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December 16, 1990|Charles Solomon

A CHILD'S WAR: World War II Through the Eyes of Children by Kati Davis (Avon: $7.95) Originally published in Holland, this collection of first-person recollections includes accounts from all areas of Europe. Not surprisingly, the memories vary widely. An Italian girl recalls her father's twisted hands after he was tortured for his role in the Resistance. A British schoolboy's eagerness to fight "the Jerries" faded when he saw a newspaper with unbelievable photographs of concentration camps and "living skulls looking at you with huge eyes." The most common reaction to the war was incomprehension: Why did a relative die in battle or have to flee because he was Jewish? A Czech dental technician, haunted by his memories of the neighbors who abused and starved the Jewish child they agreed to hide, sadly reflects, "Human cruelty is always waiting for an opportunity--it is waiting for that opportunity even now."

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