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The Deborah Harris Agency

CLAIMING MY PLACE: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust

CLAIMING MY PLACE: Coming of Age in the Shadow of the Holocaust

By: PRICE, Planaria & WEST, Helen

Nonfiction, Forthcoming, FSG Children's, 2017

Claiming My Place is the true story of a young Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by escaping to Nazi Germany and hiding in plain sight.

Meet Gucia Gomolinska: smart, determined, independent, and steadfast in the face of injustice. Growing up in Poland in the 1920s and ’30s, Gucia studies hard, makes friends, falls in love, and dreams of a bright future.

Her world is turned upside down when Nazis descend upon Poland, establishing in her town of Piotrków Trybunalski the first Jewish ghetto of World War II. As the war escalates, Gucia watches friends and neighbors lose their livelihoods, their dignity, their lives.

She knows her blond hair and fair skin give her an advantage, and eventually she faces a harrowing choice: to risk the uncertain horrors of deportation to a concentration camp or the certain death if she were caught resisting. She decides to assume a false identity as a gentile. Gucia changes her name to Danuta Barbara Tanska, nicknamed Basia, and leaves behind everything and everyone she has ever known. If she succeeds she will remain free; but if she fails she will perish.

Working from extensive interviews with her subject and in consultation with Basia’s daughter, Helen Reichmann West, author Planaria Price tells this incredible life story directly in the first person in an inspiring work of narrative nonfiction.

Rights Sold to:

USA, FSG Children's Books


“I was completely engrossed by this drama of survival. Barbara Reichmann's story is quite extraordinary. It is sad, and terrible, and yet somehow captivating. The whole story of those who survived teh Shoah by passing as Christians and working in Nazi Germany is an often forgotten part of the historical record.” ―Kai Bird, Executive Director, Leon Levy Center for Biography at CUNY Graduate Center, and co-author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer

“As occurs with The Diary of Anne Frank, this book merges the dire circumstances of the Holocaust with the tenuousness of being a teenager. But Claiming My Place expands the view provided in the diary for one critical reason. Anne Frank’s story is told within an isolated cocoon. In Barbara’s story, however, the Holocaust is in full view as her experiences unfold.” ―David H. Lindquist, Ph.D., IPFW College of Education and Public Policy / Regional Museum Educator, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum