The Freedom Circus
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BOOK REVIEW

The Freedom Circus

SUE Smethurst has done an excellent job of bringing a small part of history to life. I believe each and every story told of survival from the Holocaust is a blessing. Certainly, for future generations, but also for the person writing the story. You cannot fathom the truth of the humiliation of the small daily atrocities just by living them, and even while living through them by rationalising what needed to be done to get through the moment. The one actually retelling and researching and sharing with us, is both blessed and a blessing.

Sue Smethurst is not only blessed, but a blessing because in telling this story, she affirms the reality of unimaginable times in a miraculous life.

But it is real life, in this lifetime. Contrasted with the choice of 20 different types of bread fresh out of the oven today, with being grateful for a morsel of dry old bread. Living in a clean home of multiple rooms and bathrooms today, with sharing a tiny space with 100 other people and just having one bucket to defecate.  Of finding a child today with cars, cell phones and the internet, to being on foot in a strange city with only a list of addresses.  The tiny details Sue integrates into this wonderful story not only tear at your heart strings as she brings it to her pages but gives you lots of insights into how much we have to appreciate each and every day in our own lives.

Freedom and democracy are so precious and important to the human spirit and The Freedom Circus is the type of book that can spur multiple curriculum topics in a university course spanning not just history but human nature, totalitarian regimes, psychology of perpetrators and victims as well as defining happiness in our own lives.

If only we could write the stories of each and every person who was murdered in the Holocaust, such full simple and rich lives before, the suffering and endurance of the Nazi years and the tragedy of and dishonesty of the murder. And in all too few cases the glorious joy of survival.

Lily Steiner is an active member of the community, radio host on J-AIR and lifelong advocate for Israel.

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