Briar Rose Summary Notes

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  • Topic: The Holocaust, Extermination camp, Family
  • Pages : 2 (619 words )
  • Download(s) : 406
  • Published : March 17, 2011
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Briar Rose Basic Summary
Plot-The book is divided into two parts, the "home", and the "castle". The ending is part of the "home" section, returning after the castle. The story is based around the German fairy tale of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) which is told by "Gemma", an elderly woman, to her three granddaughters. She tells this to the children almost all the time and it is the only bedtime story she ever tells. The times when "Gemma" tells the story are flashbacks and alternate between the present-day story. "Home"- In the present day, Gemma's Jewish family is living somewhere outside the the city in the USA. After her death, and Rebecca Berlin, the youngest of her three granddaughters (referred to as Becca in the novel) begins to believe that there is some meaning behind the bedtime story that her grandmother told to them hundreds of times. She consults Stan, a good friend and journalist who works for an "alternative" newspaper and uncovers historical facts. She discovers that her grandmother was actually a survivor of the Holocaust who was persecuted for her Polish ethnicity and Jewish belief, and sent to Chełmno extermination camp to be executed. She decides to visit Chelmno and discovers a link with a man by the name of Josef Potocki in Poland. Becca sets off for Poland to find the identity and the life of her grandmother.

The Castle - Josef's story
In Poland, Josef tells his life story and his meeting with Gemma. In the book, his story is entitled under the "castle". He was originally also a target of the Holocaust for his homosexuality, and became a fugitive, meeting different people, mainly partisans, mainly in Germany. He had heard stories of the torture and the extermination camps and has joined a underground group set out to resuce victims. This leads him to Chelmno (called Kulmhof by the Germans), where he witnesses the gassing to death of the people in front of him. When he sees the bodies of the people dumped, he notices that a woman with...
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