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Behind the Bedroom Wall

Behind the Bedroom Wall

4.5 59
by Laura E. Williams, A. Nancy Goldstein (Illustrator)

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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


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.

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
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.

Product Details

Milkweed Editions
Publication date:
Historical Fiction for Young Readers
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Age Range:
8 - 13 Years

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Behind the Bedroom Wall 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 59 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book is a good book. i don't know what it is about this book i just can't put it down its so interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a really clever way to write about the Holocaust... you rarely see it from a German's point of view. a pretty easy read for a 6th or 7th grader. but bad ending, it feels like the author just got bored of writing 3/4ths of the way through and decided to stop :(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was on the summer reading list for my daughter's 6th grade Honor's ELA class. We purchased it this afternoon on Nook, and just finished it! I read it aloud to her, and we were both completely immersed from the start. There is one sentence that I couldn't finish without tears. The evolution of Korinna's thinking is truthful and redeeming. The suffering and judgement and loss that take place are real and it's uncomfortable at times to think about. So many aspects of life for all of us to consider, even now. Especially the last few lines...about freedom...and love. Only one complaint, and that is the fact that 2 pages were missing from the Nook version. At the most crucial moments, too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is cool b/c it is one of the few books that tell it from a non jews point of vew
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book we r reading it in reading class im on chapter 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved this book it was very exciting and unpredictable
i leaned a lot about the holocast from this book
it was just very interesting and recomend it 100%
Guest More than 1 year ago
Germany¿s Style Behind The Bedroom Wall, some people ask ¿what are you talking about¿, but the ones who have read it know what I am talking about. Well if you don¿t know listen up because I am going to tell you. It is a fantastic book. It has a little mystery, a lot of suspense, and a whole lot of fun (not in prejudice way). But this book is highly recommended by a lot of people including me.¿Whats so special about the book¿, well a bunch of things. If you haven¿t read it I will tell you a portion of it. Well it starts as a young girl named Korrina, who lives in Germany and is supposedly called a loyal German. She has 2 best friends one called Rita and the other called Eva. She goes to school like everyone else and goes home like everyone else. So the day starts normal and she goes to school. On the way there her friend Rita catches up with her and they walk to school together. So Rita starts talking about how her brother Hans (also a German officer) had busted the butcher called Haase, for hiding Jews in his house. ¿He got sent to a concentration camp¿ said Rita. They continued walking until they got to school. When the day was over Korrina went to her Fungmadel meeting where they worshiped Hitler and Germany. When she got back from her meeting she got home greeted her mother, ate, and went to bed (this would be a normal day). The next few days continued like that, but during the days she heard some scurrying noises in her wall, and suspected it was mice. Then one day when she came home she greeted her mother, and called down her dad for dinner. When they had finished her dad told her that a present was waiting for her next to his boots. She got there there was a box with holes punched in it. As she opened it inside she saw a blob of black and white fur. It was a little kitten. Here father said to her as she cuddled the fur ball, that it was for the mice in the walls. She had token him out of the box and hugged him as she went to sleep. During the next few days, her teacher was arrested and when she went home she figured out that her parents were traitors!!!!! They had been hiding the Enemy (the Jews). Is she a loyal German? Will she tell on her parents? What will happen if she doesn¿t tell? Will she warm up to the idea of liking Jews. These Questions can only be answered in the book. One more question. Will you take the amazing adventure and read the book? That question only you can answer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to read it and you will to!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such good book u should read it i dont like to read but this book helped a lot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have this book at my library and iin the middle of reading right now i think on page 12 and its a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very interesting. I wish it would tell us more about what happens next. I highly recommend this book to everyone 10+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just love this book! I am 8,this is a lot like number the stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Korinna, a 13-year-old German couldn't ask for a better life. She had great friends, great family who were all loyal to Hitler, and was in the Jungmadel group. But when she finds Jews behind her wall, she is crushed. Korinna suddenly realizes she must pick whom to trust, whom to love
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not set it down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So full if meaning. Laura did a great job. Soneone named Eva by joan m. Wolf is sooo much better though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!!!!!!!! Iam German and this is not fare!!!!!!!! But is a great book!!!!!!!!!Great characters and strong words!!!!!!! I read it in 3 days and enjoyed every bit of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unexpecred things happen in this book.it's one of the best books i have ever read. The things that happen in this book could have happend to u if u were alive at that time.if i were alive at that time i would do what her parents have done. This book is awesome.if u start readig this book someone else will have to wake u up from. If someonetalks to u when u were in middle of reading u will get really mad. Just saying dont stop reading. :) & : - l
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book is good because one of the groups in my class are reading this book i think this is a swell book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book first one i actually finished in 3 weeks