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Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

    This is an amazing portrayal of Lily Renée's escape from the Nazis and her youthful tenacity ...

    The cobblestone streets of 1938 Vienna were calm and peaceful as people made their way through to shop or head to one of many cultural exhibits the city had to offer. Lily Renée Wilhelm lacked for nothing as her father, Rudolph, was the manager of the Holland America line, a premier transatlantic steamship company know for their "elegant vacation cruises". Lily was introduced to such things as the ballet, opera, and took dance and art lessons. At a local gallery, people clustered around to get a look at the work of such a young artist, but Lily's hopes and dreams would suddenly come to a jarring halt on on March 12, 1938 when "Hitler's Nazi army invaded Austria." Hitler's dream of Anschluss had quickly dashed Lily's dreams and brought fear into the Wilhelm household. Some Austrians were excited when the Nazi's marched through the streets, but Jews were not ... the Wilhelm's were Jewish.

    Lily Renée's family soon had many of their personal possessions confiscated. Displaced Jews were forcibly moved to Vienna and made to live with other familys, including the Wilhelm's. Merchants had to mark their store windows to identify themselves and many of Lily's friends chose to ignore and bully her. Jude. She was a Jude. Violence and change was on the horizon. The family grew more and more worried, especially when the Gestapo sent Uncle Samuel to Dachau. More and more restrictions came raining down on the heads of Jews in Vienna. In Berlin Herschel Grynzpan grew angry at the "brutal treatment of his family by the Nazi [and] had shot and killed a German diplomat." Soon the windows of merchants were shattered on Kristallnacht. It was time for Lily to leave and she would join the Kindertransport to escape the Nazis. Would she make it safely to England? Would she ever see her parents again or would they end up in a concentration camp like Uncle Samuel?

    This is an amazing portrayal of Lily Renée's escape from the Nazis and her youthful tenacity. Many graphic novels quickly draw me in, but this one more than others. One of the fascinating things was that Lily was a female pioneer of the comic book heroine. The ultimate revenge perhaps is to succeed, something that both Lily and Trina Robbins have both done as pioneers in their field. Trina was and illustrator of the 1960s Wonder Woman comic books. This novel may not appeal to the reader who enjoys a simple tale, a twisted sci fi, or mystery, but will definitely draw in the more serious reader and the collector.

    The artwork is crisp, bold, and meshes well with the serious nature of the tale. In the back of the book is a glossary, information on concentration camps, internment camps, British customs, English coinage, information about period British politicians Chaberlain and Churchill, a portrait of Queen Wilhemina, information on the Holland America line, the Horn & Hardart Automat, wartime comic book artists, and a photo album of Lily Renée and her family. This is a graphic novel that can easily be used as a stepping stone for a school report. This is an unusual biographical Holocaust novel that you should seriously considering adding to your homeschool, library or classroom shelves.


    This book courtesy of the publisher

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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