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The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow

The Girl in the Green Sweater, written by coauthors Krystyna Chiger and Daniel Paisner, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2008.[1][2]

The Girl in the Green Sweater
Authors Krystyna Chiger & Daniel Paisner
Country United States
Language English
Genre Nonfiction
Publisher St. Martin's Press
Publication date
30 September 2008
Media type Hardcover
Pages 288 pp
ISBN 978-0-312-37656-7



The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in the Holocaust’s Shadow is a book written by Krystyna Chiger and Daniel Paisner following the early life of Krystyna Chiger as she escapes Nazi concentration camps with her family. Living in Poland, Lvov, which is now a part of the Ukraine, Chiger and her family members are forced into the sewers of her city to escape German forces who threaten the lives of her entire community. Their escape begins in September of 1939 when Germans first began invading the city of Lvov, and Chiger is just starting kindergarten. Once German troops successfully conquered Lvov, Chiger’s family and the rest of the Jewish people in the city were forced to a district nicknamed “the ghetto.” Once placed into a new home, her father constructed a multitude of secret hiding places for her and her brother to stay in. They hid there for hours, with a small amount of food and a bedpan. In addition, they had to be perfectly silent, risking capture with the slightest noise. In May of 1943, just before the final “liquidation” of her community, a small group moved into the sewers through a secret hole her father had been digging for weeks using spoons, forks and other small tools. While there, her grandmother knit her a green woolen sweater to keep warm, inspiring the title of her book. When describing her experience in the sewers, Chiger mentions a Polish Catholic sewer worker named Leopold Socha. At first, he would bring the group food in exchange for money, but even as the family could no longer provide compensation, he continued. She accounts that Socha would also take their clothes to be cleaned, even with the risk of being caught. The Chigers nicknamed him “the angel” because he would go above and beyond to help him, mentioning a time when her voice was lost due to shock and Sochias helped her get it back. Sochias brought her to a manhole cover and lifted her up to show her the world outside the sewers, filling her with hope and inspiring her voice. The group endured several life threatening events inside the sewers, including serious flooding and a large fire. She says, when talking about her experience, “We could somehow always come up with something that would make us burst out laughing. I think that this saved us too. It saved our minds.” Of the 150,000 Jews living Lvov, only three families survived, the Chiger family being one of them.[3]


To avoid Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust in Ukraine, Krystyna Chiger and her family hide in the sewers of Lvov. To keep warm, Chiger's grandmother knits her a green sweater, which is now in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.[4]

About the AuthorEdit

After escaping from the sewers of Lvov, Krystyna Chiger and her family moved to Israel. There, she studied to become a dentist and Chiger and her husband immigrated to the United States. They now live in Long Island, New York and Krystyna Chiger is retired. She is married to a man named Marian who is also a Holocaust survivor. She has two children and two grandchildren. Her brother, Powel, was killed in a car accident when he was 39 years old. He had two children and four grandchildren who now live in Israel. Her father passed away in 1975 and her mother passed away in 2000, at 91 years old. Krystyna Chiger is the only living eyewitness of what happened in the sewers of Lvov. In addition, Chiger’s infamous green sweater is now on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


The story was told in the Polish film, In Darkness (2011) which was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of best foreign language film.[5] Chiger was not able to be consulted during the filming, as the director, Agnieszka Holland, did not know that there were any survivors.[6]


  1. ^ "The Girl in the Green Sweater: A Life in Holocaust's Shadow". Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "THE GIRL IN THE GREEN SWEATER". Kirkus Reviews. 20 May 2010. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Linde, Steve (27 May 2012). "'Grandma, you are a celebrity!'". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 5 November 2014. 
  5. ^ Knegt, Peter. "2012 Oscar Predictions: Best Foreign Language Film". Retrieved 4 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Applebaum, Stephen (23 March 2012). "'These were terrible times': the true story behind In Darkness". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2014.