Shadow of the Wall

By Christa Laird

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Ever since the death of their father, Misha and his sisters Rachel and Elena have lived in the orphanage run by Dr. Janusz Korczak. Conditions in the Warsaw ghetto have grown steadily worse, forcing Misha to become a smuggler and black marketeer. If he doesn't smuggle, his mother will die, but smuggling is becoming more and more dangerous each day. Misha does not know what he will do. Will he and his family make it?


I know the theme is people do whatever it takes for their family to survive. In the book, Misha smuggles food because he wants his mother to survive. Their mother sends them off to the orphanage because she wants them to live, and she can't take care of them anymore. Also, they send baby Elena away from the ghetto, so she can survive the war.

How it Relates

The Warsaw ghetto was the largest ghetto. It was established on October 12,1940. The ghetto was surrounded by a wall that stood over 10 feet high, topped with barbed wire, and was closely guarded to prevent movement from the ghetto to the surrounding area. The population of the ghetto was estimated to be about 400,000 Jews. Germans forced the residents to live in an area only 1.3 square miles. It was averaged to be 7.2 people per room.

Author's Portrayal

In the book, the story takes place in the Warsaw ghetto. The main character goes to beg on the other side of the wall. He doesn't get caught when he leaves or when he comes back. The author makes it seem easier than it was to get across the wall. The author does do a good job portraying the tight living spaces. When his mom moves, she has to share a room with many people. Furthermore, the author did an okay job portraying the ghetto in the story.
By Madi Harken


"Warsaw." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 20 June 2014. Web. 5 Jan. 2015.