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What World Is Left

Monique Polak's young adult novel tells the story of a prosperous Jewish family sent to a concentration camp when the Second World War begins.

Monique Polak

Inspired by the real-life experiences of Monique Polak's mother, What World Is Left tells the story of Anneke Van Raalte's family. They are a prosperous Jewish family living in Amsterdam, but when the Second World War breaks out, they are sent to a concentration camp. There, Anneke's father, who is an artist, ends up helping the Nazis create propaganda to send the message that the conditions in the camp are fine. Anneke finds herself torn between doing what is right and standing by her family.

What World Is Left is for readers ages 14 and up.

Read an excerpt | Author interviews

From the book

I am too frightened and too horrified to move. The drawings these soldiers are looking for tell the truth about Theresienstadt. That's why the soldiers are so angry! They're afraid that somehow, one day, people will see the drawings — and know the truth. But if the drawings are destroyed, no one will ever know the truth. There will be no point to all our suffering! It will be as if none of this ever happened. The thought makes me reach for my throat. People have to know! Otherwise, things like this — murders, lies, soldiers terrifying girls — will happen again. It's so unfair. I feel like falling to my knees and weeping. I feel like giving up. If no one ever learns the truth about Theresienstadt, what difference will it make if I do give up?


From What World Is Left by Monique Polak ©2008. Published by Orca Books.

Author interviews

Author Monique Polak is known for writing young adult fiction but her latest book not only does she explain Passover for young readers, she also looks at her own relationship to the holiday and speaks with Holocaust survivors about how they celebrated in 11:13