by Jamie WhitfieldJanuary, 2000
Only a girl Irene Gut Opdyke was 17, training to be a nurse, when the Nazis invaded her native Poland. Separated from her close-knit, Catholic family and thrown into the maelstrom and horror of war, she lost everything she knew and loved, but found extraordinary courage, outrage at injustice, and real compassion (that rare quality the Dalai Lama asks us to embrace). In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer (7 hours), written with Jennifer Armstrong and narrated by Hope Davis, is her memoir spellbinding, exciting, and heartbreaking in its detailed description of how this young woman saved the lives of 12 Jews and helped many others. Opdyke survived indignities, degradation, and looming death from both the Germans and the Soviets. She was just a girl whom no one thought capable of much, but then no one knew the depth of her conviction and the strength of her empathy. Now a grandmother and longtime American citizen, she shares her story as a monument to hope and heroism for this century and the next.
Sukey Howard reports on spoken word audio each month.