Throughout history, I’ve learned about the holocaust. If you personally asked me to define it, I would tell you that is was a long affair of anti-Semitism; It was mainly based on Hitler using the Jews as a scapegoat for Germany’s economic issues, using the German’s only for harshness and resentment due to Hitler feeling as if the German’s betraying them and one day he’d make them pay, and when that day came, he took advantage of it. Reading “Under A Cruel Star”, by Heda Margolius Kovaly not only extended my knowledge on discrimination, communism, inequality, war, politics, STRUGGLE, fear, sacrifice and dictatorship… but it gave me an actual perspective on an actual person who struggled her entire life, fighting. It illustrated her escaping from death, a war, from concentration camps, looking and trying so hard for someone and somewhere to turn too but then overcoming it all and surviving to feel frustrated, astonished and a bunch of shock was still occurring. Finding out her husband was still alive to only lose it all in the end. Having a baby boy, who was deprived from a mother and father in the end. The government deprived her from her family, her husband was imprisoned and she left her son all alone. All she did was yearn for the last two people she truly loved and cared about. I wondered why did this happen? It happened cause she was jewish origin obviously. Heda was harassed by housing corps, put into jail because the state believed she was committing treason, sabotage, and espionage. After the war, Heda really did believe in peace, she was excited for it, she couldn’t wait to live a normal life to only discover her husband was in a political party/communist with people who were going to use him which became very hard. He was always working, barley spending time with her or her son. Heda lost her husband because the political party murdered him. Heda’s memoir was not only sorrowful, it was intense… extreme because imagine going through all these tough times with hope that “I’m going to make it”, but not realizing she would lose and have absolutely nothing in the end. Reading “Under A Cruel Star”,  you can feel for her, as if you’re in the book. The ending of this book caught me by surprise, I couldn’t believe what happened. I really didn’t like this book when I started it, but as I got deeper in it, it really made me realize her strength as a human being and realize how history was definitely problematic. This was a very emotional and touching memoir. The only thing I wish she spoke about was how she truly felt. When she was let down, she stated the facts and got to the point.


The Futures Initiative
The Graduate Center, CUNY
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