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The Girl from the Train

The Book

Gretl Schmidt’s story is one the world needs to know. As a young girl of six she escapes from a train that is headed to Auschwitz. This is just the beginning of her harrowing life story. Gretl is the daughter of a fallen SS solider and she has been christened in the Lutheran church. But her grandmother is Jewish, this alone is her downfall, even if she looks the part of the “Aryan bloodline” the Germans are fighting for.

In the cold and under the cover of dark Gretl is found by Jakob, a Polish factory worker and political dissident. Jakob’s family cares for her as long as possible. But due to the fact that they are incredibly poor in war torn Poland, after years of care, Jakob makes the hard decision to surrender her to a German orphanage. This orphanage is relocating German war orphans to South African Protestant families in an effort to “strengthen the Aryan bloodlines” in a country already deeply entrenched in racial and ethnic strife.

This story is based on the many stories from the time of World War II and the many orphans that it produced. Journey with Gretl as she seeks to find the love and acceptance she longs for. This is a book that will leave you breathless as it opens your eyes to the depth of headache for many during this trying time in history.

The amazing journey that this one little girl makes will leave you in awe. When life finally settles down for her you are left wondering if the other shoe will drop. Can her past stay in the past or will it rear its ugly head and ruin the wonderful life she has found?

My Thoughts 

I can count on one hand the times that a book has overwhelmed me so much emotionally that I have had to lay the book aside just to settle my heart and tears. This book is wrought with deep emotions that portray the historical events with straight forward accuracy.

The often fearful journey of a young girl that asked only to be cared for and loved will move you to tears. Okay, maybe it’s just me but this is one incredibly powerful book that shows a small peek into what life was like for the many children affected by this atrocious war.

God has a way of clearing a path that otherwise you might not have ever seen. This is a wonderful book that shows the depth of God’s love in the most incredible way.

This is a story laden with the abundance of God’s protection, grace, mercy, love, and complete and total healing. Nothing is impossible with God.

I mourned. I cried. I waited with bated breath. This story captivated me and I devoured each page so that I would learn the outcome of young Gretl. This is a wonderful and compelling portrayal of a time in history that most people would rather forget. I have added this book to my “do not miss” reading list.

About the Author

Irma Joubert

International bestselling author Irma Joubert was a history teacher for 35 years before she began writing. Her stories are known for their deep insight into personal relationships and rich historical detail. She’s the author of eight novels and a regular fixture on bestseller lists in The Netherlands and in her native South Africa, but this will be her first novel published in English. She is the winner of the 2010 ATKV Prize for Romance Novels.

Social Corner


I hope you visit again soon to see what other books I have on my book shelf to share with you.

In His Grace.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the TNZ Fiction Guild book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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