Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “My Mother's Secret” as Want to Read:
My Mother's Secret
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

My Mother's Secret

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  4,938 Ratings  ·  633 Reviews
A novel based on a true story, a mother and daughter risk their lives to provide shelter to two families and a German soldier--all unbeknownst to each other--in a tiny two-room house in Sokal, Poland, during the Nazi invasion.

Based on a true story, MY MOTHER'S SECRET is a profound, captivating, and ultimately uplifting tale intertwining the lives of two Jewish families i
...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published September 5th 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about My Mother's Secret, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Shivangi Kulshrestha There is no clear indication of what happened to the baby..I guess we will never know, but given it was the nazis, they probably killed the baby.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Esther
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Angela M
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Once in a while a book comes along that makes you want to be a better person . This is a moving , beautifully written novel based on the true story of Franciszka Halamajowa and her daughter , Helena , who saved Jewish families in Poland during the German occupation . It's impossible to describe the unbelievable courage and humanity of these women who risked their lives for others because they believed it was the decent thing to do . It is a small book with enormous heart and hope and I cannot re ...more
Barb
Mar 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Having read this inspiring book in one sitting, I am overwhelmed with emotion and hope. This fictional account of a true story of two women's heroic actions to save two Jewish families and a German deserter during WWII restores and deepens my belief that there are angels among us. And I'm thankful that on a whim I picked up this short, poetically written novel because I've needed to have my faith restored with all the turmoil and tragedy in our world. I've read so many Holocaust novels, but this ...more
Theresa
I read this book in two sittings but I made myself take a couple of days before attempting to review. It is one of the hardest ratings I've ever had to make a decision on. (not the written review itself, I'm simply saying the number of stars it deserves) I'm going to call a spade a spade here. If I was an English Prof. and I was grading this manuscript for a creative writing class I think I might have sent it back for many, many revisions. As it is written I would have had to assume the intended ...more
Ghazaleh
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
از داستان هایی این چنینی که از زندگی واقعی افراد الهام گرفته شده خیلی لذت میبرم.
نویسنده خیلی خوب تونسته بود با اون حجم کم داستان هارو به هم مرتبط کنه.
Jackie
This book is one of the most beautiful I've ever read. While it's set in the time of the Holocaust, there is love, joy, compassion and profound bravery. This is a novel, but it is based on real people, a woman and her daughter, who saved 15 people from death despite the many difficulties and sorrows of their own. This will make you remember how good people can be, how amazingly resilient they are, and what even just a couple of people can do to truly change the world. This book renewed my faith ...more
Vastaa gorgij
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
عشق تنها چیزی است که آن را بیشتر از وقتی دادی دوباره دریافت میکنی...
چه کتاب تلخ و غم انگیزی،نفرین به جنگ و خودخواهی آدمها...
این کتابمن رو با خودش برد به عمقهولوکاست و فجایع وحشتناکیکه دولت ها به سر مردم بی گناه آوردن!
اما با خوندن سرگذشت هلنا و مادر فداکارش فهمیدم که هنوز انسان های قوی و جسور وجود دارن.
این کتاب به حدی شاهکاربود که من هنوز هم بغض دارم از خوندنش
نمیدونم چقدر ادبیات جنگ میخونید اما این کتاب جزو عالی ترینهاشه
...more
Carole P. Roman
Dec 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
With simple prose, J.L Witterrick has written a stunning novel of bravery and sacrifice during World War II. Franciszka is a Polish cook with two children married to a brutal Ukrainian seduced by Hitler's promise of prosperity. She leaves him to move back to Poland to live with her children, selling eggs to the locals. Like a diary, we watch the horror of the war unfold and new characters are introduced. There is a poor Jewish family, a wealthy Jewish doctor and his family as well as a war weary ...more
Carina Carvalho
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
O retrato de uma das alturas mais vergonhosas da humanidade. Ainda assim no meio de tanto ódio se encontram históricas de força e coragem. A história de várias famílias com a sorte de terem conhecido uma simples camponesa que lhes muda a vida.
Shaghayegh Asady
كتاب خيلي سريع پيش ميره،اصلا دوس ندارم اين سبك رو
دوس دارم كتاب جزيئات داشته باشه ولي اين خيلي خيلي خلاصه بود
Diane S ☔
Jul 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although the writing is very simple and spare, the subject matter is anything but. It is not often that one reads a book about the holocaust and finds it life affirming, appalling too, but that is not the overall tone of the book.

Taking her daughter and her son, leaving her husband, an avowed supporter of Hitler, Francisca returns to Poland from Germany. The Germans invasion of Poland touches their town of Sokal and soon Jewish policies are enforced and all are moved to the ghetto.

She would ev
...more
Jesse Kimmel-Freeman
Having grown up listening to stories of the Holocaust and the things that people had to do to escape the brutality of the Nazis, when I was approached to review this book I knew I had to. There's something that is amazingly powerful and beautiful about the stories that come out of this moment in history.

I must say that this book follows suits of all the other stories I've heard or read. It is written in a way that seems to flow through the mind as you read the words. It is beautifully crafted.

I
...more
Carla
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
A wonderful "true" story of a woman and her daughter who harboured Jewish families at their farmhouse during Poland's occupation from Nazi Germany. The lady, and her daughter were not fictional. The story however is somewhat fictionalized. You'd think from the reviews this book should be, or was the top book of 2013. It's a heartwarming story, has no unique aspect from literally thousands of stories along this topic in print, and is written by a woman, who writes like she is a young teen. Chapte ...more
Evalunasylva
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2gm, 2018, bp, real, fav
Maravilhoso, comovente. Uma história de muita coragem em tempos de guerra, medo e sacrifício.
Baseado em factos verídicos. Lido num dia.
Stephanie
4.5/5

Dang, this little book packs quite a punch!

My Mother’s Secret is a Holocaust novel based on a true story. Franciszka is a Polish woman living in the small town of Sokal, Poland, with her teenage daughter, Helena. When Poland gets invaded by the Germans, the two women hide two Jewish families and a defecting German soldier in their tiny home, all without any of them knowing about each other. For more than a year, Franciszka must keep this secret and outsmart everyone to keep them all alive.

F
...more
Fabi
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Que livro fabuloso! Li de uma só vez! Com capítulos pequenos como eu gosto!
iamjenai
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Mother's Secret tells the story of Franciszka Halamajowa and her daughter Helena. While Franciszka and Helena were real Holocaust heroines, most of the characters and events depicted in the story are fictional. During Hitler's invasion in Poland, Franciszka and Helena hid two Jewish families and a young German soldier all in their home for more than a year. Franciszka's son also helped the Jews during this difficult time but later met his death while transporting a wagon full of supplies to t ...more
Allyson
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
It was a good story but short, so I am not sure the day-to-day issues were fully addressed. This was kind of like the "Cliff's Notes" version of a longer novel (if there were a longer novel to read).
Remy Benoit
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
War is ugly.
It is destruction.
It is betrayal.
It is showing up no matter how terrified you are.
It is our young sacrificed to a failure of diplomacy.
It is our young tested beyond anything rational.
It is our civilian population ravaged, plundered, and raped.
It is rotting corpses; leveled homes; ended and maimed lives.
It is propaganda; it is enemies; it is starvation; it is often torture and murder.
It is the worst of us, killing each other to bleed into the ground; to feed rats with
the dead.
It is t
...more
Linde
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own
Het geheim van mijn moeder is een emotioneel boek dat zich afspeelt tijdens de Holocaust. Ik was erg benieuwd naar dit boek omdat dit boek een erg brede doelgroep aanspreekt. Al deze ‘hoofdstukjes’ geschreven in een soort dagboekvorm en het verhaal is gesplitst in vier perspectieven: die van Helena, de joodse Bronek en Mikolaj en de Duitse soldaat Vilheim. Deze personen zijn op de een of andere manier allemaal aan elkaar verbonden met als belangrijkste persoon: Franciszka.

Het boek begint uit het
...more
A B
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I love the quiet, minimal tone of this book. It's as if I am in a dark room with the narrators whispering softly.

The story has four narrators in a fictionalized retelling of a true event - a Polish woman who helps her mother hide Jewish neighbors during World War II; a Polish Jew who tries desperately to save his family; the young son of a beloved Jewish doctor who hides with his family; and a German conscientious objector who is looking for a way out of his conscripted service.

The action is spa
...more
Lisa
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
This is the second amazing book suitable for young adults and adults, alike, set during the Holocaust, I have read recently. The other was The Boy on the Wooden Box. But, I liked this one even more! It reads like poetry, has simple, profound truths scattered throughout, and is based on a true story of two real-life heroines. My favorite quote from the book, "I always thought that courageous people were those who were not afraid. Meeting Franciszka and her daughter, I realize that courageous peop ...more
Sarah Jessup
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully impacting novel that will leave you changed.
Maartje De Groot
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Een stukje uit het boek:
'Mijn moeder is de ongelofelijkste vrouw die ik ken.
Ze heeft een zacht hart, maar een sterke wil.
Ze is meevoelend, maar standvastig in haar overtuigingen.
Ze is een liefhebbende moeder, en toch riskeerde ze mijn leven om anderen te redden.
Ze verloor haar zoon in het conflict tussen de joden en de Duitsers, toch koesterde ze tegen geen van beiden bitterheid.
Ze hield twintig maanden lang twee joodse gezinnen en een Duitse soldaat verborgen en vroeg er niets voor terug.'

Aanr
...more
Leslie
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a brief but powerful book. Based on a true story, the author presents the story creatively. The brief chapters make this a book easily enjoyed by adults and young adults alike. Highly recommended.
Miranda Lynn
My Mother's Secret is a fictional account of the true story of a mother and daughter who lived in Poland during WWII and saved the lives of 15 Jews and one German soldier by hiding them in her house. The story behind this book is extraordinary, and it is refreshing to read a Holocaust story that focuses on the amazing strength and perseverance of the people who helped the survivors survive.

Even though I gave it only 2 stars, there were a few things about this book that I liked. I thought that t
...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
My Mother’s Secret : Based on a True Holocaust Story by J.L. Witterick is a fictionalized account of an actual woman who hid 15 Jews (and a German soldier) in her small house, located in a small Polish town, during the Nazi invasion of World War II. While the lines in the book between fact and fiction are blurred, it is still a fascinating read.

The book is divided into five sections, each told from a different perspective. The first and last sections are told by Helena who finds herself in love
...more
Adelaide Silva
3,5* devido a um erro tipográfico uma parte importante da história ficou imperceptível. A parte que consegui ler, está escrita de forma simples e cativante.
Savvy
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MY MOTHER’S SECRET
A very moving tribute to the true goodness and fortitude of the human soul!

I was a bit leery to read another book which was set in the ghastly and hideous time of the Holocaust. I have read so many and my heart was wrenched by the many descriptive narratives, both fictional and non-fictional. Sophie’s Choice had me emotionally tattered... Night, by Elie Wiesel shocked and overwhelmed me by the inhumanity of man; then Schindler’s List emptied my tissue box!...just to mention a
...more
Ahmadreza
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
راز مادرم، روایتی متفاوت از روزهای است که انسانها راحتتر میمردند. جنگ، قاتل بیهمتای محبت، انسان ها را تغییر میدهد؛ چه دلهای بخشنده و مهربانیهایی که در جنگ، به تیرگی دود برخواسته از تانکها گراییدهاند. در این میان، انسانهای انگشت شماری بودهاند که باورها و انسانیت خود را به دیو جنگ نباختهاند. کتاب راز مادرم روابت یکی از این افراد است.
کتاب چهار راوی دارد؛ هر یک از کودکی خود مختصر میگویند و به نقطه تلاقی میرسند. راوی اصلی داستان، هلنا است. داستان با روایتهایی از کودکی او آغاز میشود. از جو دوقطبی حاکم
...more
Cheryl
Aug 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I have always had a fascination with reading stories about the Holocaust. The stories that these people have to tell about what they endured and how they survived is amazing. Of course it was not just the people hiding but people like Franciszka and Helena that were the true heroes. They risked everything to protect these people. As evident in this book and as a reminder that not all of the people affected were Jews. Some Germans as well sought protection. Everyone in this book were great and ha ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Thief of Auschwitz
  • Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps
  • How Huge the Night
  • All the Light There Was
  • What Papa Told Me
  • The 23rd Psalm: A Holocaust Memoir
  • Winter in the Morning: A Young Girl's Life in the Warsaw Ghetto and Beyond, 1939-1945
  • Jacob's Oath
  • Dancing With the Enemy: My Family's Holocaust Secret
  • Holocaust Scream
  • Worlds Torn Asunder: a Holocaust Survivor's Memoir of Hope
  • The Witness House: Nazis and Holocaust Survivors Sharing a Villa during the Nuremberg Trials
  • The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest's Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1.5 Million Jews
  • The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery
  • Boy 30529: A Memoir
  • Here There Is No Why
  • I Shall Live: Surviving the Holocaust Against All Odds
  • The Short, Strange Life of Herschel Grynszpan: A Boy Avenger, a Nazi Diplomat, and a Murder in Paris

Fiction Deals

  • Mercy Among the Children
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Darkness There: Selected Tales by Edgar Allan Poe [Kindle in Motion]
    $1.99 $0.99
  • An Empty Cup
    $3.99 $1.99
  • I Like You Just Fine When You're Not Around
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Abby's Journey
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Underground River
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Word Game
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Fraulein M.
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Sister of Mine
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Bury What We Cannot Take
    $5.99 $2.99
  • Chomp
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Searching for Grace Kelly
    $15.99 $1.99
  • Bricking It
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Fifth of March: A Story of the Boston Massacre (Great Episodes)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • Starfish
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Thunder and Rain
    $9.99 $2.99
  • All Grown Up
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Light of Hidden Flowers
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Olive's Ocean
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Ecstasy
    $13.99 $1.99
  • The Elephant Keeper's Daughter
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Virtues of Oxygen
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Home to Harmony (Harmony #1)
    $11.14 $1.99
  • Dog Crazy
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Towers of Tuscany
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Noticer: Sometimes, all a person needs is a little perspective
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Who We Were Before
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Reluctant Midwife (Hope River, #2)
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Sin No More (Reverend Curtis Black)
    $10.39 $1.99
  • The List
    $7.99 $2.99
  • Lost & Found
    $5.74 $1.99
  • A Watershed Year
    $3.99 $0.99
  • Savage
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Designer
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Novice: A Story of True Love
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Go Away Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Leaving of Things
    $4.49 $1.99
  • Train I Ride
    $6.99 $1.99
  • We'll Always Have Paris: Stories
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Hidden Flower
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Greyhound
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances
    $9.99 $1.99
  • This Burns My Heart
    $10.99 $1.99
  • The Journeys of Socrates
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Annie on My Mind
    $9.99 $1.20
  • An Absent Mind
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Book of Ruth
    $18.99 $1.99
  • Smoke
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner
    $7.99 $1.99
  • The Covenant
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Digging In
    $5.99 $2.99
  • The Confessions of Catherine de Medici
    $11.99 $12.99
  • The Traveling Vampire Show
    $3.99 $0.99
  • The Long Way Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Going Home
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Girl in the Glass
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Super Sad True Love Story
    $11.99 $2.99
  • Prayers and Lies
    $14.99 $1.99
  • Go the F**k to Sleep
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Fat Chance
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Just a Couple of Days
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Boleyn Inheritance (The Tudor Court, #3)
    $12.99 $2.99
  • The Daughter of Union County
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Fighting Ground
    $6.49 $1.99
  • The Sugar Men
    $3.99 $1.99
  • The Last Storyteller: A Novel Of Ireland
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing
    $5.99 $1.99
  • Vengeance Road
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Every Note Played
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Asymmetry
    $13.99 $3.99
  • The Rules of Magic
    $11.99 $4.99
  • Mrs. Fletcher
    $12.99 $3.99
  • The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go
    $11.99 $3.99
  • Ungifted
    $7.99 $1.99
  • Julie of the Wolves
    $6.99 $1.99
  • Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Stiltsville: A Novel
    $10.99 $1.99
  • To the Bright Edge of the World
    $11.99 $2.99
  • The Patriots
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Flicker of Old Dreams
    $9.99 $1.99
  • All the Good Parts
    $3.99 $1.99
  • At Risk
    $17.99 $1.99
  • The Food of Love
    $3.99 $1.99
  • So Long, See You Tomorrow
    $11.99 $2.99
  • A Scattered Life
    $3.99 $1.99
  • Every Ugly Word
    $3.99 $1.99
  • A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Desert God (Ancient Egypt, #5)
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy (Bloody Jack, #1)
    $8.99 $2.99
  • The Woman Who Breathed Two Worlds (Malayan #1)
    $3.99 $1.99
  • An Amish Buggy Ride
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Old Yeller
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Secret Healer (The Secret Healer #1)
    $3.49 $0.99
  • Elizabeth Street
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Gates of Rome (Emperor, #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane
    $4.99 $1.99
  • It Is Well
    $4.99 $1.99
  • A Sinful Calling (Reverend Curtis Black #13)
    $9.99 $2.99
  • On a Cold Dark Sea
    $4.99 $1.99
  • My Lady Viper (Tales from the Tudor Court #1)
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Kings of Broken Things
    $4.99 $1.99
  • Edward Adrift
    $4.49 $1.99
  • The Restaurant Critic's Wife
    $3.99 $1.99
“If you choose to do the right thing, it's a conscious decision at first. Then it becomes second nature. You don't have to think about what is right because doing the right thing becomes who you are, like a reflex. Your actions with time become your character” 7 likes
“How do you move when you feel like you can't go on.? You think of someone who needs you more.” 6 likes
More quotes…