Briar Rose #2


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  • "'Kulmhof! My God!'"(96).
  • "'It says, well it looks like... Kulmhof or Kelmhof or maybe hef'"(95).
  • "'I came here to find that out. About my family'"(147).
  • "'I have a friend who is in Bydgoszcz- Josef Potocki. . . . If I know much about what happens now in Chelmno, he knows everything about what happened then'"(147).
  • "'Of course- I should have seen it at once. You are her. Księżniczka'"(156).
  • Becca looks over Gemma's papers for more answers and finds a word crossed out under Last Permanent Address. She looks closely at the paper and is able to make out the word Kulmhof. She calls Harvey, the man from Fort Oswego, and asks where Kulmof is. He tells her it is an extermination camp in Poland that no woman every escaped from. As soon as Becca hears this information she plans a trip to Poland.
  • "'We wish to be married'"(217).
  • "'I am with child. And I will not let it die'"(221).
  • Becca arrives in Poland and meets her translator Magda. They make their way to Chelmno, the Germans called it Kulmhof and the Polish called it Chelmno, where no one will talk to them except a priest. The priest directs them to Josef Potocki who will be able to answer more of Becca's questions.
  • "'And I told you more of the truth than I have ever told anyone. I gave Księżniczka the breath of life and she in turn gave it to you. How could I not tell you the truth of that?'"(230).
  • "'You said you were not a hero, that there were no heroes. But I think you were a hero. And so was my Gemma'"(230).
  • Magda and Becca meet Josef and while hey are talking they realize that Josef helped Gemma escape to America. Josef was travelling around Poland with a partisan when they came across Gemma in a mass grave.  another group member pulled Gemma out of the grave when he noticed she was moving and they were able to revive her.
  • "'Family stories are like that'"(236).
  • "'I found out most of the story but not all'"(236).
  • When she awoke the only she remembered was the story of Briar Rose. Gemma stayed with the partisan group and ended up falling in love with Avenger, the man who saved her from the grave. They got married and Gemma got pregnant. As a group they decided to go back to Chelmno where Avenger was shot and killed along with a few other group members. Josef and Gemma decided it was best for Gemma to escape to America and that was the last time Josef saw Gemma.
  • Many of Becca's questions are answered including, who her grandfather is, why her grandmother was known as Księżniczka, how Gemma got to America, and where the story of Briar Rose came form. She thanked Josef for his time.
  • Becca heads back to America but is still not satisfied with the information she has gained. She has received closure of her grandmother's death but now has to come to terms with the fact that she will never be able to know anything about Gemma before the time she got gassed. Becca now has a lot of knowledge about Gemma but her favourite thing will always be the story of Briar Rose.
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