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Literature / The Silver Sword

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The Silver Sword note  is a children's novel written by Ian Serraillier. The book is set in during the Holocaust, where the Balacki family has been split apart due to refusal to support Hitler. Joseph Balacki has been taken to a work camp far away in the mountains, Margrit Balacki has been dragged off to an unknown location by the Nazis, and the three children, Ruth, Edek and Bronia, find refuge in a bombed cellar on the streets of Warsaw after their house was destroyed by the Nazis, supposedly with them in it. They survive off of what they can, until a boy named Jan inadvertently brings them news of their father escaping to Switzerland, and they set out to reunite their family.


Contains examples of:

  • A Boy, a Girl, and a Baby Family: The Balacki siblings. Ruth and Edek are two years apart in terms of age, while Bronia is eight years younger than Edek.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Jan, apparently.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jan goes through one after choosing to help Ruth and Bronia recover Edek from the lake instead of going to collect the frightened Ludwig, which he never sees again.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: According to the audiobook, Jan is pronounced as "Yan".
  • Parental Abandonment: Nobody knows what happens to Jan's parents, possibly including him. They were likely taken away by the Nazis, and killed.
  • Separated from the Adults: After the Nazis take both their mom and dad away, the kids are left to fend for themselves on the streets of Warsaw, barely even escaping themselves.
  • Team Mom: Ruth. Towards the end, it is mentioned that Bronia even came to see her as a Parental Substitute.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When Jan first meets Joseph, he carries a gray kitten. When he is found by Bronia and Ruth, the kitten is gone and Jimpy (a rooster) has taken its place. Jan mentions later in the book that he had a gray cat, but it died. The cause of its death is never explained.
    • Averted with Jimpy; the bird is explicitly stated to have been killed in a fight which breaks out at a feeding centre.

Alternative Title(s): Escape From Warsaw


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