In Budejovice, a quiet village in the Czech republic, laws and rules were introduced to restrict the freedom of Jewish people during the dark days of World War II. In a small shack on the small plot of land allocated to the village's Jewish youth, some brave young people decided to create a newspaper to show that despite the new dangers in their lives, they were still creative, energetic and adventurous. Though most of the village's Jews did not survive the war, copies of the newspaper did. The Underground ...
In Budejovice, a quiet village in the Czech republic, laws and rules were introduced to restrict the freedom of Jewish people during the dark days of World War II. In a small shack on the small plot of land allocated to the village's Jewish youth, some brave young people decided to create a newspaper to show that despite the new dangers in their lives, they were still creative, energetic and adventurous. Though most of the village's Jews did not survive the war, copies of the newspaper did. The Underground Reporters chronicles how these youth held out hope for a peaceful world to come.
It joins the many valuable contributions to the body of literature for children on this topic. The Underground Reporters can also be an inspiration for children about how the human spirit can triumph over adversity. Highly recommended.
- Della A. Yannuzzi
Author Kacer tells the story of two Jewish boys growing up during World War II. When the Nazis occupy their town, they separate the Jewish people from the other people in the town. John Freund and Ruda Stadler cannot go to school or play sports. They are isolated from the other townspeople. The boys decide something must be done to help themselves and other Jewish youth cope with the restrictions placed upon them. They become underground reporters and start a newspaper called Klepy, the Czech word for gossip. The first edition is three pages long. It tells news of what Jewish youth are doing with their time and how they feel about the terrible thing going on in their town. The young people love Klepy, and soon the paper grows to include poetry, a sports section, stories, and articles. The magazine is open to submissions, and many young people begin to submit material. One day, all Jewish citizens are ordered to wear a badge on their clothing with a yellow six-pointed Star of David. More restrictions are placed on the Jewish people. The swimming hole where John and Ruda meet their friends is now off limits. There can be no more soccer games, or talks, or plans to work on Klepy. Finally, after twenty issues, John and Ruda decide it is not safe to distribute their newspaper. At the twentieth issue, Ruda writes his last editorial. Not long after, John and his family are sent to a concentration camp. John survives and eventually makes his way to Toronto, Canada, to build a new life. Years late, he finds a friend who was part of the swimming hole group. She has saved the copies of Klepy. They sit down and look through the papers. Eventually, the collection ofKlepy is donated to the Jewish Museum in Prague, Czech Republic. Black-and-white photographs and drawings are included.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-In the summer of 1940, in Budejovice-a lovely old Czech town of some 50,000 residents-Jewish youngsters were allowed to meet each day at a piece of land near the river that they called "the swimming hole." There they played sports and games and created a newspaper that is a lasting reminder of the children who died in Hitler's concentration camps. In part one, Kacer introduces several young people through the reminiscences and anecdotes of John Freund, one of the few survivors, and then follows them and their families as they were forced by the Nazi regime to adhere to strict laws limiting nearly every aspect of their lives. Part two offers details of Freund's life from October 1937 until April 1945, including the creation of the newspaper that the children called Klepy ("Gossip"), filled with stories, poems, chatter, photos, and drawings meant to entertain and raise the spirits of the children and their families. All 22 editions of Klepy survived the Holocaust to become part of the collection of the Jewish Museum of Prague. Finally, all 1000 Jews of Budejovice were transported to Theresienstadt. Part three describes their existence in the camp, including details about the celebration of life events (a bar mitzvah; a wedding), then their transfer to Auschwitz where most of the prisoners perished. Black-and-white photos and reproductions of pages of and covers from Klepy appear throughout. The straightforward narrative allows readers with little or no background in the period to gain basic knowledge of the Holocaust.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In the dark days of the Nazi occupation of the Czech Republic, a group of Jewish teenagers refused to allow the suppression of their private thoughts and dreams, as the political climate of their town changed daily with the implementation of life-limiting laws. Barred from ordinary forms of work and recreation, these creative youths formed a community-wide newspaper with positive light-hearted stories, poems, jokes, artwork, and harmless gossip, managing to include the slightest of subversive commentary. They circulated the single copy of the paper among the Jewish families of the community for 20 editions that grew from three to almost 25 pages and became a symbol of resistance and a lifeline connection within the Jewish quarter. Kacer has zeroed in on the positive aspects of this courageous story, overshadowing the inevitably difficult, fatal outcome of many of the participants as deportation orders reached them. Well-paced biographical and anecdotal passages drawn from personal interviews of the few survivors bring a sense of intrigue and thoughtful admiration for these brave, defiant teens. Copies of the original editions and black-and-white photos salvaged from the war add to this incredible piece of Holocaust history. (Nonfiction. 10+)
Kathy Kacer has won many awards for her books about the holocaust for young readers, including Hiding Edith, The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser, Clara’s War and The Underground Reporters. A former psychologist, Kathy tours North America speaking to young people about the importance of remembering the Holocaust.