Good-Bye Marianne: A Story of Growing up in Nazi Germany

Overview

A heartbreaking story of loss and love.

As autumn turns toward winter in 1938 Berlin, life for Marianne Kohn, a young Jewish girl, begins to crumble. First there was the burning of the neighbourhood shops. Then her father, a mild-mannered bookseller, must leave the family and go into hiding. No longer allowed to go to school or even sit in a café, Marianne’s only comfort is her beloved mother. Things are bad, but could they get even worse? Based on true events, this fictional ...

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Good-Bye Marianne: A Story of Growing up in Nazi Germany

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Overview

A heartbreaking story of loss and love.

As autumn turns toward winter in 1938 Berlin, life for Marianne Kohn, a young Jewish girl, begins to crumble. First there was the burning of the neighbourhood shops. Then her father, a mild-mannered bookseller, must leave the family and go into hiding. No longer allowed to go to school or even sit in a café, Marianne’s only comfort is her beloved mother. Things are bad, but could they get even worse? Based on true events, this fictional account of hatred and racism speaks volumes about both history and human nature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Watts’s book . . . succeeds because it leaves readers wanting urgently to know what happened next.” — Quill and Quire

“. . . an extremely poignant and moving account . . .”
Winnipeg Free Press

Children's Literature - Ali Fell
It is 1938 and Marianne, a young Jewish girl, is living in Berlin. The story begins just a week after Kristelnacht, a night when the most fanatical of Hitler's followers destroyed synagogues and businesses owned by Jews, beat up Jews, and burned Torah scrolls and books. Rather rapidly, Marianne's daily life is restricted by her peers' changing attitudes and by Nazi laws against Jews. Marianne's father is taken to one of the first German labor camps, but he escapes. Her mother reluctantly sends Marianne to England, where she hopes that life might be normal and safe for her daughter. Marianne shows courage as she makes the transition. The talented author was able to communicate that, since the characters do not yet know the future for Jews, there is no sense of panic as events unfold. The husk of Marianne's and her family's emotions are communicated in dialogue throughout the story, but the kernel of those feelings are most successfully revealed in pictures. The story is told in the form of a graphic novel. The illustrations are brilliant. They are drawn in shades of gray and they accurately capture details of German life in 1938—the bratwurst booths; the park benches; the multistoried, stone schoolhouse; and more. The pictures put the actions of Marianne's family and other German Jews into a realistic context. The book is a top choice for classroom use as it can be read quickly by almost every middle school student and presents many topics for discussion and a stimulus for art projects. Reviewer: Ali Fell
VOYA - Kristin Fletcher-Spear
In this graphic adaptation of an autobiographical novel set in 1938 Berlin, Marianne is a kind eleven-year-old girl who struggles through the discrimination and hatred of the Jewish population in Germany. The illustrations showcase the bigotry as she is expelled from school and befriended by an Aryan girl until she is discovered as a Jew. Her father is in hiding for stocking banned books in his bookstore. Her mother is forced to consider her options of keeping her daughter safe when they are evicted from their apartment. When an orphan is too ill to travel, Marianne is given the spot on the train and then the boat to the safety of England. As adaptations go, the story transitions smoothly, with very few leaps in the plot line where the readers could become confused. The story itself is an interesting glimpse at the racism faced by a young girl in a dangerous time. The graphic novel could have been more successful with a different artist who is more skilled in sequential artwork. The individual black-and-white pencil artwork is mediocre but realistic looking. When combined to flow as a story, however, the panels are weak. The artwork would have been better in color or at least with inking to highlight the images. The panels themselves are sloppily drawn. Readers of historical fiction who are looking for graphic novels about this period might want the book, but otherwise it is a title easily passed over for more popular offerings. Reviewer: Kristin Fletcher-Spear
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
As German Jews realized what was going to happen to them, many of them tried to get out of Germany. If they couldn't, they tried at least to make sure their children would be safe. Trains called Kindertransporte saved thousands of Jewish children, shipping them to England where they would live for the duration of the war. This is the story of one of those children. It follows Marianne Kohn through the autumn of 1938 as her world falls apart, and as her parents try to send her away. A good companion volume to the Edith Baer novels Frost in the Night and Walk the Dark Streets. Heartbreaking, honest, and very readable. Recommended.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-This brief novel opens in Berlin in November, 1938, as 11-year-old Marianne Kohn is forced to leave school because Jewish children are no longer allowed to attend classes with Aryans. She becomes friends with a boy who is visiting in her building, but later learns that Ernest belongs to the Jung Volk, the boy's branch of the Hitler Youth. Their friendship, however, has a contrived happy ending. Meanwhile, Marianne's mother, a volunteer at an orphanage, is busy making arrangements for a Kindertransport, in which hundreds of German Jewish children will be sent to safety in England. When one of the youngsters becomes ill, Mrs. Kohn makes it possible for Marianne to take her place. The story ends as the girl boards the boat taking her to England. Readers are left wondering what happens to her. Even though Watts herself was a participant in a Kindertransport, the story lacks vitality and immediacy. The characterizations are predictable; the story line is slight. Olga Drucker's Kindertransport (Holt, 1992) is a much better choice, giving a more complete portrait of life during this terrible time.-Malka Keck, The Temple Tifereth Israel, Beachwood, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887764455
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 4/28/1998
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 410,322
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 7.67 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Born in Berlin, Germany, Irene Watts was sent to Britain on a kindertransport. Now living in Canada, she is a writer, award-winning playwright, and director who has worked in Canada and Europe in theatre for young audiences.
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