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The Secret Of Priest's Grotto

The Secret Of Priest's Grotto   

Price: $8.95 

Through dramatic contemporary and period photographs and an articulate, hardhitting narrative, this volume relays the tale of 38 Ukrainian Jews who sought refuge in a local cave to escape the invading Nazis in fall of 1942 and remained there for 344 days-reportedly longer than any other known human has ever lived underground. After Nicola, a veteran American caver, viewed evidence of human habitation while exploring the labyrinthine cave known as Popowa Yama, or Priest's Grotto, he was inspired to investigate the story behind these artifacts. A request for information he posted on a Web site finally brought a response from the son-in-law of one of the wartime cave residents, who in turn directed Nicola to fellow survivors, his cousins in Montreal. Drawing on heartrending conversations with these individuals and a privately published memoir by Esther Stermer, the stalwart matriarch who insisted that her family "would not let the Germans have their way easily," the authors share the details of the clan's harrowing ordeal, which demanded near superhuman physical and emotional endurance, courage, loyalty and unity. In tandem with this historical tale, Nicola and Taylor (a writer, photographer and filmmaker) reveal in words and photos their recent explorations of the 70-foot-deep cave, and their discoveries of the survival tools and belongings the inhabitants left behind. At once sobering and uplifting, this is an astounding story of survival, powerfully told. Ages 10-up. Pb, 64 pp. 2007.

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