One of the main historical events that this novel talks about is the Velodrome d’Hiver Roundup. This was a massive arrest which took place on July 16 and 17, 1942 in Paris France. The Nazis ordered this roundup but it was the French police who carried it out. 13,152 victims were arrested and held at this stadium until they were shipped on cattle trains to Auschwitz. There they faced extermination. This novel examines the story of Sarah Starzynski, a young girl who escapes from this camp and is taken in by a farmer and his wife. Although this is not a true story, many of the events reflect what so many Jews went through at this time.
“Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup.” Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 09feb2011. Web. 24 Mar 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vel’_d’Hiv_Roundup>.