Clara's War

One Girl's Story of Survival by Clara Kramer

Character Analysis

Clara Schwarz is the protagonist in the memoir Clara's War One Girl's Story of Survival by Clara Kramer. In 1940, the Nazis invaded Zolkiew, Poland where Clara was living with her Jewish family. Since the Nazis were looking for Jews, Clara and her family had to hide any signs of their religion that might give them away. For example, "I pretended to be a good young communist girl"(31). This shows that changes were made in her village and Clara had to follow the rules so not to raise suspicions. Clara also faced challenges when she was in hiding in the bunker with 17 other people. For instance, "The heat was so oppressive it became hard to breathe"(267). This states that in the summer, the bunker's heat is too much for the 18 people to handle that they can hardly breathe.

Plot Advancement

Setting and characterization both advance the plot by showing how generous and caring Beck and Julia were to the Jews living in the bunker under their house. During the war, living quarters for soldiers were scarce so the Becks had to give up some of their space to the soldiers and trainmen. Sometimes it would be hard for the Becks to bring food to the Jews or empty the toilet pails without giving them away to the Nazi soldiers living right above the bunker but they were still able to pull through. For example, "A thief - it must have been a thief"(245). This shows that when Mr. Patrontasch emptied the toilet pail and the trainman saw him, Julia covered for him saying he was a thief and not a Jew like the trainman thought he saw. Although the Becks had plenty of chances to leave and find their own freedom, they stayed and continued to shelter the 18 Jews living in the bunker. For instance, "I also told him that the Becks had many of opportunities to leave, but stayed because they had promised to never abandon us"(322). This shows that the Becks kept their promise and harbored the many Jews in the bunker until they were safe from the Nazi soldiers.


Clara's War One Girl's Story of Survival by Clara Kramer is a memoir written about Clara Schwarz's, now Clara Kramer, time in the bunker. I would recommend the book to anyone that enjoys historical fiction books. The book describes how cruel the Nazis were to the Jews during the Holocaust. Clara's War shows the struggle of being a Jew in the time period. The memoir is based on the diary that Clara kept while living in the bunker. The book has pictures that show everybody that lived in the bunker during the Holocaust. I recommend the book to anyone that wants to read about love, death, and survival.
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