I had never heard of the Vel d’Hiv roundup of Jews in France on July 16 and 17, 1942, by the French police. This story has long been buried in the history of the holocaust. It was a source of great embarrassment to the French government and rarely taught in history lessons. Sarah’s Key tells the tale through the eyes of both a young girl caught up in the roundup, and a reporter 60 years later uncovering the story only to find it has personal ramifications for her family. What is especially riveting is how the author weaves the story around a key—a tragic key that locked a little boy away in a closet, while his sister, Sarah, who locked him away to keep him safe and hidden, is sent to the camps—not just for the few hours she suspected, but for many months until she escapes.
I really enjoyed this book. It was hard to put down, and I am planning on choosing it for an Oshtemo Book Group read in 2011.