Grandma Hanna-Anna’s story portrays events at the temporary family camp in Auschwitz`Birkenau, and introduces her granddaughter Yael to her own wartime experiences.
Grandma Hanna, then a nine-year-old called Anna, was forced to leave her home in the Czech Republic along with her parents, and was sent by train to Auschwitz. There, she was placed in a model camp, next to the main one, that was designed to mislead the world about the conditions in which Jews were held during World War II.
Anna does not understand why there is thick barbed wire around her school and living quarters. She dreams of being the nightingale in the play staged by the camp children. Her childish mind rises above the harsh reality-the barbed wire, the hunger, the adults’ concern and the wall of secrets around her. But when she is finally chosen to be the nightingale, she is not happy: Clara, the girl who was supposed to get the part, is taken away to the nearby camp from which vile black smoke rises all the time. Even Anna cannot escape the meaning of this event or the untimely maturity that it imposes on her.
Illustrations: Tamar Nahir