Stefania “Fusia” Podgorska was just a teenager when German bombs rained down on her city of
Przemsyl, Poland. She used to work at a local shop with the Diamant family, who she grew close
to over the years. Fusia even made an agreement with one of the sons, Izio, to get married. But
Stefania is Roman Catholic, and Izio is Jewish, meaning that this must be kept a secret. As the
Germans invade Poland and anti-Semitism grows, Stefania knows she has to do something to
help. The Diamants are sent off to a ghetto, and she’s left raising her younger sister. But,
everything changes when she gets a visit from Max Diamant, after he’s just jumped off a train.
She decides to hide Max, and continues to go back and forth from the ghetto, providing help to
Jews in need. Now, she has 13 Jews hidden in her house, all of them worrying for their lives.
However, her situation gets even more dire when Nazis show up at her door, requesting use of
her house. The choices she makes could mean the difference between life and death for
everyone, including herself...
I rarely ever give a book 5 stars, but this book is extremely deserving of this rating. At first, I
wasn’t aware that this was a true story, but after reading the author’s note, I realized that all of
this actually happened. Stefania Podgorska is a true hero, but she sadly passed away a couple of
years ago. May she rest in peace. In the book, her character was wonderful (and loosely based on
the real person). She was courageous, driven, and kind. I’m glad this book gave me a chance to
learn about a part of WW2 history I didn’t know much about. The plot and pacing were also
great. I had no idea what was going to happen next. This book was an emotional but necessary
read. Through it, Cameron illustrates that courageousness, resilience, and love can overcome
hate (hence the title). A suspenseful and thrilling novel, I would recommend it to all teenagers.
5/5. Impactful and unforgettable.