Jacob’s Courage: A Holocaust Love Story

Written by Charles S. Weinblatt
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In Austria in 1939, young Jacob Silverman and Rachael Goldberg are in love. Jacob plans to go on to college. Then tragedy strikes as Hitler’s army invades Austria. All the Jews are forced to live in a decrepit ghetto. Soon they are sent on to a concentration camp, where Jacob and Rachael secretly marry. They are able to escape, join partisans, and fight the Nazis. They become separated during an attack on a German train, and Jacob is again captured by the Germans. The partisan leader falls in love with Rachael and tries to protect both her and her unborn child until she can be reunited with Jacob.

This is a magnificent, gripping novel of breathtaking courage under extreme circumstances. Subtitled “a Holocaust love story” because of the relationship between Jacob and Rachael, the novel describes the considerable cruelties and inhuman behavior caused by the Nazis and experienced by the Jewish people in Eastern Europe during the war. The author places readers into the thick of it. You will share the pain and grief of this young Jewish couple as they are forced into imprisonment, as their friends and families are killed. The story is immensely readable, although the book is quite long. This is one of my favorite books this year.