Jack and Rochelle are the captivating stories of the passion and rebellion of two adolescents on the run who fall in love during the Second World War. The two find themselves in a dangerous country, tracked down, betrayed, and surrounded by strangers, including Russian partisans, who viewed the Jews as enemies. The essay will respond to the insights of the novel, especially the themes of bravery and survival that arise from the plot.
In the novel, it is amazing how brave the two were to be soldiers, considering the fact that their families were slaughtered in the early days of Nazi occupation, leaving only one with a parent to call the family. The situation did not render them heart-broken, but they escaped and joined small atrads, partisan, marooned communities in Nalibocka forest. Here, they armed themselves and conducted food raids against Polish farms and German supply lines. Vigilance, personal determination, planning, mutual resilience was the art of survival that they had fully embraced.
After the “liberation” in Poland by the Red Army in 1994, being a Jew remained dangerous, and therefore, Jack and Rochelle attempted to return but realized that there was no home to go back to, only a devastated ruin (Sutin and Rochelle 71). Since no one wanted them again, they moved to West Berlin which was close to America as this would give them the hope of immigrating to America as displaced persons.
In this regard, it is very evident that the two individuals faced intense ordeals, but they were determined to survive. Rochelle admits, “we didn’t expect to live that long. We just decided that we didn’t want to be killed” (Sutin and Rochelle 73). The statement, therefore, signifies the hope they had of surviving despite slim chances of seeing the next light. Going through such sufferings and gathering the strength to face the challenges that might come their way is an example of a courageous move of eliminating the dangers they encounter.
The story presents two people who developed inseparable relationship amid the horrors of war. As one would expect, wartime is never the best time to form meaningful relationships, and deep feelings gave way to uncertainty and fear between them. However, they establish a long-lasting partnership. Moreover, the narration gives the lesson of perseverance. Being able to transit emotionally from wartime and frustrations to a world of profound human commitment and hope makes the narrative address courage.
Theme of Survival
From the story, Jack and Rochelle’s troubles never ended with the defeat of Nazis. Upon their return to their hometowns, they found that most of their polish neighbors hated them and wished they had never survived (Sutin and Rochelle, 202). The Soviets conscripted the partisan fighters into their army, to fight and likely die on the front.
After many hardships and trials, the couple together with their daughter finally ended up in Minnesota. Their story published in 1949 by a local paper, was inspiring to many, the difficult time and how they emerged as Holocaust two survivors. The point of view is a memoir of the authors in which they describe their situation as “individual lives that cannot be encompassed by the horrific statistic of “six million” (Sutin and Rochelle 206).
The surviving story of Jack and Rochelle and how they found love in each other despite their situation would be striking and appealing emotionally to the readers. Initially, the two were acquaintances before the Nazi occupation, but when they meet again after escaping the ghettos, hiding with the Jewish partisans in the Belorussian forest known as Naliboki, Jack leads a small band of Jewish partisans in action against the Germans for their survival (Sutin and Rochelle 243). When describing their experiences the two take turns, sometimes interjecting a sentence in others narrative.
The recounting of Sutin’s memoir revolves around the war and the experiences the two individuals take to survive. In particular, the focus of the story is the Holocaust and resistance of the Jewish in which Sutin leads the opposition at one point for the objective of staying alive. The reasons for escaping the ghetto after the break out of the war are different and how they see their chances of survival varies. While Jack had to fight to survive, Rochelle could only wait for her Death through the words “walked in her own grave” (Sutin and Rochelle 254). However, the two individuals meet, and together they renew their hope of getting out of the nightmare. Therefore, the challenges faced by the two individuals, especially under the Red Army and German invasion in 1939 and 1941 respectively, are significant as the central description of their survival.
Conclusively, the encounters of Jack and Rochelle as observed in the story draws out numerous lessons. Courage and bearing the traits of survival are critical elements noted in the book. The general story ranges from extreme horror to unimaginable survival.
Sutin, Jack, and Rochelle Sutin. Jack and Rochelle: A Holocaust Story of Love and Resistance. Open Road Media, 2015.