November 10, 2021

Traitors Among Us

Written by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
288 pp.
Ages 8-13
September 2021
Do what you can, Maria, instead of worrying about what you can't. (pg. 21)

Everyone has their story. But is it the one they lived or just a story? Among the refugees from the Nazis, there are both kinds of stories, and sisters Krystia and Maria Fediuk from Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's earlier books, Don't Tell the Nazis and Trapped in Hitler's Web, can only be sure of what they've lived through and what they are willing to share.

It's June 1945 and the two Ukrainian sisters have made their way, separately and then together, from their town of Viteretz through Austria and now into the Karlsfeld camp in the American Zone in Germany, hopeful that this stop will help get them to their aunt and uncle in Toronto. But the Soviets, under the guise of repatriating refugees from Eastern Europe but really to punish them as traitors and silence them, take Krystia and Maria and several others into the Soviet Zone for interrogation before choosing how to deal with them.

With fellow prisoners Sophie, a former Hitler Girl, and Volksdeutsche father and son Elias and Finn, they are locked away, fearful that their roles in helping both the Ukrainian Insurgent Army and Jews escape will have them sent to Siberia or worse. Drawing strength from their memories of their father and their mother, the girls make sure that they tell only one story, regardless of threat of death or worries for the other. But will it be enough to keep them alive? And who can they trust? When anyone can be a traitor, whether lowly prisoner, local cook or NKVD officer, the girls know only that they can rely on each other. They may only be 14 and 16 years of age, but Maria and Krystia have a lifetime of strength and suffering to help them survive.
Traitors Among Us (2021)
If you've read the first two books in Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's trilogy about the Fediuk sisters, and I encourage all readers to immerse themselves in these earlier stories, you'll know the depth of heartache and hardship that Krystia and Maria and others have endured at the hands of the Nazis and the Soviets. Their experiences are not foreign to most in western Ukraine who were wedged between two dangerous oppressors and hoped that immigration to other countries might help them survive. Old enemies or new enemies are still enemies. From the girls' terror of Soviet and Nazi occupation in Ukraine, their enslavement by the Nazis and finally their seeking refuge with the Allies before imprisonment as traitors to the Soviets, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch informs young readers about stories seldom told of World War II. War is not just for soldiers and sometimes the civilians living through it are young people and their stories are compelling and tragic. But Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, a master storyteller of historical fiction as well as of picture books, non-fiction and realistic middle-grade and YA, takes us to those war-torn countries to travel with the girls as they walk dusty roads with thousands of refugees, toil on farms, hide from dangerous people, and find and offer support, even as they endure hunger, cold, fear and uncertainty. Every atmospheric scene is one of edge-of-your-seat nerves, worry that the next ally they make may not be one, shock at executions witnessed, and solace from a sisterly bond and fleeting memories of home.
There have always been traitors among them, but Krystia and Maria are able to find the hope and strength to achieve an ending to their story that satisfies, courtesy of Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, and young readers will appreciate that ending, acknowledge the stories that took them there and learn the history that started them on those journeys.
• • • • • • •
Author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch will launch her new book virtually through the Brantford Public Library on December 1st. Register at for an opportunity to hear this acclaimed author speak and read from Traitors Among Us.


  1. Helen, wow! Thank you for the beautiful review! You've made my day!

  2. Marsha is a great writer. I need to get this book!

    1. The whole series is powerful in its storytelling. "Traitors Among Us" completes it so well.