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Prague

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For many Jewish people living in Europe, the middle of the twentieth century, including the Cold War period and Nazi regime, was a dreadful period of time with great loss of lives and freedom. Heda Margolius Kovaly, a Jewish woman from Prague, was no exception to the brutality that occurred. Throughout the twentieth century, she suffered and endured some of the toughest experiences of her life. She lived in a concentration camp and escaped during a death march, only to be rejected by her friends and society at home. At the conclusion of World War II, she married Rudolf Margolius, and she was finally able to live a stable life with their son. Unfortunately, Rudolf was found guilty of conspiracy and was executed, leaving Heda rejected from society once again. Throughout this time, she became deathly ill and was treated unfairly, even by her doctors and employers. However, Heda experienced these trying times with only her son by her side, as all of her family was killed during the war. She details a first-hand account of the difficult times she endured during a horrible period of time for the Jewish people in Prague. Through the narrative, it brings to life how terrible the conditions were, and how poorly the people were treated based solely on their surname or religion. Under a Cruel Star, a memoir written by Heda, shows how one Jewish woman from Prague was able to cope with trauma during such a difficult time in the world. Heda grew up in Prague with her family until her early twenties when she was forced to enter a concentration camp. She said, “If every beginning is hard, the beginning of hardship is the hardest” (p. 7). Heda knew that she had a long road ahead of her, and leaving her home for the first time was the worst experie... ... middle of paper ... ...ting what occurred and the significance. In Under a Cruel Star, Heda is able to show how a person living with such brutality yet survived, even if just barely. The memoir written differs from historical text because she gives a first-hand account of her experience, allowing the reader to better understand the hardships she faced and why certain decisions were made. Heda lived a difficult live with great loss, but through it all, she was able to stay strong and stay alive, despite her frequent suicidal thoughts. The novel shows how the people, particularly the tortured Jewish people and people involved with the effects of the conspiring government, perceived all that was happening. Under a Cruel Star is a touching novel that is able to explain how one particular Jewish woman overcame all of her hardships during the brutal wars of the mid-twentieth century in Prague.
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