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Escaping into the Night

Escaping into the Night

For Ages: 10 - 14
  • reading group guide
  • 4awards
Halina Rudowski is on the run. When the Polish ghetto where she lives is evacuated, she narrowly escapes, but her mother is not as lucky. Along with her friend Batya, Halina makes her way to a secret encampment in the woods where Jews survive by living underground. As the group struggles for food, handles infighting, and attempts to protect themselves from the advancing Germans, Halina must face the reality of life without her mother.

Based on historical events, this gripping tale sheds light on a little-known aspect of the Holocaust: the underground forest encampments that saved several thousand Jews from the Nazis. In telling the story of one girl's survival, Escaping into the Night marks the arrival of a remarkable new voice in fiction.
Choose a format:
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416986485 | 
  • September 2009 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9
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Reading Group Guide

A Guide for Reading Groups
Escaping into the Night
By D. Dina Friedman
Discussion/Essay Questions

  1. In Chapter 1, Halina says, "I was tired of pretending not to care when the guards hit someone with their rifles, tired of pretending not to notice when I heard gunshots in the streets. Wasn't thirteen the age when you were supposed to stop pretending?" How does Halina grow from "pretending" to accepting her reality? How do other characters in the book pretend in order to escape or deal with their reality?

  2. Discuss Halina's relationships with the various adults in the book: her mother, her father, Georg, and Tante Rosa. What do each of these relationships signify to Halina? How do her feelings towards each of these people change as Halina changes?

  3. The three main characters in the book, Halina, Reuven, and Batya, all have differing notions of faith. Discuss how each of them examines his or her faith (or lack thereof) in relation to the history of the Holocaust and the events in the book.

  4. One of the positive aspects of Halina's experience is her kinship with nature and love of the woods. Yet many people who escape to the forest, like Mrs. Fiozmann, choose to go back to the ghetto because they can't take the harsh living conditions. What would you do? How well do you think you would be able to survive in the forest?

  5. Mr. Moskin says, "There are tim
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About the Author

D. Dina Friedman
Photo Credit:

D. Dina Friedman

D. Dina Friedman teaches writing at the University of Massachusetts. She has published a number of short stories, poems, articles,and plays in literary journals, and has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This is her first bookfor a younger audience. Ms. Friedman lives in Hadley, Massachusetts.

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