Sunday, March 6, 2016
Salt to the Sea / Ruta Sepetys / 391 pages
"What a group [they] were...a pregnant girl in love, a kindly shoemaker, an orphan boy, a blind girl, and a giantess who complained that everyone was in her way when she herself took up the most room, and [Joana], a lonely girl who missed her family and begged for a second chance"...and Florian...all refugees fleeing the cruelties of Nazi Germany and the barbarism of the Russians, bound for the Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship "pregnant with lost souls conceived of war. They would crowd into her belly and she would give birth to their freedom." But did anyone realize? The ship was christened for a man, Wilhelm Gustloff. He had been the leader of the Nazi Party in Switzerland. He was murdered. The ship was born of death. Told in alternating voices of the refugees, this is a heart-rending account of events and lives leading to the worst maritime disaster in history - the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff with 9343 lives lost!