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Destined to Live: A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  568 ratings  ·  81 reviews
What would you do if your whole life was shattered, and you were forced into hiding? This gripping, poignant memoir about coming of age during The Holocaust explores that question.

Pretty, carefree Aurelia Gamser (known today as Ruth Gruener) had an idyllic life in 1930s Poland -- until violent acts of anti-Semitism and the deportation of Jewish families to concentration ca
paperback, 156 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Scholastic (first published October 1st 2007)
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Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Easy to read. Reading level grade 6. I was drawn to the story. Picked the book up and finished it in a few hours. Worth your time to read. My heart goes out to all who suffered; perished or survived, in the Holocaust.
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book Destined to Live: A True Story of a Child in the Holocaust, was sad, but although it has a happy ending, there are still some disturbing parts. I just finished it so ideas are still fresh in my mind. The antagonist in this story is not only one particular person, Hitler, but all a group of people, the Nazis. Luncia, the main character in Destined to Live, was put through the hard times of World War II. Luncia, her mother, Barbara, and her father, Isaac (Tatu was his nickname meaning 'Da ...more
Julia Bickford
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: trimester-1
I enjoyed this book because it told me so much about what happened to the jews and what happened during the holocaust. It talks about a little girl and her family in a concentration camp. Until her and her family found away out. I liked this book because I have read a lot about the holocaust. After you read about it you feel bad what the kids and adult went through. I enjoy just learning about what happened back then.
Mary Clare
Poignant account of the author’s experience as a young Jewish girl who was successfully hidden in Poland during World War II. The odd lack of chapter breaks will make this more challenging than necessary for the intended audience.
Mahrysa York
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is about the Holocaust and the troubles that one girl and her family had to face during it. This is a very good book and I'd definitely suggest it.
Jan 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Cooper Hutfless



21 January 2016

Destined to Live by Ruth Gruener

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have to hide in small, tight spaces? Then have to sneak around the streets just to get a small piece of bread? In the book Destined to Live by Ruth Gruener it tells the story of how a young girl named Luncia survived the Holocaust. I read this book because I had never learned about the holocaust, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity.
In the beginning of th
Lauren H
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A young girl Luncia, now known as Ruth tells her tales of hiding to survive the Holocaust. Destined to Live is a true story of a young girl who survived the Holocaust with her family. She starts her story by telling about her early life and how she was well off and very blessed. However as the war progresses, she tells of how she has to give her bedroom to another family, how her fathers candy shop must close, how she loses her toys, dolls and beautiful dresses and the loss of her home. She is s ...more
Feb 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Destined to Live is a story of a young girl Luncia or now known as Ruth, and her life as a young Jewish girl in the Holocaust. Written by herself she tells of how she grew up having everything she needed, beautiful dolls, fancy dresses, piano lessons, and treats at her parents candy shop. But, as the war starts her life takes a turn for the worst. She is forced to move out of her room so others can come live in it. She then goes through akzia's or deportations and hides in uncomfortable situatio ...more
Feb 16, 2012 added it
Destined to Live, written by Ruth Gruener, has a well constructed plot of the life of a child during the Holocaust. The Holocaust is an authentic setting in this book and is very identifiable because of all the horror that happened during the Holocaust. The Characters are believable and consistent because they are real people and this is their experience of how they were destined to live. The engaging writing style describes near death experiences with imaginative words. This book is first perso ...more
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
This Scholastic book was written for younger readers but it is an excellent story for any age. Of course, the events are not detailed in this book as they would be if written for adult readers, but enough of Ruth Gruener's story was told to be interesting and informative. I am so glad that those who survived are now telling their stories. Whether people went to camps or survived by hiding, the courage these people exhibited was amazing. Read this book and discuss it with your 5th grade and above ...more
Sage. B
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No matter how sad your life is always look for happy things.
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Easy, quick read, but interesting story on survival.
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great book for anyone, but is age appropriate for a 3rd to 4th grader.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Have you ever questioned how holocaust survivors described the terrible events that happened just 70 years ago? Have you ever seen a survivor and wanted to question them about what their survival story was but be to shy to ask them? If you are ever are surrounded by a bubble with questions like these then this book will tell you a true story of a girl who survived the Holocaust called Ruth, and specific details about her survival story. This book is an autobiography since it is written by Ruth w ...more
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had read the Prisoner B-3087 by the same author and liked it — the story of Jack Greuner who survived 10 camps!

The copy I read is a Scholastic edition so I don’t know if there are differences in the editions. This one did read very simply. As much as I keep reading historical memoirs and historical fiction, I’m always surprised to get immersed in new situations — this one not of concentration camps or escape, but hiding. Unlike Anne Frank, Aurelia Gamser knew about what was going on around he
Oct 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am reading this to my young children to continue our conversation of human rights that we began by visiting civil war sites, MLK jr. Memorial, Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Museum.

Dachau, Anne Frank's House, and bombed shells in Berlin left a chill in my bones after I visited. It was a feeling I want my children to understand and act oppositely, with complete compassion, for their entire lives. I want them to always question authority respectfully. I want them to be brave like those that we r
Alfredo Barajas
Sep 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Destined to Live is a really good book to learn about the holocaust that took place in World War II. The writing was very effective and powerful which is what made me get me more interested into the book. The book was really adventurous because she kept moving from place to place. I would recommend this book to anybody that wants to lean about the holocaust and what people had to go through. The strengths of this book is the way things were exaggerated which gave alot of detail and emotion. Over ...more
Dec 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thought the book was very interesting with mixed emotions. Ruth lived a very happy life and had no worries at the time. That was until the deportation and the camps of Jewish families started happening by the Nazis. The Nazis would take everything from them such as valuable items. Everyday the family faced new things and would hide from the Nazis. Ruth struggled in her early life, but then she later starts a new life in America and still somewhat had struggles after the war. The story is very ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book makes me really sad and wish I was there to help out. This book has inspired me in different ways and told me no matter what or who you are you can always survive anything your going through at the moment. I am so glad that I picked this book out and got to read it. I recommend this book to all ages and grades. You'll never regret reading it and this is a kind of book you'll read over and over again and never get bored of.
Samantha King
Jan 02, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this book for a school project and it was a good option for that. If you would like to learn how a Holocaust survivor made it through this horrible tragedy this is a simple read and informational. If you would like to read her husbands story I would recommend it. It is called “Prison B-3087” by Alan Gratz (Yanek or Jack doesn’t come into Destined to Live until closer to the end). Hope you enjoy!
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Not as well written as Prisoner B-3087, but surely powerful. This is the true story, no novelization, of Luncia, who one day goes on to marry the hero of the companion book. She does a good job of detailing the mixed emotions of those committed to helping the Jews escape the Holocaust. So much so, that I found myself struggling to like the people who were helping her.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
My 11 year old son bought me this book for Christmas.
It is a great book for reading level 10-13!
My only real problem is a lack of timeline updates. It felt like years got glosses over and I couldn’t keep track of how old she was.
Otherwise a fantastic age appropriate introduction to this terrible time in history to young readers.
Kim Bingham
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
A memorable book about the holocaust better for the comprehension of 5th/6th grade. Some of the content may not be suitable for younger kids. This story helps a younger reader empathize with the plight of a girl of similar age who lived through a terrible time in history. Overall a good read to include excerpts in a study of the Holocaust.
Mellanie C
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was a true story of a girl who survived the Holocaust by being hidden by her neighbors. I felt so bad for young Ruth, or Luncia, as she was known then. What I find even more interesting is that there is a second book, featuring the boy who would grow up to become Ruth's husband.
This was a great read. It's short enough for younger readers to learn about what went on during the Holocaust. Not too many overpowering details but just enough to keep it interesting for readers. Thank you for sharing your story!
Joe Holman
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book for young people to read. A good way to remind themselves that they have it lots better than the author did as a child. Her simple statement about her kindergarten class is powerful and haunting. Let us never forget so that things like this never happen again.
Thomas Tremel
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
It was a good book. It was very suspenseful and kept wanting to read more. this book would be a good book for someone who likes to read nonfiction and wants to mix it up a little. I give it four stars because it is really good but still not five star worthy.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Maya by: My teacher
Shelves: love-it
WOW, that really shoked me. I am in dibelief that she could really portray her feelings like that. I HAVE to say that was like one of the most moving books I have ever read. WOW!
Sai Sruthi
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book that touched my heart way back in 8th grade.
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another good book for students about the Holocaust, perhaps for a bit older students (upper elementary or middle schoolers?).
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Ruth Gruener is a Holocaust survivor. She married Holocaust survivor Jack Gruener and they both currently live in New York, America.

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