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In the Warsaw Ghetto

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  147 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Ala Silberman is training to be a dancer when the Germans invade Warsaw. Together with almost half a million other Jews, Ala and her family are forced into the ghetto, where she struggles with feelings of guilt at her comparative privileged circumstances. Then Ala's enigmatic teacher forms a dance company with the intention of putting on a performance for the ghetto's resi ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 30th 2019 by Cheyne Walk
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Angela M
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
This is the third book by Glenn Haybittle that I have read about the Holocaust and each of them was powerful in its own way. I found this one to be more tense and more brutal and equally as important in spite of how hard it is to read at times. The novel depicts the Polish Jews who were forced to live hungry, under horrible conditions, taken from their homes, many of whom were herded to death camps and many who were randomly shot dead on the street. In alternating narratives, this horri
Elyse  Walters
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If I were going to choose two words to leave with other readers considering this book - which I highly recommend....

This is an unforgettable story... with unforgettable characters, hauntingly beautifully written, intimate, filled with bloodshed, hate, and tears....

This is the fifth book I’ve read by Glenn Haybittle. For anyone who has not read Haybittle - I honestly can’t recommend him enough!!! As far as I’m concerned he’s one of the best authors writing about WWII today
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've noticed recently that Holocaust novels have begun appearing in my local supermarket, testament to how popular they've become. The blurbs often speak of the power of love and the triumph of good over evil. But let's be honest for a time in the middle of the 20th century evil lorded it over good, even if that evil often took the form of turning a blind eye. It was a time when racist malevolence raged with barely any hindrance. I worry all these Holocaust novels with a fairy story at their hea ...more
4.5 (rounded to 5 stars)

Wow, this book really exceeded my expectations. I secured an ARC of In the Warsaw Ghetto several months ago and let it languish on my TBR list for a long time as I went through a book slump, especially in terms of World War II stories. I think the best compliment I can give it is that it has revived my interest in learning even more about the Holocaust.

I’d say the first half of the book was a bit slow for me, especially since it took me a while to warm up to the main char
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
Can I catch my breath? Can I stop crying? After finishing this book, not tonight!

Told through the eyes of aspiring dancer, Ala and her uncle Max, a Jewish man that converted to Catholicism,  In the Warsaw Ghetto is an unflinching WWII story. Living conditions are horrendous as the Nazis cram more and more Jewish people into the ghetto resulting in overcrowding, malnutrition and disease.

I really enjoyed that Glenn Haybittle uses a teenager and an adult in the telling of the experiences in the
Mar 24, 2020 rated it liked it
3 "distanced by sepia" stars !!!

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and Cheyne Walk books for a copy of an e-book in exchange for my honest review. This was released in July 2019.

This is a book about an upper middle class Jewish family living and trying to survive through the years of the Warsaw Ghetto from 1941 and 1943. The book is told through alternating perspectives of uncle and niece. They are very good friends and kindred spirits, both lovers of the arts and deeply sensitive souls. We, a
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most dramatic historical fiction novels I have read this summer. It is a quick read because of the intensity and it does not hold back!
Through Ala and Max, the reader is thrown on a wild ride in the ghetto of Warsaw. The authenticity of the characters in this novel is unparalleled, and their thoughts throughout the entire novel are real and meaningful, yet heart-breaking. The graphic and gory scenes experienced and seen by Ala and Max punctuates the scale of the nightmare end
Jun 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A very moving story of what the Jews in Warsaw went through under the yoke of the Nazis. Initially we see the two central characters largely in terms of their aspirations for the future. Ala, eighteen, wants to be a professional ballet dancer and is on the right path. Max, fifty and unmarried, feels himself to be something of a failure. Both however find a sense of purpose in the deplorable conditions of the ghetto, which are vividly evoked. Then the deportations to Treblinka begin and for the r ...more
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One question that sometimes arises about the Holocaust is, why didn't the Jews put up a fight. The answer to this is simple: they did, whenever the opportunity arose. And the most famous fight they put up was in the Warsaw Ghetto when they repelled the German army for a month. This novel details life in the ghetto through the eyes of a middle aged man estranged from his family and faith and a young aspiring ballerina of a well-to-do family. For as long as possible both Max and Ala try to cling t ...more
Jun 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ww2

Wow, this book was certainly some read. I have read lots of books set during World War II and this has been one of the most gripping and haunting stories I have ever encountered. In the Warsaw Ghetto focuses on two central characters of Ala and Max and their experiences in the Warsaw Ghetto. I was enthralled from start to finish, it's an epic story that I read in one day. I really enjoyed this book apart from one thing, the amount of sexual reference. I felt that they were really unnecessary and
Bev Walkling
Many thanks to Cheyne Walk, Glenn Haybittle, and #NetGalley for allowing me to read this book. What follows is my honest review.

Many years ago I read and was fascinated by the book Mila 18 by Leon Uris which through fiction gave me insight into what life was like in the Warsaw ghetto and how some chose to fight rather than give in to the demands of the Nazis. About two years ago I had the opportunity to visit Warsaw myself - to walk on Mila and see the stone markers in memory of those who fought
Aga Durka
Aug 30, 2019 rated it liked it
“In the Warsaw Ghetto” is a heartbreaking, horrific, and truly unsettling story of Jewish people’s lives in the Warsaw ghetto during WW2. I have read several fiction and non-fiction books, describing the life and death situations in the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazis regime, and every time I am equally heartbroken and emotionally drained after finishing each of these books. This novel was no different when it comes to my feelings of sadness and disgust at the atrocities that the Jewish people ex ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ww2
"In The Warsaw Ghetto" by Glenn Haybittle. A work of novel fiction basses on historical fact. All of mankind faces death..... Some without warning; and some by horrendous torture. I have read a good many books about WWII and the atrocities committed by the Germans . . . But none set by the bar of this book! Ala Silberman is a young woman...child training to be a dancer when the Nazis take over Poland. And, even in the depths of hell inside the ghetto, people make art, cook and dream....make love ...more
May 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first thing I have to say after finishing this book is that it wasn't a easy read and it took me long time to finish the book, longer than I expected. But also I have to mention that the topic and setting of it isn't the easy one.
The story is about two Jewish family members, Ala and her uncle Max, and it takes place in occupied by Nazis Poland during exportation Jews to Treblinka.
Ala Silberman is a young girl training to become a dancer when she and her family are forced to moved to the Ghe
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well written and well researched novel about The Warsaw Ghetto from its establishment in 1940 until its liquidation in 1943. The characters are alive on every page and the steadily growing tension becomes almost unbearable. There's none of the syrupy sentimentality or chick lit froth that is often deployed to sweeten Holocaust novels here. And the ending is movingly powerful. ...more
McKenzie Allyshia
Aug 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
If I had to sum up my entire review into two words, I believe I would have to go with "devastatingly beautiful". This story is absolutely haunting, but the writing is absolutely incredible. I found myself in tears often. Each time I thought there might be a light at the end of the tunnel or that things may turn better, it was completely extinguished. All hope dashed. Yet, you find yourself still with that tiny spark.

I cannot stress enough how great I thought the writing was. The author did an i
Shirley McAllister
I really like the WWII historical fiction genre. This book was very well written, held your attention, had great characters and told the story as it was with little sugar coating.

I really liked that it shared the feelings of the characters, their fears, their doubts, their passions and their love for each other and others. To look into the soul of one that is suffering and to still see compassion for others is a wonderful test of faith.

It also showed how different each character was and how th
Jun 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Almost too brutally real. Definitely too hard to read, but too wrong to stop. Thank you NetGalley and Glenn Haybittle for the Arc and the opportunity to read and review In The Warsaw Ghetto. I thoroughly appreciated the writing style of this book. The author did not hold anything back. The characters tell it exactly like it is, exactly what they are thinking without leaving anything out. When you are done reading you will totally, fully understand what went on in the Warsaw ghetto, you will feel ...more
Caroline Scott
Jul 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First up, thanks to NetGalley and Cheyne Walk for letting me have a review copy. (The following contains spoilers).
In The Warsaw Ghetto weaves the twinned narrative of dance student, Ala Silberman, and her uncle, Max, following them from the opening days of the Second World War, through to the destruction of the Jewish ghetto in 1943.
We first meet them in conversation, before their narratives split, sharing memories and ambitions, and the tranquility and ease of that sunlit scene will soon seem
Clazzzer C
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the Warsaw ghetto is a wonderful book based on life inside one of the degrading settlements established to debase and ultimately wipeout the Jews during Hitler’s regime in World War 2. This was written from an entirely different perspective however. We followed the lives of Ala and her uncle Max, two somewhat wealthier Jews who initially did not suffer from the poverty and malnourishment inflicted on those living in the ghetto like so many who perished around them. They were good people who t ...more
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love and hatred co-exist in Warsaw’s ghetto. Fear and courage go hand-in-hand. Where there is loyalty, there also lurks betrayal. Death seems to be a given. Is survival even possible?

Glenn Haybittle has penned a detailed saga of a family’s struggle for survival in The Warsaw Ghetto. Ala is a lithe young dancer who lives to please her mentor, whom she refers to as Madame. She is also experiencing her sexual awakening, which makes her curious, shy, brazen, and often self-centered. I found her
Karren  Sandercock
Jun 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks To NetGalley, Cheyne Walk and Glenn Haybittle for my digital copy of In The Warsaw Ghetto.

Ala Silberman is busy training as a ballet dancer when the Germans invade Warsaw and nothing can prepare her for how much her life will change. Ala is very close to her Uncle Max he's a bachelor he has never gotten over the loss of his first love Sabina who he met at university and she decided to marry someone else.
Before they know it both Ala, her mother, father, brother and uncle Max are all living
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Via my book blog at

Glenn Haybittle's new novel is a brilliantly told story of a family in Warsaw during the Holocaust. Ala is a talented young dancer whose dream lies in the arts. The story centers on Ala and her uncle, Max, who is still dreaming of the love he lost to another man, Sabrina. GH plots out the grim details of families having to move and move again. The degradation of the human body, mind, and spirit floods over from the very beginning.

We know h
Becca Murray
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-reviews
Thank you to Netgalley for a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

I truly enjoyed this book, Haybittle did a wonderful job bringing his characters, Ala and Max Silberman to life in an honest and heartbreaking fashion. As a lover of all things World War II with the focus on the Holocaust, this was one of the most (seemingly) realistic portrayal of the hardships that the Jewish people faced in the ghettos. Starting from the beginning of the Ghetto to it's destructi
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is moving and disturbing, but exceptionally well written. There are other books which have presented life in nazi occupied areas and the continued impact upon the world, but this one makes it all seem more current and condemns the human race for its cruelty and enjoyment of the humiliation of others.
The entwined stories of uncle and teenage niece are heart wrenching but realistic, as are the observations of death, starvation, disease, and murder up close and personal. The Nazis are i
I have read a lot of WW II books and I am amazed at the writing of Glenn Haybittle’s In the Warsaw Getto. I felt like I was in the book as I felt, smelled, suffered, loved, Max and Ala’s stories. At times, it was torture to read what was endured in the Ghetto. Man’s inhumanity to man! I am emotionally wrecked after reading this book and I am in awe of the courage of so many. Thank you NetGalley and Chayne Welk for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Aug 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A haunting and beautifully tragic look at the Warsaw Ghetto, and the courage of the confined Jews to rise up in the face of their oppression.

In the Warsaw Ghetto begins in Poland pre-German invasion, with Ala and her uncle, Max. Ala is a dancer, hails from the wealthier class, and is Jewish. She is also extremely naive to the workings of the world. In the Warsaw Ghetto is told in three books, over the course of several years of Ala’s time in the Warsaw ghetto. She details the abuse and fear of t
Aug 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are certain books that are harder to read than others. In the Warsaw Ghetto by Glenn Haybittle was one of those books. Books, like In the Warsaw Ghetto, must be read though to ensure that we remember and never forget the horrific acts of the Holocaust. They must be recognized and shared with others so that there can never be another Holocaust again. Glenn Haybittle, brilliantly led the reader through the occupation of Poland and the formation of the Warsaw Ghetto. In his grandmother's word ...more
Hana Correa
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is both beautifully written and heartbreaking in equal measure. This is the first Glenn Haybittle novel I have read, but not the first Holocaust novel I have read. This novel competes with the best of what I have previously read. Told through the eyes of Ala Silberman and her uncle Max Silberman. Ala is an aspiring ballet dancer from a Jewish family who would definitely be considered well off. As a young woman she finds herself going from living a cultured life inside Warsaw, Poland to ...more
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"To hold an object that belonged to someone you have loved and lost changes the weight of your hand and then the weight of your entire body."

Heart wrenching WW2 story written in the present tense with immensely likeable and credible characters. My stomach was in knots from beginning to end reading this book. The ending was incredibly powerful. My only reservation was the sexual content. Would definitely recommend this book. Thank you NetGalley for letting me give an honest review of this book.
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