Elsa Thon’s family had a tradition of storytelling and her memoir is replete with poems, asides, fables, and family stories. It is a testament to her wit, intelligence, humour, love, and, most of all, courage. At sixteen, Elsa was an apprentice in a photographic studio when the Nazis occupied her town of Pruszków, Poland. Later, she was recruited by the Underground, supplied with false papers and helped to escape from the Krakow ghetto. “Passing” as a gentile, she was eventually betrayed and spent the rest of the war in forced labour camps. If Only It Were Fiction is a striking coming-of-age story of a young woman who, despite her deep belief in destiny, refuses to bow to her fate as a Jew in war-torn Poland.

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