The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr
Kalinka is a young Jewish girl in the Ukraine during 1941. Her family along with most of her village has been killed when Germany’s SS soldiers invaded her country. She is completely alone until she meets two Przewalski horses. They seem to realize that she is no threat to them and that they are actually comrades. The SS soldiers have killed all the other horses on the State Steppe Nature Reserve of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
It is here that she meets Max. He works and lives at the Reserve taking care of all of the animals. After she meets Max, they must flee again from the Nazis who are intent on taking out all three of them.
Kalinka and her party of animals must do whatever is necessary to survive, including the wild horses allowing her to ride on their backs. While on the run, they discover the depravity of humans – people who would eat any of them and people who in other circumstances would have allowed them to stay in their barn, if not for the war. Eventually she finds her way to safety for herself and the last two Steppe horses.
This is a must read that shows what war can do to people from the two extremes of violence versus simple acts of kindness.
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