Sarah’s Key, written by Tatiana de Rosnay, is an intensely moving work of art, a story that, although entirely fictitious, will give new perspective on Occupied France in 1942. On July 16th, in the middle of the night, ten-year-old Sarah and her parents were taken by French police, arrested as a family for being Jewish. This particular event in history is known as the Veledrome d’Hiver Roundup. As an act of protection in Sarah’s mind, she locked her younger brother in a hidden cupboard to keep him safe while she was away: she promised to come back and get him quickly.
However, as she, her family, and thousands of other families soon discovered, there would be no going back. Most of the transported families involved in the Vel d’Hiv never returned home, but were sent by railway to their deaths at Auschwitz.
This book is the story of Sarah, a girl with an enduring spirit and a haunting past and how, sixty years later, her story links to Julia Jarmond, an American journalist researching the Vel d’Hiv Roundup.
Sarah’s Key is full of life, pain, joy, and sorrow. It will cause a person to look at life and history from another point-of-view. I have a fascination with this time in history, an angry wonder and awe at the fact that so many people went along with Hitler’s regime with seemingly no second thought, and Sarah’s Key has truly helped me see this whole phase of time in a different light. It’s an excellent read that will be difficult to forget.