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THE CRATE: A Story Of War, A Murder, And Justice

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  243 ratings  ·  64 reviews
"Evocative, and inspiring ... So much more than a true crime." - Steve Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of NO STONE UNTURNED

After surviving the horrors of the Holocaust – in ghettos, on death marches, and in concentration camps – a young couple seeks refuge in Canada. They settle into a new life, certain that the terrors of their past are behind them. They buil
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Kindle Edition
Published June 19th 2018 by WildBlue Press
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  243 ratings  ·  64 reviews


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Valerity (Val)
A very well told story about a family’s lake cottage in Canada- their peaceful getaway from the workaday world that they’ve made for themselves, after starting over in Canada once surviving the Holocaust. They find their tranquil place has suddenly gone from a precious memory, to everyone’s newest nightmare after a crate is found with the remains of a murdered body hidden in the crawlspace underneath the cottage. . As they struggle to come to terms with it as police investigate, they wonder if v ...more
Sharon Hart-Green
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I found this memoir to be a thoroughly engaging read, and was hooked after the first page or two. In fact, I read the entire book in two or three sittings. The author deftly manages to tell two stories in a seamless fashion: the grizzly discovery of a dead body hidden in a crate beneath the family cottage north of Toronto, and how the trauma of the discovery reawakened the buried memories of her family's survival of the Holocaust in Hungary many years earlier. I highly recommend this book for re ...more
Margaret Sankey
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vadas' parents were Hungarian Jews who escaped the Holocaust as young adults, then fled Communist Hungary with the author's elder brother in a backpack. Their carefully insulated community of friends, all marked by their experiences, allowed them to build a new life in Toronto, relentlessly shielding their kids from danger and risk. In 2011, though, the family found out that the handyman they'd hired because of his Eastern European last name and friendly personality had brutally murdered his ex ...more
Bev Walkling
4.5 stars (rounded up to 5)

Thank you to #NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

First of all, I felt very honoured to be able to read a copy of this powerful book. It is hard to categorize in some ways because it can fit into several different genres as the title leads one to expect. At different points throughout the book we learn about the experiences of the author's Hungarian parents as they lived not only through the Holocaust but also thr
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Fishface
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really, really loved this book...

This is not one, but a collection of powerful crime stories, braided together by coincidence, chaos or fate into the author's life. We not only see the progress of all these other people's life stories but we get to see how the author herself makes the transition from being the protected daughter of a loving family, living a comfortable life, to someone face to face with true evil, seeing the largest crime in recorded human history through the eyes of her paren
...more
Good Book Fairy
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read
4

The Crate is a beautifully written true story written by the daughter of Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivors. This read was not what I initially expected. The title can be misleading, because the story is much more of a memoir versus a typical true crime story. It reads more like a novel than nonfiction. This book is actually the weaving together of several stories that move back and forth between the present and the past. The author talks about her present-day life with her family, after movi
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Marilyn
Oct 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Crate: A Story of War, A Murder, and Justice by Deborah Vadas Levison was two stories linked together by family, love and understanding. I have to admit that it was a little confusing when I first began reading this book but by the end it all fit together perfectly.

Deborah Vadas Levison grew up in Toronto, Canada. She was the daughter of parents that survived the Holocaust. Growing up, Deborah was aware of her parent's accent and peculiarities. She knew that her parents had grown up in Hung
...more
Shayla
Jan 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fascinating story, well actually several fascinating stories, all woven together quite seamlessly through Deborah Vadas Levison's narration and her need for self-discovery. While uncovering the truth behind a horrific murder that shook her family to its core, Levison delves into her family's Holocaust story and the unimaginable experiences that shaped her parents, and thus she and her brother, to be the people they are today. Levison's storytelling makes you feel that you are in the ro ...more
Jennifer Passaretti
Wonderful story. I started reading this because it was recommended by a friend and I wasn’t disappointed. True story that was written by the daughter of Hungarian Jewish Holocaust survivors. The mystery aspect (crate with the remains of a woman was found at her parents’ summer cottage) made this book a page turner. As the crate mystery unfolds, the author also unveils more and more about her parents and grandparents during the holocaust. Again, this was a true story and the murder took place in ...more
Steve Jackson
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: true-crime
This is not your typical true crime book. The author weaves the story of her parents' experiences as Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust with what happens when a body is found on their property on a Canadian lake many years later. Both poignant and chilling.
Natasha
Oct 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-up
This book was just bad,really bad. The whole book was just all over the place and l had to give up on it.
Irene
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a heart wrenching true crime, but it reads like a novel. There is no boring police procedural, there is just real people, raw emotions, and horrible tragedy. The author describes in great detail her parents survival during the holocaust, their hopes and dreams of a new life and owning a small lake front property of their own, and the shocking murder that touched their lives when a body was discovered on their land. This was an incredible read. 5 stars

I received an advance copy for revie
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Alicia Smock
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Canada became the safe haven for a young Jewish couple who survived the horrors of the Holocaust. Canada is where they were able to create a family, build a cottage on a lake in Muskoka, and enjoy all of the wonderful things life had to offer. Yet when they thought all terrors were in the past with the war, a horrifying discovery is uncovered. In the crawl space under their cabin, a crate was found and within it, the remains of an unknown human being. Deborah Vadas Levison, daughter of the Holoc ...more
Annette Jordan
A fascinating and memorable book that combines the horrors of life under the Nazi regime in Hungary with a modern day true crime , this book may seem like a strange blend but it is one that works well. It is clearly a very personal work for the author, as not only does it involve her family history but it also describes a horrific crime that came to light on her family's summer property. The book opens with a shocking phone call to the author, where her brother reveals that a crate containing hu ...more
Leslie
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book about how the past and how it can shape our present even without our awareness. Although the murder at the author's parents cabin and her parents' Holocaust experience aren't directly related (a fact that seems to have really bothered some reviewers that I feel are missing the point), the journey of learning about her parents' past and unearthing the truth about the murder worked really well together for me in this book. It's easy to push the violence and horror that lives i ...more
Jill Crosby
A very compelling read, braiding together the Holocaust, a modern-day murder, and a search for belonging. I found the themes fitting together in kind of a forced way, playing the murder off the Holocaust survivors, ricocheting back to searching for a sense of self and belonging, retuning to the Holocaust, and back through the maze again.
Both major stories—The Holocaust and the murder—are independently vividly told. It’s just that the one doesn’t quite compliment the other as I think the author
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Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)
Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book. As always an honest review.

*My rating is actually 4.5 stars but since there's not half stars, I always round up.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the book. I've already recommended it to people, even before I had finished reading it. I will try my best to do the book and the people the justice it deserves in my review.

From the beginning I was blown away by the gorgeous poetic writing. I was captivated from beginni
...more
Amanda (Books, Life and Everything Nice)
Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a copy of the book. As always an honest review.

*My rating is actually 4.5 stars but since there's not half stars, I always round up.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the book. I've already recommended it to people, even before I had finished reading it. I will try my best to do the book and the people the justice it deserves in my review.

From the beginning I was blown away by the gorgeous poetic writing. I was captivated from beginni
...more
Pam
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Crate: A Story of War, A Murder, and Justice is a non-fiction written by Deborah Vadas Levison. This is a Holocaust memoir of her parents combined with a true life crime and murder mystery. It is definitely a different way to tell a Holocaust story but it is effective.
Deborah Vadas grew up in Canada with her parents, older brother, and maternal Grandmother. She had always felt a little left out as she was Jewish but not raised Jewish. She was also raised in an Hungarian atmosphere since her
...more
Paul
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fascinating story of a murder with the body buried below the author's cottage. In the course of the book, the reader sees the slow unspooling of the Holocaust secrets of the author's parents, including time in the concentration camps; the assessment of what a Jew is--the author is Hungarian, Canadian, American, but ultimately Jewish, even though growing up she barely even knows what this means. Also some nice discussion of synchronicity: How descendants of Holocaust survivors reflect the traum ...more
Sam Heffer
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When “The Crate” is found at her family’s summer cottage, Deborah Vadas Levison feels compelled to tell not one, but two important stories. At first, they may only appear to share the cottage setting, but as Ms. Levison unpacks both her family’s history of Holocaust survival, and the cottage crime victim’s own life story, the reader sees commonalities in both families’ experiences. Members of each have encountered the worst evils of human behaviour. Ms. Levison paints scenes with meticulous deta ...more
Melissa
Jul 28, 2018 rated it liked it
THE CRATE: A Story Of War, A Murder, And Justice examines man’s seemingly limitless capacity for evil... but also, his capacity for good.

The crate by Deborah Vadas Levison was not what I had initially expected. This book is a true crime novel regarding a murder in a small Canadian town. The narrator is the daughter of holocaust survivors. The author weaves an intriguing story of love and loss. I enjoyed the backstory of the author learning her heritage.

There is a true love woven into this work
...more
Ldw39
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, I just finished this book and simply had to come back up from the lake to the little cottage we’ve rented for a couple of weeks where,(ironically?) I started and finished it.

I don’t know where to begin - first of all I couldn’t put it down. There wasn’t a moment, whether when retelling the “true crime” story, or the story of herself or her parents where I felt there was something missing or something extraneous.

I found myself marvelling at how brave she had to be to to lay herself bare as
...more
Rochelle Markowitz
This book is spellbinding. As Deborah Levison weaves together two tales of tragedy or three, actually, her father and mother's horrid experience surviving the Holocaust; and the murder of a young woman whose remains were found at the Vadas' summer cottage. Levison uses flashbacks of her fathers and mothers experience barely coming out alive of the Nazi regime and the horrific murder of an innocent young woman, who was a daughter, sister and mother. Levison amazingly integrates the murder victim ...more
Ashley
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book. I really enjoyed learning about the authors parents. I love reading about WW2, yet I hate it just as much. The fact that this author had great parents is...... miraculous! I don’t know very many people now days that could come back normal from what the Jews and the “undesirables” went through in those concentration camps.
But this book is not only about the authors parents, (that was just my favorite part) It’s about the murder of a woman that died tragically. A woman that was taken
...more
Lauren G
Jan 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An extremely thoughtful and unique perspective on the human condition in terms of violence, victimization, healing, fate, and perseverance in the face of adversity, all through the lens of a modern day heinous criminal act that evokes feelings of past crimes against humanity. Ms. Vadas Levison is an incredible author with the ability to seamlessly weave the past and the present together in a way that is entertaining and allows readers to deeply consider the constructs of time and destiny. I high ...more
Lynne Stickle
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Crate: A Story of War, a Murder And Justice is the beautifully written true story of Levison's family's survival of the concentration camps and ghettos in Europe during WWII. She writes lovingly about her parents and the peaceful life they built in Canada after the war....and a murder that rocked that peace. This book tears at your heart, depicts the tender relationship between parents and children and the resilience of the human spirit.
Pat Pullum
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This true story tells of the author's parents settling in Canada and having a home, to live a life of tranquility after their traumatic time during the Holocaust.
Then they discover a sealed crate under their crawlspace which changes their lives forever. They get embroiled in questions, accusations and fear, something they thought they had left behind them.
The first few chapters of this book ramble and are difficult to follow, but if you do stick with it, then the story has intrigue.
Mjdrean
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These poor souls. After surviving the brutality of Hilter's campaign that was the Holocaust and making it to Canada, the author's parents carve out a peaceful new life in which to raise their children. They thought the horrors that one person could inflict on another human being were behind them. Wrong. This is both the story of their road to survival and the discovery of the crate beneath their cottage. The crate held one last atrocity.
Colleen Winter
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this story over the summer and continue to be haunted by how well she depicted Muskoka but also how well she captured the lives of her holocaust survivor parents. An amazing tale of true crime, atrocities and coincidences in people's lives. Vadas Levison does a great job of bringing together her current life, the horrors of the holocaust, and the discovery of a body at their cottage into a poignant, thought provoking story.
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