Witnesses to War: Eight True-Life Stories of Nazi Persecution

Witnesses to War: Eight True-Life Stories of Nazi Persecution

4.0 1
by Michael Leapman
     
 

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For millions of children, living in Europe during the Second World War was a terrifying and traumatic experience. This book tells the true stories of eight of these children, from different countries and backgrounds, seven of whom survived to tell their tales and one whose voice survived in the form of a diary. Each tale is different - living in the Warsaw Ghetto,… See more details below

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Overview

For millions of children, living in Europe during the Second World War was a terrifying and traumatic experience. This book tells the true stories of eight of these children, from different countries and backgrounds, seven of whom survived to tell their tales and one whose voice survived in the form of a diary. Each tale is different - living in the Warsaw Ghetto, being sent to concentration camps, being selected for "Germanization" - but each represents the story of millions of other innocent victims whose lives were cut short or changed irrevocably by the Holocaust.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Leapman, a British journalist, suggests the far reaches of Nazi terror by focusing on the experiences of eight children, each victimized during WWII. Anne Frank is here; so is Renee Roth-Hano, whose own book Touch Wood has already described her experiences as a Jewish girl hidden in a French convent. Another Jewish girl escapes Germany through the Kindertransport; a Jewish girl from Paris finds safety in the village of Le Chambon; other children narrowly escape the Warsaw ghetto. These subjects have been more solidly treated elsewhere (for example, the chapter involving Le Chambon does not indicate the heroic scope of its rescue mission nor name the pastors famously responsible for it). But this book is worthwhile nonetheless. A generous supply of unusually well-researched photos amplifies even the more familiar sections, conferring on them a chilling immediacy. Leapman also includes material rarely presented for this age group. He describes the sinister workings of a program that kidnapped Polish children for adoption by proper German families; elsewhere, he traces the fates of the children of Lidice, the Czech village razed to retaliate for the assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich. While this book lacks the emotional charge of a work like No Pretty Pictures (reviewed above), it has firm educational value. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Christopher Moning
The author relates eight engrossing accounts of children persecuted during the holocaust, including the famous story of Anne Frank. Examples of some of the riveting stories include a girl shipped out of Germany by desperate parents on the Kindertransporte-the children's transport; a boy-one of thousands-kidnapped from his Polish home and sent away to be "Germanized;" and the Czech village of Lidice, which was leveled, all the men massacred, and only 17 of the village's 105 children have ever been traced. Besides the millions of Jews who lost their lives during World War II, a half million Gypsies were murdered in Europe. The courage of children in the face of a world gone mad is inspiring. Time and again the young reader will remind himself that he is not reading fiction. Well-drawn maps and photographs, including "then and now" pictures of surviving children, help make this a moving and unforgettable book. In most cases, the author has interviewed the survivor. Leapman's introduction offers a succinct explanation of conditions in Germany during Hitler's rise to power, one that every child should read, and most adults as well.
VOYA - Sarah A. Hudson
During World War II, millions were persecuted under Adolf Hitler's plan for creating a master race. Leapman introduces the reader to Hitler's theories and rise to power, conditions in Nazi-occupied countries, and the lives of eight children who belonged to ethnic groups under persecution. Leapman profiles seven children who survived the war. These survivors had different experiences due to financial status, geographical location, and varying cultural and ethnic identities. Children were separated from their parents due to capture or survival tactics. Kindertransporte was a means of relocating children to England. Some Jewish children changed their identities and hid in convents and boarding schools. Slavic and Polish children were often sent to camps and examined. If they possessed enough German traits, they were reeducated and Germanized for adoption with German families or service in the German army. Other children hid from the Nazis and survived after capture as best as possible. The last chapter introduces the story of Anne Frank. Although Anne died in Bergen-Belsen, her diary revealed her life in hiding. Leapman presents an authoritative, informative, and attractive work. His information comes from prior research and personal interviews with seven of the subjects. Maps document the areas under discussion in each chapter, and the author includes photographs from the period that depict acts of the war, persons under persecution, and the subjects of the chapters. The narrative is riveting. The horrific nature of the historical events may trouble some readers, but the author does not include overly graphic depictions of death in the text or photographs. Because the author is British, his references to monetary units may need explaining to students. This is an excellent work that shows the courage of children surviving war, often without the comfort and protection of their parents. Photos. Maps. Biblio. VOYA Codes: 5Q 3P M J (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Will appeal with pushing, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8 and Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-A book filled with black-and-white photographs that express the incomprehensible horror of war and its effect on children. One photo shows a young child standing with a group of boys. While they look forward, holding their few belongings, emotionless, he is crying and his face is turned away from the Nazi officer standing before them. The caption reads, simply, "Czech children selected for `Germanization.'" More than any movie or play or book of atrocities, this image captures the nightmare of Nazi Germany. In his serviceable text, Leapman presents eight compelling accounts. Each one tells the story of a child from a different area of Europe. Most of the names are unfamiliar: gypsies held at Auschwitz, Jewish girls hidden in a French convent, the children of German Jews shipped to London for their own safety. The book ends with a look at "The Legacy of Anne Frank." An essential title for anyone studying this black period in our history.-Herman Sutter, Saint Pius X High School, Houston, TX

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780141308418
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
12/28/2000
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
7.52(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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