“We Were the Lucky Ones”: The Biggest Differences Between the Novel and Hulu Series Starring Joey King

The book and the series are based off of Hunter’s family’s experiences during World War II

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> A scene from

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

A scene from 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Note: This post contains major spoilers for the novel and show We Were the Lucky Ones.

The Hulu limited series We Were the Lucky Ones sees its series finale Thursday, May 2.

Both the show and its source material — the 2017 novel of the same name by Georgia Hunter — follow the Kurc family, who are Polish and Jewish, throughout World War II. Once the war began, the family was scattered across the globe, in places like a ship on the Mediterranean to a Siberian labor camp, and went years without knowing where some members were.

The story is based upon the the author’s family’s experiences and stories of survival. Hunter wrote and researched the sprawling novel for nearly a decade, spending time in her family’s Radom hometown and in museums, as well as interviewing her relatives and their descendants.

“I went into this particular project as a family historian, not really as an author,” Hunter told PEOPLE of the novel. “I had never written a book before, so I set out in 2008 to unearth and record the family story.”

Related: We Were the Lucky Ones Author Georgia Hunter Felt ‘Like My Ancestors Were There With Me’ on Set of New TV Series (Exclusive)

The Hulu series stars Logan Lerman as Addy Kurc and Joey King as Halina Kurc. The cast also features Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Genek Kurc, Hadas Yaron as Mila Kurc, Amit Rahav as Jakob Kurc, Robin Weigert as Nechuma Kurc, Lior Ashkenazi as Sol Kurc, Sam Woolf as Adam, Michael Aloni as Selim, Eva Feiler as Bella and Moran Rosenblatt as Herta.

Though the series stays close to its source material — Hunter also served as an executive producer on the show — there are some slight changes. Here are some of the biggest differences between Hunter’s novel and the Hulu series.

The series and the novel begin differently

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Logan Lerman as Addy in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Logan Lerman as Addy in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

In the novel, readers are first introduced to Addy, who, in 1939, is living in Paris and is unable to go back home to Poland for Passover. He has just received a letter from his mother, who warns him that it’s too dangerous to travel across German borders at the start of the war.

The series starts out differently, and utilizes a nonlinear timeline. The show opens with the Kurc's youngest child, Halina, at a Red Cross office in Poland in 1945. Halina receives word that her brother, Genek, sister-in-law Herta and brother-in-law, Selim, are alive. The show then cuts to 1938, when Addy returns to Poland from Paris, and the family celebrates their last Passover together before the war.

Bella doesn't travel to Lvov alone

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Eva Feiler as Bella and Amit Rahav as Jakob in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Eva Feiler as Bella and Amit Rahav as Jakob in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

The Kurc family begin to get seperated from one another at the start of the war. Jakob, the Kurc’s youngest son, leaves for Lvov to fight in the military, and his girlfriend, Bella, decides to travel to meet him and to be closer to her sister, Anna.

Related: Everything to Know About Joey King, Logan Lerman and the Rest of the 'We Were the Lucky Ones' Cast

In the novel, Bella attempts the journey to Lvov alone, traveling by horse and wagon by a man named Tomek. In the show, however, Halina accompanies her. The two are turned back at gunpoint after German officers discover that they are Jewish. Halina and Bella eventually make it to Lvov on their own, where Bella and Jakob get married in a secret ceremony.

A new scene involving Genek is added to the show

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Genek in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Genek in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

A new scene is added to the TV series, taking place when the eldest Kurc child, Genek, and his wife, Herta, are working in a Siberian labor camp after Genek is arrested by soldiers and deemed an enemy of the state. Genek didn’t disclose that he was Jewish and Polish before renting an apartment. 

At the camp, Genek attempts to get a doctor and time off for Herta, who is pregnant, but his requests are denied. When his food rations are cut after he didn't show up for work (a prison guard who originally gave him permission later denied doing so), Genek loses his temper and tells off the Commandant about the unfair treatment of prisoners in the camp.

No such scene happens in the novel, though Herta and Genek’s son, Józef, is still born in the labor camp.

Mila leaves her job as a nanny under slightly different circumstances

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Hadas Yaron as Mila in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Hadas Yaron as Mila in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

During the war, Mila takes a job as a nanny for a German family, but ultimately has to leave. In the novel, she resigns from her job after her boss confronts her about visiting a seamstress, who is helping Mila to hide her daughter, Felicia, in a Włocławek convent under a false name.

In the series, Mila is confronted by her boss after she takes her boss’s son, Edgar, to the park. Edgar is playing a game with other children, where they are pretending to be soldiers and Jews, and complains to Mila about having “to be a Jew.” Mila and her boss get into an argument afterward with her boss saying that Edgar “was accused of being a Jew.”

Both versions of the story see Mila’s boss hitting her over the head with a vase, and Mila vowing to never return to work there.

Related: Joey King Calls Holocaust Tale We Were the Lucky Ones 'Deeply Personal': Some Nights 'It Was Really Hard' (Exclusive)

Adam goes with Mila to find Felicia after a bombing in Warsaw

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Belle Swarc as Felicia in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Belle Swarc as Felicia in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

One of the most harrowing moments in the show and novel is when Mila goes to rescue Felicia in the aftermath of bombing in Warsaw. In the novel, Mila arrives at the convent and searches for her daughter with Tymoteusz, the father of another child.

In the show, Halina’s partner, Adam, goes with Mila to rescue Felicia. Eventually, Mila and Adam, along with Halina, parents Sol and Nechuma, and Felicia embark on a journey through the Alps to reunite with Selim, Genek and Herta once the family learns that they are alive.

Addy learns of his family’s survival while with different people

<p>Vlad Cioplea/Hulu</p> Logan Lerman as Addy in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

Vlad Cioplea/Hulu

Logan Lerman as Addy in 'We Were the Lucky Ones'

A touching scene in both versions of the story sees Addy receiving news that his family is alive, while he’s living in Brazil. In the book, Addy learns of his family’s survival while with his friend Sebastian, a writer from Poland, who also traveled with Addy on the ship Cabo de Hornos.

Related: Author Georgia Hunter ‘Started Bawling' When Watching Logan Lerman Film We Were the Lucky Ones (Exclusive)

In the show, Addy receives the good news while he is with Eliska, his ex-fiancée. In the series, Addy and Eliska stayed in touch, even after they called off their engagement, and Addy began a relationship with an American woman named Caroline.

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