Totally forgot today is the 12th! Discussion time!!!
I loved this book!!! It joined my four shelves of books on the Holocaust! I was bawling by the end! The characters were very well thought out, the plot was engaging and it drew me in. I found a few questions to help the discussion:
1. What did you know about Franceâ€™s role in World War IIâ€”and the V©l dâ€™Hiv round-up in particularâ€”before reading Sarahâ€™s Key? How did this book teach you about, or change your impression of, this important chapter in French history? I actually knew about it. Since 8th grade when my english teacher realized how much I read and had me talk to her husband who was a rabbi and who's dad survived the Holocaust. They gave me personal copies of books and since then have grown my collection quite extensively.
2. Among modern Jews, there is a familiar mantra about the Holocaust; they are taught, from a very young age, that they must â€œremember and never forgetâ€ (as the inscription on the Rafle du V©l dâ€™Hiv) Discuss the events of Sarahâ€™s Key in this context. Who are the characters doing the remembering? Who are the ones who choose to forget? Obviously Julia is remembering, but there were a lot of people after the Holocaust who wanted to forget, including survivors. It was kind of a taboo subject. It was years before people openly talked about their experiences. Especially people who felt they could of helped more and didn't want the blame placed on them. Obviously, the French didn't want this dirty mark on them so they chose to forget.
3. Why do modern readers enjoy novels about the past? How and when can a powerful piece of fiction be a history lesson in itself ? I enjoy novels from the past b/c I think it's important we learn from them. It was a dark time in history and though we say "never forget" we are repeating history. Genocide is still happening around the world. Other people are suffering and saying we won't forget but not acting is our problem. We must not forget and take the steps to prevent it.
4. We are taught, as young readers, that every story has a â€œmoralâ€. Is there a moral to Sarahâ€™s Key? What can we learn about our worldâ€”and our selvesâ€”from Sarahâ€™s story? I think it has many morals. One like above..not forgetting. Second, we must realize we are all human beings. We cannot spend our lives being racist and act like one person is better than another. We have to show humanity. We cannot be naive that just b/c we remember that something like this can't happen. It happened in Rwanda, it is happening in the Sudan. Yet, we do not like to talk about it. We can't afford to turn our backs and then after the fact act surprised, shocked and ashamed. I think that is the moral of the story.