Monday, September 2, 2019


Historical fiction is a type of genre that helps paint a more captivating and colourful picture of the past. It combines fact and fiction as it presents mostly fabricated characters set in a definite period of history. Ship of the Hunted, by Yehuda Elberg, defines this genre as it entwines the lives of a fictional family with historical facts and elements such as life in the Warsaw ghetto, hiding to survive, and the Brichah movement of Jews out of Poland. History has recorded that over half a million Jews were crowded into the Warsaw ghetto between October and November of 1940. The squalor, starvation, disease, exposure to cold, and the daily shootings claimed the lives of about 5, 000 to 6, 000 Jews each month. In Ship of the Hunted, the Heshl family struggles to survive this trend. Like so many others living in the ghetto, Golda and her son, Yossel, scavenge the blocks, looking for any items that can be smuggled out of the ghetto in exchange for food. After his father and older sister are deported, Yossel is confronted by Golda, who wants him to stop smuggling. â€Å" ‘This stuff buys food. We have to eat, Mama.’ ‘Yossel, you’re still a child. You know they shoot children for scavenging!’ ‘They shoot mothers for scavenging, too.’ ’’ (Elberg, 17) This conversation demonstrates the desperate measures taken by the Jews to obtain food. The raids in the ghetto also caused their numbers to dwindle. Daily, thousands of Jews were removed from the ghetto and transported to concentration camps. After surviving one such raid by hiding in a bunker, Golda surfaces to find out about another raid on a hospital. â€Å"Liquidated, floor by floor. On foot and by stretcher, they had been sent off – a man with an incision still open; an infant, newly born.† (Elberg, 23) These raids led to deportations, which eventually led to extermination. News spread, and those who refused to be led away to death took part in what would be one of the greatest periods in Jewish history. The Warsaw ghetto uprising began on April 19th of 1943, as the surviving inhabitants of the ghetto resisted the German troops and police who had come to deport them. This battle held out for 20 days till the Germans finally overpowered the lightly armed Jews. In t he novel, Golda is a witness to the uprising and its end.

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