Remember Me: A Search for Refuge in Wartime Britain

Remember Me: A Search for Refuge in Wartime Britain

by Irene N. Watts

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Young Marianne is one of the lucky ones. She has escaped on one of the first kindertransporte organized to take Jewish children out of Germany to safety in Britain.

At first Marianne is desperate. She does not speak English, she is not welcome in her sponsors’ home, and, most of all, she misses her mother terribly. As the months pass, she realizes


Young Marianne is one of the lucky ones. She has escaped on one of the first kindertransporte organized to take Jewish children out of Germany to safety in Britain.

At first Marianne is desperate. She does not speak English, she is not welcome in her sponsors’ home, and, most of all, she misses her mother terribly. As the months pass, she realizes that she cannot control the circumstances around her. She must rely on herself if she is to survive.

In this exciting companion to Good-bye Marianne, Irene N. Watts has created a memorable character, and a story that is ultimately about hope, not war. Based on true events, this fictional account of hatred and racism speaks volumes about history and human nature.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Eleven-year-old Marianne, a young Jewish girl, is one of the first children to escape Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport, a British program designed to provide homes for refugee children. Alone for the first time in her life, sent to a country where she can't speak the language and customs are strange, Marianne struggles bravely to adjust. The story is touchingly told. The reader will feel how it's not easy to be alone, desperately worried about your family, and living with people who don't necessarily like or understand you. Remember Me is a sequel to Irene Watts' earlier book about growing up Jewish in Nazi Germany, Good-bye Marianne. There are some references to events in that book, and some unanswered questions at the end about what happens to Marianne's family, but history is open-ended and this doesn't detract from the power of the book. The story is based on some of the real situations that young refugees faced. In addition to describing history through the eyes of a child, the book will help readers understand what young refugees today go through as well. 2000, Tundra Books, $6.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Sally Heldrich
Marianne Kohn was last seen in war-ravaged Berlin, fighting to survive with her family under Hitler's oppressive regime in Good-bye Marianne: A Story of Growing Up in Nazi Germany (Tundra, 1998). She is now eleven, her father has gone into hiding, and her mother can no longer guarantee her safety. Through anonymous foreign patrons, a secret rescue mission to London has been arranged aboard the Kindertransporte for Marianne and two hundred other lucky Jewish children. Upon her arrival, Marianne faces an even greater fight adjusting to freedom in an unfamiliar—and not completely welcoming—land. This work of historical fiction remains compelling as Marianne, whose name undergoes revisions to "Mary Anne" and "Mairi" over the course of her foster stays, is jostled from one home to another, wondering if her Mutti will ever cross to the British isles in safety. Throughout her clashes with racist neighbors and unsympathetic schoolmates, Marianne retains a quiet resolve as she bravely waits for any good news. Readers will journey through Marianne's feelings of isolation, confusion, and loss until the final chapter. Unfortunately, not every refugee's story ends so happily. Watts, herself an evacuee from Berlin, brings an eerie sense of detail to the settings, tastes, and accents of wartime Europe. This title not only will generate discussion in an interdisciplinary or humanities class but also might be a great companion for The Diary of Anne Frank and Miriam Bat-Ami's Two Suns in the Sky (Front Street, 1999/VOYA October 1999). VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined asgrades 7 to 9). 2000, Tundra/McClelland & Stewart, 200p, Trade pb. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Beth Gilbert VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
The intricate plot of this well-written book describes a German Jewish girl's adventures with the Kindertransport, an organization that placed children in England during World War II. The surprise ending adds to this very educational (in a non-boring way) story. 2000, Tundra Books, $6.95. Ages 10 to 12. Reviewer: A. Braga SOURCE: Parent Council, September 2001 (Vol. 9, No. 1)
This is a good addition to the WW II historical fiction section. Marianne is an eleven-year-old Jewish girl living in Nazi Germany when her mother decides to send her to England via the "Kindertransport" program, a rescue operation for children. Marianne knows a smattering of English and is placed in a home after several unfortunate episodes. It's a lonely adjustment for the girl who misses her family terribly and must adjust to the couple who has agreed to sponsor her, but not to be a substitute for her real family. The wonderful story is based on factual events and is a companion to Good-bye Marianne: A Story of Growing Up in Nazi Germany. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 2000, McClelland & Stewart/Tundra Books, 174p, 20cm, $6.95. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Sherri Forgash Ginsberg; Duke School for Children, Chapel Hill, NC January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-7-In this sequel to Good-bye, Marianne (Tundra, 1998), Watts continues the story of a young Jewish child living in Berlin in 1938. As the book opens, Marianne is on a train to London with the first Kindertransport, a rescue operation for children that would eventually remove approximately 9300 refugees from Germany, Austria, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Upon her arrival, the 11-year-old is situated in the first of a series of foster homes that go from bad to worse. Initially placed with a couple looking for a domestic, she is lonely and homesick. As war threatens England, she is evacuated to Wales with a large group of British children. Life doesn't get any easier in this small town: Marianne is accused of spying, meets with a great deal of anti-Semitism, and is billeted with a couple who view her as a replacement for their deceased daughter. In the end, Marianne proves to be lucky; her mother arrives in England, and she is one of the few children from this operation ever to see a parent again. While Watts leans toward the melodramatic, with Marianne facing horrific situations at every turn, the subject is an important part of Holocaust history and would be useful if combined with a nonfiction work, such as Anne Fox's Ten Thousand Children (Behrman House, 1998).-Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

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Random House
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2 MB
Age Range:
10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Marianne asked her, “How did you manage to come over?”

Unconsciously, Miriam replied in her native tongue, “I met Mrs. Smedley in Berlin in 1936. She was on holiday with her husband, for the Olympic Games. I was eighteen. She asked me for directions to her hotel. I walked with her, then she invited me in. I explained it was not allowed because I was Jewish. She took my arm and said, ‘I am an English tourist; no one will stop me.’ So brave! We had coffee in her suite. She told me if I ever wanted to go to England, if things got worse, to write to her. When my father’s business was taken away, and I lost my job as his bookkeeper, my mother told me I should write to Mrs. Smedley. It was an opportunity. I did, and she sponsored me. She is very kind. I make mistakes, but she makes allowances for me. My friend Hannah lives in London too, but she lives in one little room. When she wants a bath, she must pay sixpence for the hot water.” Miriam poured more coffee. “She works in a household where they are mean to her. I think she is often hungry.”

“Why don't the Jews in England do more to help” Marianne burst out in German. “Sorry, Bridget, just this one question.”

Miriam said, “They help all they can, but there are so many of us trying to get out of Europe. Mrs. Smedley says in England less than one percent of the population is Jewish. A few are rich, but most are like us – poor, or immigrants, trying to bring their relatives to England. I’ll keep this paper, Marianne. I might hear of a place for your mother.”

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Meet the Author

Irene N. Watts is a storyteller, playwright, drama consultant, and director who has worked throughout Canada and Europe. Although she, too, was born in Germany and left on a kindertransport, Marianne’s story is not an autobiography. Irene Watts lives in British Columbia.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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