The Secret Seder book cover Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.

Jacques, a Belgian Jew, and his parents are hiding in Nazi-occupied France during World War II, pretending to be Catholics. On the first night of Passover, they risk their lives to gather with other Jews and celebrate the holiday of Passover at a secret Seder in the mountains. The Secret Seder is based on a true story of Armand Mednicki (now Mednick) and his father, Bernard.


Sidney Taylor, Honor Book, Association of Jewish Librarians


“Rappaport captures the electric energy of suspense and danger swirling around Jacques’s family as well as the courage and abiding faith that bolster them and their fellow Jews in the shadow of atrocity. McCully’s watercolors depict sun-dappled village streets and storefronts as well as the shadowy green mountainside with an equally palpable sense of place. The portraits of Jacques and the Jewish men—ranging from tense to anguished to ultimately somewhat peaceful—bring the tale to life.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Rappaport draws on Holocaust history to imagine a small French boy, Jacques, living in an occupied village, who, with his father, evades soldiers to attend a secret seder. This book doesn’t sensationalize the brutality, but sadness and terror are all around–as is the courage of those who resist.” Kirkus Reviews

“Some of the men at the seder table are sobbing; some can barely speak; but even in the darkness and sorrow, Jacques finds community and strength in the history of his people.” – Booklist

“Rappaport interweaves themes and descriptive text to create a meaningful story in a distinctive setting.” – School Library Journal

The Secret Seder Excerpt


Dobra-Wola, Poland, April 1942, A Passover Seder in the ghetto:
passover seder
What is the story of Passover?

Story of a secret seder in the Vaihingen Concentration Camp, Germany:
Story of a secret seder in the Vaihingen Concentration Camp, Germany

Young Itzhak

Young Itzhak

Itzhak In 2011

Itzhak In 2011

An Interview with Itzhak Milchberg. On April 19, 1943, 12-year-old Itzhak who posed as a non-Jew outside the Warsaw Ghetto walls, crept back into the ghetto to celebrate Passover. 1943, Click Here to Listen to the Interview

Read Lindsay K’s interview with his grandfather, Jan Menchel, a Czech Jew who survived the Holocaust. Included in his story is Passover 1944 when a German soldier broke into their home during the dinner and pointed a gun at the family: Click Here to Read Interview


Starwalk Kids Media Learning Guides

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