Behind the Bedroom Wall

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Overview

It's 1942. Thirteen-year-old Korinna Rehme is an active member of her local Jungmadel, a Nazi youth group, along with many of her friends. She believes that Hitler is helping Germany by instituting a program to deal with what he calls the "Jewish problem," a program that she witnesses as her Jewish neighbors are attacked and taken from their homes. Korinna's parents, however, are members of a secret underground group providing a means of escape to the Jews of their city. Korinna is shocked to discover that they ...
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Overview

It's 1942. Thirteen-year-old Korinna Rehme is an active member of her local Jungmadel, a Nazi youth group, along with many of her friends. She believes that Hitler is helping Germany by instituting a program to deal with what he calls the "Jewish problem," a program that she witnesses as her Jewish neighbors are attacked and taken from their homes. Korinna's parents, however, are members of a secret underground group providing a means of escape to the Jews of their city. Korinna is shocked to discover that they are hiding a refugee family behind the wall of her bedroom. But as she comes to know the family, her sympathies begin to turn. When someone tips off the Gestapo, loyalties are put to the test and Korinna must decide what she really believes and whom she really trusts. Filled with adventure, Behind the Bedroom Wall helps readers understand the forces that drove so many to turn on their neighbors and the courage that allowed some to resist.

Thirteen-year-old Korinna must decide whether to report her parents to her Hitler youth group when she discovers that they are hiding Jews in a secret space behind Korinna's bedroom wall.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Melodrama substitutes for conflict in this heavy-handed novel set in Nazi Germany. At 13, Korinna Rehme is just like the other members of her girls' youth group: besotted with the Fhrer "Hitler is the most wonderful man, Mother. Don't you think so?" and rabidly anti-Semitic. When she discovers that two Jews, a mother and young daughter, are hiding in her very own house, she is horrified at her parents' calumny. As Korinna weighs the possibility of turning her parents in, her best friend, Rita, begins to grow suspicious and starts laying a deadly trap for the Rehmes and their clandestine guests. Neither subtlety nor insight plays a part in these proceedings: Williams doesn't suggest the attractions of the Hitler youth groups or allow for the range of attitudes within these groups, described so persuasively in such memoirs as Ilse Koehn's Mischling, Second Degree or Hans Peter Richter's I Was There. Instead, the dilemmas faced by these characters come across to the reader as crystal-clear choices between good and evil. This type of simplification makes for bad historyand a flat read. Ages 9-13. July
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8Korinna, 13, loves her country and is active in the Jungmadel, Hitler's youth group for girls. When she learns that her parents are hiding Jews, she is shocked and angry. A series of events, including her reluctant, but growing attachment to the little girl hidden behind the wardrobe in her room, leads her to conclude that the price of being loyal to the Fatherland is too high. It is Korinna's quick thinking that saves the family during a night raid. The atmosphere and mood of the times are palpable, with Korinna and her family forced to flee Germany. If the characters are "types," such as the brave father, the nasty so-called "best" friend, and the vicious Gestapo agent, they are clearly drawn and appropriately employed in a fast-moving, believable plot with an inevitable ending.Amy Kellman, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Hazel Rochman
Korinna is a loyal member of the Hitler Youth in Nazi Germany, and she is appalled to discover that her parents are hiding a Jewish family right there behind her own bedroom wall. Aren't Jews vermin? What if the authorities find out? Should she report her parents as traitors, as she has been taught to do? This novel won the Milkweed Prize for Children's Literature. The history is accurate, and the plot is dramatic; but, unfortunately, the writing is florid, with contrived dialogue and with tears and trembling on every page. The illustrations are awkward and superfluous. Instead of the understatement of Holocaust accounts like Leitner's "The Big Lie 1992, there's melodrama "No more would she walk through the beautiful countryside. No more would she smell the sweet flowers of spring. No more . . ." . Still, readers will be caught by the courage of the Righteous Gentile family and by the changes in Korinna as she gets to know these Jews as people. The ending is taut: Korinna and her parents must go into hiding behind someone else's bedroom wall.
Kirkus Reviews
A loyal member of Hitler's Jungmädel has some choices to make when she discovers that her parents are hiding a Jewish family.

Having uncritically accepted the pervading anti-Semitism and faithfully parroted its slogans, Korinna, 11, is horrified when her wardrobe swings back to reveal Sophie Krugmann and Rachel, her 5-year-old daughter, in a secret room. Does Korinna believe in the party line strongly enough to turn in her own mother and father? In the agony of indecision, Korinna skips school, loses sleep, and arouses the suspicions of her best friend, Rita, whose brother is a Gestapo agent; meanwhile, reluctantly succumbing to Rachel's charms and thinking about how Jews and anyone who associates with them are being brutalized, her attitudes begin to change. Williams (The Long Silk Strand, 1995, etc.) has her young characters obediently repeating patriotic Nazi slogans and promises, but presents counterarguments more subtly, by simply showing the Gestapo's cruelty, Sophie's bitterness and exhaustion, Rachel's fear, and the general climate of repression. In the end, Rita betrays Korinna, but then warns her of the impending raid; the Krugmanns are spirited away just in time, and Korinna's family must also go into hiding. Confusingly, Williams's suggestion in the afterword that freedom may be more important than love isn't a theme she develops in the story, but she pays stirring tribute to the courage and ingenuity some outwardly ordinary people showed in those dark days. With scattered, stiff b&w illustrations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781571316073
  • Publisher: Milkweed Editions
  • Publication date: 6/28/1996
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.61 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

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(11)

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The other side

    You don't always get to hear both sides of the story but in "Behind the bedroom wall" You get just that. We read many books about the jewish people and or the people that hid them in the story is set from one view or the other. This one was different because it begins with a girl who is not only proud of her country but a lover of Hitler and all of the hings he has promised. I enjoyed this book because it goes to show you that people can chagne both for better and worst and it also teachers readers not to follow the crowed. Korrina is hard to symphathize at first of course bcause we know history but for her it hasn't happened yet. It makes you stop and ask youselves what you would do in her shoes.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2006

    Excellent!

    This is a wonderful book!! It describes the story of the Jews in a wonderful way for young adults. The story of Korinna is heart touching and very lovely.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2003

    a suspensful story

    definetly a great book I would highly recommended it.About a girl that struggles with her social life as well as at home during world war two.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2001

    Really Good

    I thought the book was really good. I normally don't read. But at the schools book store i wanted some books about the holucost (sorry i can't spell very well), I was looking around and the title caught my eye. A few weeks later i decided to actually read the book, and well i was done with it bye 2 am. on a school night because i just couldn't put the book down. It can teach alot of kids/teens, how lucky they really are.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2000

    The best book ever

    It was a great book. It was plain and easy. It was about this girl who is German and thinks that Hitler is good. Her parents on the other hand are hiding some jews in a wall behind her book shelf. She soon likes the family and feels seperated from her family and friends. It is an awesome book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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