Dancing through Darkness


Dancing Through Darkness

The unforgettable story of Saartje and Chaim, two inmates at the Sobibor Death Camp and members of the greatest escape from any Nazi camp. Based on the diary and memories of Saartje, readers are taken from her early life in Holland to the horrors of Sobibor and, finally, to life in America.

Dancing Through Darkness will be available at the end of May, 2016. You may pre-order NOW!

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In April 2010, Saartje (now known as Selma) was honored with the Orde Van Orange-Nassau by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands as the last Dutch-born survivor of the Sobibor Death Camp. Dancing Through Darkness is the story of the years between the horrors of 1943 and the honors of 2010.

A week after Saartje (Selma) Wijnberg arrived at the Sobibor Death Camp, the SS officers had no planned punishments or executions after the evening roll call, so the starving, exhausted prisoners were ordered to dance for the entertainment of the guards. Saartje, from Zwolle, Holland, was ordered to dance with Chaim Engel, a prisoner from Brudzew, Poland. For the rest of his life, Chaim told everyone that he fell in love with Saartje the minute she stepped into his arms. Saartje countered that it took her much longer – until the dance ended.

As recorded in Saartje’s diary – now in The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. – their love gave them the strength to survive the unimaginable brutality of Sobibor and the largest, most amazing escape from any Nazi camp. That love created hope and the dream of surviving to share a normal life as they ran by night and hid by day to avoid Nazi troops scouring the forest for escapees. Finding refuge in a barn loft near Chelm, Poland, they struggled against cold, hunger, and disease for nine months as they awaited their fate.

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Hardcover, Soft Cover


Ann Markham Walsh

4 reviews for Dancing through Darkness

  1. There are moments in this book when you come to live the horror and humiliation. But in the midst of that is a love story of such beauty, passion, and courage that it touches the heart from the first page to the last. What a book!

  2. A love story…touching and miraculous… A dream that defies the death and despair of a Nazi death camp… Based on a 1940s hidden diary and narrated in a haunting voice by the woman who wrote it, Dancing through Darkness needs to be read.

  3. Many memoirs have been written about the Holocaust, a crime so enormous that it nearly defies comprehension. But few Holocaust diaries and memories are as powerful, sensitive, and beautifully expressed as that of Saartje (Selma) Wijnberg Engel. Ann Markham Walsh has done an admirable job of tying Saartje’s story in with the events going on in the war and in the world. You will be moved.

  4. By empowering the voice of a survivor who has borne witness to the incarnation of evil, Ann Markham Walsh demonstrates that writing is indeed a morally responsible act. The narrative of Selma Engel is a litany of survival and a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

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