Behind the Secret Window: A Memoir of a Hidden Childhood During World War Two
For thirteen months during World War II, Nelly Toll and her mother were hidden from the Nazis in the small bedroom of a Gentile couple in Lwow, Poland. Just eight years old when she went into hiding in 1943, Nelly began keeping the diary that would inspire this powerful and moving memoir of her childhood.
In her small black journal Nelly wrote about the heartbreaking events she experienced in Lwow and her grief over the tragic losses of family members, as well as the day-to-day fears of life in hiding. In contrast, the exuberant, vividly colored paintings that Nelly also produced while in hiding transformed her grim reality into an enchanting fantasy world filled with school friends, bright skies, and happy families.
Twenty-nine of these paintings are reproduced in Behind the Secret Window; captions help readers to trace the fascinating process of their creation. Together, text and art tell the story of a lovable, imaginative child beset with terrifying uncertainties, and of the courageous mother who nurtured her daughter's unswerving belief in brighter days ahead.
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afraid angry apartment arms Aryan asked Mama Aunt Elsa Aunt Krajterowa Babcia Bajki Street bedroom began building closed cursed danger dark Ewka eyes face floor friends front door Germans Gestapo ghetto girl Grandma Fancia Grandpa Henryk hair happened head hear heard hiding place Hungary Janek Jewish Jews Karol kids killed kissed kitchen knew laugh leave listen looked Lwow Mama and Papa Mama told Mama's hand mother moved Nazis neighbors never night Ninka painted Pan Blaustein Pan Henek Pan Max Pan Michaj Pan Wojtek Pani Krysia Pani Olga Pani Wojtkowa Panna Papa's peasants pierogi Poland police Polish pulled Red Army Russians scared secret window Sewer shouted sleep smiled soldiers someone spoke started stay stop stories suddenly talk tears tell terrible told Mama tried trying Ukrainian Uncle Krajter voice wait walked wanted watched whispered wife wondered