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Gertruda's Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  1,432 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
Trapped in the horrors of World War II, a woman and a child embark on a journey of survival in this page-turning true story that recalls the power and the poignancy of Schindler’s List.

Michael Stolowitzky, the only son of a wealthy Jewish family in Poland, was just three years old when war broke out and the family lost everything. His father, desperate to settle his busin
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Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 3rd 2010 by Doubleday Religion (first published 2007)
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S.B. Lerner
Mar 17, 2013 S.B. Lerner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An account of how a young Polish nanny saved a young Jewish boy in the Holocaust. Concurrent background story of a young SS man who saves her life with a spur of the moment gesture. written in a very straightforward, unadorned manor, which is fitting because the tale is incredible on its own. Also tells the story of the Exodus voyage, life in Israel and the young man's efforts to claim his inheritance.
Ranjit Powar
Jun 11, 2013 Ranjit Powar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The style is simple and direct. More than a play of words or expression, it is the stark , undiluted truth about the atrocities and loss of all that is human that hits you in the gut.The second world war - a people hounded out of the securities of a normal life for no fault of their own. And amidst it all, the amazing courage and compassion of one woman who survives it all. Read and remember, so this may never be repeated any place, any time.
Terri
Feb 10, 2014 Terri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
One of the most engrossing books I have read in a long time; I could not put it down.

Generally I steer clear of World War II books because I know it was an horrific period and I don't want to dwell on the horrors of it in a book or a movie for that matter. So with trepidation I began reading this book.

Yes, the horror and hatred that one man can do to another with relish is here; the absolute devotion to Hitler and his final solution is eery and leaves you heartbroken. BUT the kindness and love o
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Shelli
Sep 11, 2011 Shelli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gertruda's Oath is a beautiful and tragic story about a young Jewish boy and his Catholic nanny, and those who helped them survive during the Nazi regime.

Written simply, it can be read in a few hours, but the lasting impression of Gertruda's devotion to her young charge, along with the characters that shape and influence their survival is tangible.

You begin reading, knowing that Michael is going to be saved and protected by Gertruda; knowing that the fate of his mother and father is destined to
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Mary-Louise
Aug 09, 2012 Mary-Louise rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
One little Polish-Jewish boy's World War II tragedy could have been so much worse without his protector-nanny, Gertruda, who promised Michael's mother that she (Gertruda) would protect Michael from the Nazis as best she could. Honor was in short supply in Nazi-occupied territory, but some people risked their lives to do the right thing.

My only quibble with the book was that the writing seemed to be more at a young adolescent's level rather than at an adult's. I don't know whether the author or t
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Elaine
Oct 24, 2014 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a true story of the Holocaust, a child, a promise and a heroic escape, a story of survival and strong character. I could not put it down!
The Stolowitzky family along with Gertruda Bablinska, the nanny, work their way through life in Poland and Russia during World War II. Some survive and many die, of course. The story also describes the Karl Rink family and their pain and suffering. Without spoiling the story itself, the author details betrayal, allegiance and dedication.
Sarah
Nov 20, 2015 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amazing true story about sacrifice, loyalty, and small kindnesses that put individuals at risk during a horrific time in our history.
Judy
Oct 10, 2014 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good and true story about the Holocaust and how a Catholic nanny saved a young Jewish boy and raised him as her own.
Chris
Disclousre: won though Goodreads giveaway.

Last semester, I taught Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl for my reading skills class. My intention was to use the work as a jumping off point and go into the editing that had been done and how Frank's work compared to other diaries from the time. In other words, I wanted my students to look beyond the work and to place it in the wider context, to even challenge the idea of the "saintly" Anne Frank. My students read information from the U.S. Holocaust
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Magda
Oct 17, 2016 Magda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
La vita di un bambino e della sua bambinaia, il percorso formativo di un membro delle SS, una famiglia ebrea che vede sfumare il proprio avvenire e molte altre storie si intrecciano in questo romanzo profondamente tragico, ma pieno di speranza, l'unica che non muore mai. Con uno stile scorrevole e realista, l'autore descrive momenti intensi e molto spesso commoventi riuscendo a farci provare un amore-odio incondizionato per ogni singolo personaggio. Anche se è un tema molto spesso affrontato [.. ...more
Kristen
3.5 rating. I liked how this true story was written like a novel. Very suspenseful and interesting, with facts intertwined.
Anna Ligtenberg
Jan 19, 2013 Anna Ligtenberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ISBN 9780385527187 - I love books set during World War II, non-fiction in particular. They're almost always tearjerkers (at least sniffle-inducing), and certainly awe-inspiring, something we can always use more of, these days. Gertruda's Oath definitely lives up to those expectations.

Living in a world of luxury and denial, the Stolowitzky family is blissfully - for the moment - unaware of what lurks around the corner, as Hitler rises to power and threatens them from afar. By the time they unders
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Amanda Morgan
Jun 25, 2014 Amanda Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Gertruda Bablinska, a former Catholic schoolteacher, decides to take on a job as nanny to the three-year-old son of one of the wealthiest Jewish families in Poland shortly before World War II broke out, she had no idea the ultimate responsibility she was really agreeing to in “Gertruda’s Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II.”
When Michael’s father has to go out of the country on business, no one realizes it will be the last time they will ever see each other, a
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01sidnyr
Mar 07, 2013 01sidnyr rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gertruda's Oath is not just one story, it is three stories. The first one is about Michael Stolowitzky, and his nanny Gertruda, and Michaels mom and dad. Their story is how the escape from poland and how michael and gertruda surivive during the war. The second story is about a guy named Karl Rink. His is about how he, his wife, and daughter live through the war and how karl joins the naxi party. And the thrid story tells a little bit about gertruda. When and where she was born, what she did bef ...more
Lynn
May 21, 2012 Lynn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gertruda's oath is the true story of a heroic escape from the terrors of the WWII, but it is also a story of love and devotion. Gertruda, a Catholic woman, is hired by a wealthy Jewish family as a nanny for their son, Michael, in pre-war Poland. As the war progresses and the Nazis conquer Poland and move from there to Vilna, Lithuania, the family is separated by circumstances and death. Gertruda makes a solemn promise to Michael's mother to watch over him, raise him as her own, and ultimately de ...more
Nancy
Jul 11, 2011 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I won this book on GoodReads. This is a true story of World War II. One set of characters revolves around the Stokowitzky family in Warsaw, Poland, the mother, father, son Michael and the nanny Gertruda. The other main set of characters belong to the Karl Rink family in Germany. Karl joins the SS because he is unemployed, even though his wife is Jewish is is their daughter. The book follows the two sets of characters thru the war. The story is told in an objective manner which is one of the thin ...more
Nancy
Aug 13, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the Germans have invaded Poland the wealthy Jewish Stolowitzky family is separated, with father, Jacob, in Paris trying to finish up an important business deal, while mother, Lydia, Michael, and nanny, Gertruda are robbed of all they have by the family chauffeur on the way from Warsaw to Vilna. Lydia’s health is poor and made worse by her depression, and she asks Gertruda, on her deathbed, to care for Michael and be his mother. The book follows the struggles of Gertruda to survive and pass ...more
Lorri
Gertruda’s Oath: A Child, a Promise, and a Heroic Escape During World War II, by Ram Oren is a lovely story, and a beautifully written testimony of how young, Jewish Michael Stolowitzky survived the Holocaust. Gertruda Babilinska was Michael’s nanny, and without her, it is doubtful that Michael would have survived.

Gertruda’s Oath often reads like a book of intrigue, with its pages filled with drama and riveting sequences. It is a true story, though, depicting the courage, strength, determinatio
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Katie Hanrahan
May 14, 2015 Katie Hanrahan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story about a Holocaust survivor recovering his family's fortunes, I thought after I read the book's opening. I was hooked.

I was tricked.

GERTRUDA'S OATH is so much more than a journey through the intricacies of the Swiss banking system. It is a riveting tale of survival and love.

Gertruda is the Polish-Catholic nanny of a wealthy Polish-Jewish family, at the opening of the Second World War. At the same time, an unemployed German Christian man joins the SS to get a paying job, blind to all that
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Laura
Sep 29, 2009 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
Sep 18, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane
Jul 10, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written book that follows two different lives. One, a young Jewish boy, Michael, in Warsaw, Poland. The other, a young German man, Karl Rink, from Berlin Germany. The time frame is the start of Nazi power. Rink is caught up in Hitler's plan to improve Germany. He is promoted throughout the ranks of the Nazi party, ultimately becoming an SS man. He marries a lovely Jewish girl, Mira, and they have a daughter. The war begins and despite his wife's fears of Jewish annihilation ...more
Ziaria
Sep 25, 2009 Ziaria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy books about WWII and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's my inability to understand it that keeps me reading book after book.

The first thing I really noticed about this book is it did not read like a non fiction, it read like any fiction novel you would pick up off a shelf in a bookstore. Very nice for someone who doesn't care for the slower pace writing that non fiction books often take.

The book shares Michael and Gertruda's journey before, through and after the war. The journey they took was
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Em's
Dec 24, 2015 Em's rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Gertruda Babilinska, a catholic woman, accepts the position as a nanny in a prominent Jewish family. With the love of a mother, Gertruda cares for and is determined to save Michael Stolowitzky during the invasion of Poland by the German's during World War II. With Michael's Stolowitzky's participation, this is an account of their survival under the very noses of the German's.

Another important view is that of SS officer Karl Rink. Poor economic conditions and a charismatic man named Hitler, have
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Jaqui
Apr 21, 2016 Jaqui rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rivetting

I have read a lit of books about the holocaust and studied the subject a little but this book moved me on so many levels in the main I guess because it us as page turning and engrossing as the best novels are but it is a true story about real people and the true events in real places of the horror that engulfed them. All the way through I thought about my family and my children and the fact I wouldn't have been born at all in 1948 if the Nazis had invaded Britain. My seven grandchildren
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Laurie
Oct 17, 2009 Laurie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
When a writer of suspense fiction tackles the right nonfiction story, it reads like a novel. Gertruda's Oath tells the story of a Catholic nanny, who became the mother of a Jewish boy, Michael, in Poland during World War II. Their harrowing experiences are woven together with the parallel story of Karl Rink, an SS officer who saved many Jews, including Michael, from certain death. The author must have spent years researching each person in the book to tie up the loose threads and leave the reade ...more
Wendy
Jul 24, 2011 Wendy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael Stolowitzky, the only son of a wealthy Jewish family in Poland, was only three years old when war broke out. His father, desperate to settle his business affairs, travels to France, leaving Michael in the care of his mother and Gertruda Bablinska, a Catholic nanny devoted to the family. When Michael's mother suffers a stroke, Gertruda promises to make her way to Palestine and raise him as her own son.

Although Ram Oren has written "Gertruda's Oath" as a wonderfully inspiring fiction stor
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Barbara
Apr 03, 2010 Barbara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This inspiring, true story of a Catholic nanny who saves a Jewish boy during WWII also includes the stories of other individuals during the same time period, such as a Jewish doctor and an S.S. officer who is married to a Jewish woman. It is easy to follow and the narrative flows much like a good historical fiction novel;it doesn't come across like the retelling of the events in someone's life. It is, of course, very sad at times, but is tastefully done. There is a fine line between being realis ...more
Freyja Vanadis
Feb 19, 2012 Freyja Vanadis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, although it was a little schmaltzy in places. Reading about the Brits forcing the Jewish immigrants to turn away from Palestine and eventually back to France angered me though. I only vaguely know about the British involvement in Israel and trying to keep Jewish immigrants away from there, keeping them in glorified concentration camps. Since I don't really know anything about it, I'm not qualified to say whether they were right or wrong. But judging from the details this boo ...more
Amy
Aug 16, 2009 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book as a Goodreads winner. I have been reading many books and watching many films recently in regards to the Holocaust. This book was very powerful and captivating. To know the courage, fear, and determination of Gertruda, one woman, to save a Jewish child was inexplicably the truest form of human kindness a person can have. I was encaptured by the story and felt the emotions and pain that was involved within this book. I work for someone whose father is a Holocaust survivor. I ...more
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Ram Oren (רם אורן) is an Israeli author of mysteries and thrillers.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

More about Ram Oren...

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