteen months, until the Russian army liberated the c ...more
Mar 23, 2013 Virlys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Using the metaphor of carrying heavy baggage of memories of the Holocaust, author Krystyna Chiger ends her memoir with these words: "It would not be fair to suggest that our bag was heavier than most. It was just ours, that is all..." I picked my copy of The Girl in the Green Sweater up on a visit to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C. awhile back, but I put it aside after reading The Girl in the Red Coat which tells the story of the red-clad girl made famous in the movie Schindler's List, t ...more
The green sweater mentioned in the title of this book is found in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. This sweater was worn by the author when she was six to seven years old, when she lived in the sewers of Lvov. Lvov is now called Lviv and is located in western Ukraine. Then, during the war, it was part of Poland and was called Lvov. This sweater was knitted by the author's grandmother. When she wore it she felt the warmth of her grandmother's hugs.

What is spoken of
Doriana Bisegna
Feb 15, 2013 Doriana Bisegna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What took the author so long to write this story? This story is unbelievable and should have been told decades ago. It is an unforgettable story that will resonate with the reader for a long time if not forever. Whenever we need to traverse a difficult period in our own lives, this should be the story that should have us drawing upon our perserverance and willpower. How a group of human beings can live for 14 months amongst the rats, sewage, darkness, cold and surrounded by mud strewn walls is b ...more
Apr 16, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books you should read. Chiger's experiences during the Holocaust as she and her family lived in a sewer for months are awe inspiring. It's true the narrative isn't linear per se (it mostly is, but sometimes she tells you ahead of time what happens), but it feels as if Chiger is right next to you, telling you the story. And that's worth a lot.

Her parents were wonderful people.
Sep 12, 2016 Ray rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Krystyna is seven years old, and lives with her family in Lvov in south East Poland. It is 1939. She is Jewish, as are a quarter of Lvov's population.

War breaks out. First the Russians annex Lvov as part of the Molotov Ribbentrop agreement. Krystyna's father has his business confiscated, and the family are forced to accept strangers as lodgers in their large apartment. Others from the community are taken away, never to be seen again.

Then disaster as operation Barbarossa rolls over the city. The
Mar 11, 2015 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This memoir chilled me. Krystyna Chiger's simply told story of survival during the Nazi invasion of Poland is perhaps one of the best I've read. It isn't because it is Pulitzer-award winning writing -- it's not. It isn't because it was on the bestseller list -- it wasn't. It's because her family's survival is so unimaginable that even as I read it, I wondered how anyone could EVER live through it. Imagine living in the sewer system being hunted like prey. Co-existing with thousands upon thousand ...more
Katharine Holden
This is the most powerful book I have ever read.

So many awfulnesses. The Nazis who come into Chiger's family's apartment to pick and choose belongings like there's a yard sale going on...her grandmother bravely waving to her from the military truck that takes her and the other Polish Jews to their death...she and her little brother squeezed behind a false shelf her father builds for 12-14 hours at a time so they won't be found while he and her mother work at forced labor...the rats in the sewer
Feb 18, 2015 Amanda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far one of the best books of this time period I have ever read. Well written. A real eye opener. I have read and thought about the Holocaust but this book really put a new perspective on it from a family not only able to stay together but to endure such hardships together and still have hope. I am in awe of the Chiger family. I knew Jews suffered and some more than others but never really put into perspective the children and what they went through. The Jews had hatred coming from all sides a ...more
Johnna Jackson
Feb 17, 2010 Johnna Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't stop reading about the Holocaust! I just finished this book and have moved on to another memoir about this horrific time in history.

I was amazed that this book went as quickly as it did for me. There is little to no dialogue in this book. Most of the story is the author recollecting what happened during her ordeal of hiding with her family in the sewer. Krysha, her brother and parents hide for over a year in the sewer. A trio of sewer workers aid the group in their quest to survive the
Mar 31, 2016 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping yet extremely harrowing true life story both heartbreaking and uplifting about Krystyna Chiger's life in hiding from the Nazis and Ukrainian anti-Semites, during the Holocaust. Chiger talks of her experiences before the war, of the Soviet occupation and oppression of her family in Lvov, and how the family lost their possessions at this time, followed by the even more diabolical rule of the Nazis. Chiger was 4 years old when Poland was divided between the Nazis and Soviets and 6 when t ...more
With each book I read dealing with the Holocaust, I am overwhelmed by the human capacity for cruelty. Krystyna Chiger's families' experiences as they spent 14 months hiding in the sewers of Lvov (an area in the Ukraine near the Polish border) were horrifying, amazing, and inspiring. This is a story with true villians whose disgusting deeds are overcome by true heroes.
Aug 24, 2015 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It truly is an amazing, true tale of the human spirit and will to survive. I think all memoirs about surviving the Holocaust must be similar in this way; unbelievable, moving, terrifying. I finished this book in one night. Don't read the introduction, it has too many spoilers for the book although that didn't bother me.
Feb 18, 2010 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an amazing book. I enjoyed it. At first I thought it was a little repetitive, but then i realized how it was just reinforcing the whole book. I laughed once or twice and cried a few times with this one.
May 31, 2016 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's ShadowThe Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow is a very well-written book. I did not want to put it down as the story was so intriguing.

The families, in this book, lived through communist Russia and then they went through the Polish invasion by the Nazis.

There are times when my heart wept for the suffering that was dealt onto the people by the Germans and the SS. Some of the things were loss of items, no food, hiding and
Feb 10, 2014 Trina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Krystyna Chiger is the last surviving member of a group of Jews that survive the Holocaust by hiding in the sewers beneath the city of Lvov. Her story begins a couple years prior to their hiding. I found it notable that she felt like living above ground was worse than hiding in the sewers. The Jews were having businesses and belongings taken from them. Soldiers would come to their homes, and walk through to pick out and take whatever they wanted. Any resistance resulted in death or being sent to ...more
May 28, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard of this story having dinner with the author about 25 years ago. Her and her family were friends of some friends and we in Lake Tahoe at a rib house. Beef ribs. I remember everyone giving me a hard time because I left so much meat on my ribs and then to hear of her story I felt a little shamed. That was such a long time ago so when I heard of this book I had to know more of what her and her family endured. Having heard all the horrible things the Nazis did during the war I do not th ...more
Aug 27, 2011 Meghan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Meghan by: Shelia Burks
The more I read about WWII, the more I see the similarities of experiences, whether the person is from Germany, Poland, Russia, France, England, Japan, China, the US, etc. Each person's experience is unique and yet over and over the victims seem to tell of the same story and the persecutors seem to react in the same manner. In all, I guess it shows that humans are humans no matter where you're from, what language you speak, what religion you practice.

In Chiger's story, I learned a little more ab
Feb 03, 2015 Kristine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing a memoir is always hard. This is one person's perspective on their life so who am I to judge? I have an obsession with WWII history and historical books on the subject. I love them, all of them, even when they seem a bit long winded or dry. My personal opinion is that this book can lean towards the long winded or detailed end of things at times. However, as we move further from the time of Hitler we cannot discount any survivors story, and the history is in the details. I do wish the g ...more
Lori Kaplan
Aug 18, 2015 Lori Kaplan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an amazing true story of surviving the Holocaust... My son's girlfriends father is the co-author ghost writer of the book and he writes with such amazing detail and you feel as if you are there with the family during the war. I can't imagine how any of these survivors endured these horrible times in hiding and truly can never get enough of survivors stories... I recommend this book to everyone.. The Holocaust can never be forgotten and these stories of survivors ensure that it will ...more
Jul 24, 2009 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: 50-books-a-year
How horrible to believe that humans could possibly treat other humans like this! I have read many books about the treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust, but every time it just astonishes me that we can treat each other the way that these people were treated. This book is definitely a must-read and takes you to a place where you feel grateful that you never had to go through something this horrible, at least not my ancestors anyway.
I liked Chiger and her honest reminisces, and this was something I hadn't known about before. There's a simplicity and a humanity to the recounting, especially as it's told through the lens of time and from childhood memories; what this family did to survive is just what they did, and how things were. There are also insights and the typical questions that are raised whenever this subject is delved into, but it's all integrated into the whole, that being how an intelligent, humorous woman recount ...more
Jan 23, 2016 Jen rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I love the story of survival. It's always interesting and inspiring for me to read these holocaust stories and all that had to be endured and sacrificed to survive. Truly amazing spirits. However, this book was not well written & never developed any kind of flow to the story that made the reader want to keep going. Maybe would be better as a book on tape.
Aug 14, 2013 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This Holocaust story is narrated by 7 year old Krystyna Chiger, forced to escape with her family and live in the sewer under her city in Poland for more than a year. Rats, mud, stench, cold and the everyday terror they may be discovered and killed by the Nazis, made it a hard book hard to put aside.
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“The day burned orange, like a photographic negative, and it would be a few days more before my eyes could adjust. It was like something out of science fiction.” 1 likes
“The day burned orange, like a photographic negative, and it would be a few days more before my eyes could adjust. It was like something out of science fiction.” 1 likes
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