The holocaust, it seems, has fired the imaginations of more writers, film makers and other artists than any other event in history. And yet new stories, new ways of approaching the subject continue to emerge. Sarah’s Key, set partly in 2002 and partly in 1942, succeeds so well because it makes the history so personal.
The dark secret at the heart of the story not only brings shame on France, but on the family of the protagonist’s husband. The image of a small boy locked in a cupboard by a sister anxious to keep him from the Nazis in the wake of the family’s betrayal by their neighbours, is haunting. (The stench of the family’s dead cat, also abandoned in the locked apartment, hides the child’s fate from those who benefit from his family’s eviction.)
And so Sarah’s Key reminds of us how much we all benefit from sins committed not so long ago and warns that those on the other side of the fence are not so far away.