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Traitor
     

Traitor

by Gudrun Pausewang, Rachel Ward (Translator)
 

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Fifteen-year-old Anna is struggling through the final days of World War II in the hitherto unscathed Sudetenland: food rationing, meetings of the German Girl's League, high school essays glorifying the Frer, weekends in her village hearing the latest roll of the dead. But then she stumbles on odd footprints in the snow, which lead to her family's barn and an escaped Russian prisoner of war. Knowing the man will be unceremoniously shot by the villagers, Anna feeds him, then hides the Russian in a nearby abandoned bunker. Her simple gesture escalates into a months-long commitment of stealing food, justifying her whereabouts to her rabid Hitlerjugend brother, Felix, and some serious soul-searching. By the time the Russian Army closes in, Anna and Maxim have bonded and begin looking with hope to the new peace.Gudrun Pausewang grew up in Nazi Germany, which undoubtedly accounts for the feeling of realism in her story. She paints a picture of people torn by their losses and ready—for the most part—to capitulate and move forward. This is a strong book that should be read and discussed along with Bette Greene's The Summer of My German Soldier.
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
This tale, first published in Germany in 1995, is the German equivalent of Betty Greene's classic YA novel, Summer of My German Soldier. Here the stakes for 15-year-old Anna are much higher: she is hiding an enemy soldier, a Russian; it is near the end of the war and the advancing Russian army will soon lay waste to her town and her way of life. The young Russian, Maxim, has escaped from a nearby prisoner of war camp and is hiding in the barn. Anna tends to his wounds and moves him to an old bunker on the outskirts of town. Her mother runs a local inn and holds a level of prestige in the village. As Anna makes the decision to care for Maxim, she is drawn by thoughts of her father, his kindness and his understanding of what it means to live as an outsider in the community where he came to be married; he died young. She realizes that her decision will put her on the outside of her community and her family. Her younger brother Felix is in the Hitler Youth and is dedicated to the Fuhrer and the Fatherland; he is looking forward to his turn to fight to protect Germany. For Anna, Maxim is a human being and not an enemy. She is torn between helping him and the knowledge that others like him are advancing on her country and her village. The decision she makes is a complex one, calling to question family loyalty, national pride and military propaganda. Throughout the novel she is torn between saving the Russian's life and facing the consequences of such treason, making this a strong novel on which to base discussions of duty, loyalty and responsibility to oneself and to one's country.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-10-Pausewang presents an exciting and thought-provoking novel from the perspective of a teen who secretly questions the validity of Nazi ideals. In the last year of World War II, 16-year-old Anna discovers an escaped Russian POW in her village barn and makes a conscious choice to provide shelter, food, and safety, risking certain death if discovered. With her older brother, Seff, at the front and her younger brother, Felix, completely indoctrinated into the Hitler Youth Movement, Anna represents a voice of reason and humanity as she struggles to make sense of her country's political aspirations. Like Markus Zusak's The Book Thief (Knopf, 2006), this novel portrays good, caring German citizens caught in the cruel domination of a mad dictator. Readers are left with a brutal and hopelessly realistic conclusion that will provide much opportunity for discussion. This is a powerful view of resistance and fortitude when ordinary citizens have little control over their lives other than their own private thoughts and beliefs.-Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761365716
Publisher:
Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
10/28/2010
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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