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Through the Eyes of a Survivor    by Colette Waddell order for
Through the Eyes of a Survivor
by Colette Waddell
Order:  USA  Can
Topcat, 2007 (2007)
*   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The complete title of this book is Through the Eyes of a Survivor: A Living History of Nina Morecki from Pre-WWII Poland to Modern America. Nina Morecki lost her entire family mother, father, two sisters and their husbands, and a four-year-old niece. How she survived or even wanted to is still a mystery to her. Being proficient in various languages helped with authorities, and the fact that she didn't resemble what the populations of Poland, Russia and Germany thought of as Jews saved her life on many occasions.

She was not in a death camp but did survive time in a labor camp. She walked away from a death squad. Fearing for her life every day wrought insecurities that still plague her at times today. She lived on the streets, in woods, cabins, farmhouses and barns wherever she could find shelter and the vague hope of some food. That she survived malnutrition is a miracle in itself. Nina's search for any possible surviving relatives kept her on her feet. After the war, starting a new life seemed almost insurmountable. A reunion with a man she had met during the war gave her life new meaning.

As Nina tells her story to Colette Waddell, the author at times interrupts the narrative to make explanations of conditions at that particular time. This often broke up the flow of the account and put me off my reading stride. However, this account deserves to be read. To even try to summarize the ordeal Nina Morecki's life became does her an injustice. In her words, she doesn't 'consider this a book on history, or even particularly a memoir. It's more a lesson ... on how to live ... to embrace life.'

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