We Share the Same Sky – Rachael Cerotti

This is a memoir about Cerrotti’s grandmother, Hana Dubova, a Holocaust survivor. What I really love about We Share the Same Sky is the degree to which Cerrotti had access to her grandmother’s journals and even to some of the people/relatives of the people who helped Hana or journeyed with her. This is also a memoir about the ten years Cerotti spent organizing family records, having them translated and following Hana’s footsteps from Czechoslovakia to Denmark to Sweden and ultimately the United States. It is a love story between Cerrotti and her future husband Sergio, a Polish man she knew from England and caught up with in her travels. We Share the Same Sky is a unique take for me on a Holocaust survival story, because the Nazis allowed Hana’s group of twelve to fourteen year old Czech Zionists to leave their occupied country and travel to Denmark where they were sponsored by various families, pending a planned move to Palestine. Hana was happily settled on a Danish farm and never did go to Israel. She eventually had to leave in an overloaded boat bound for Sweden when Denmark was no longer safe for Jews under its own Nazi occupation. This is ultimately a book about relationships— Hana’s and her lost family’s relationship; Hana’s and Rachel’s relationship; each of their relationships with the Danish farm family that fostered Hana; the Swedish fisherman that rescued the boatload of exiles from Denmark; the famous rabbi who traveled on that boat and his descendants; Hana’s not so great first marriage; and Rachel’s and Sergio’s relationship that led to marriage and sorrow. It is a rich and loving accounting, meticulously researched and beautifully written.

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