Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family’s apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours. Paris, May 2002: On Vel d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France’s past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl’s ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d’Hiv’, to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah’s past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.
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More about the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup:
The New York Times – “France Reflects on Its Role in Wartime Fate of Jews” by Scott Sayare
The Huffington Post – “Cecile Widerman Kaufer, Holocaust Survivor, Recounts 1942 Vel D’Hiv Roundup in Paris Stadium” by Tara Kelly
Radio France International – “France Commemorates Victims of Vel d’Hiv Roundup“
Online Encylopedia of Mass Violence — Case Study: The Vélodrome d’hiver Round-up: July 16 and 17, 1942
If you enjoyed Sarah’s Key, you might like…
- In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
- Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum
- The Zookeeper’s Wife (Book Club Kit) by Diane Ackerman
- The Book Thief (Book Club Kit) by Markus Zusak
- Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
Food Bonus! Check out The Book Club Cook Book for Sarah’s Key inspired recipes.