Teen Witnesses to the Holocaust - A Review
Anflick, Charles. Resistance: Teen Partisans and Resisters Who Fought Nazi Tyranny.
1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2847-0
Axelrod, Toby. In The Camps: Teens Who Survived the Nazi Concentration Camps. 1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2844-6
_____. Rescuers Defying the Nazis: Non-Jewish Teens Who Rescued Jews. 1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2848-9
Ayer, Eleanor H. In The Ghettos: Teens Who Survived the Ghettos of the Holocaust. 1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2845-4
Dvorson, Alexa. The Hitler Youth: Marching Toward Madness. 1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2783-0
Giddens, Sandra. Escape: Teens Who Escaped the Holocaust to Freedom. 1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2843-8
Kustanowitz, Esther. The Hidden Children of the Holocaust: Teens Who Hid from the Nazis. 1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2562-5
Tito, E. Tina. Liberation: Teens In the Concentration Camps and the Teen Soldiers Who Liberated Them. 1999. 64p. index. Illus. New York: Rosen. 0-8239-2846-2
Grades 5-9. The volumes in this series are short and dramatic. Filled with photographs they are guaranteed to grab the interest of even the most reluctant reader. While dealing with a specific historical event the authors utilize the stories of the young people who were there. This series fills a gap in most collections about the Holocaust. The various titles address many aspects of the Holocaust often overlooked in fiction titles. The next time one of my students asks for a book with "fighting" or "war stuff" in it I can hand them one these books.
The books are designed to look like newspapers, scrap albums, etc. These are accompanied by the survivors' stories. Each volume contains a glossary, time line, suggested videos, websites, and bibliography "For Further Reading". I like the section entitled "For Advanced Readers", a nice challenge for many of my students.
Resistance begins with a discussion on how hard it is to comprehend the Holocaust, and how the victims themselves were deceived into thinking "everything would be fine." There were those that chose to resist the Nazis. Anflick lists and evaluates the three methods of resistance: "armed, unarmed, and spiritual." He outlines how young adults lived out these three forms of resistance.
In The Camps relates the stories of Jewish teenagers who were sent to Nazi concentration camps where they were separated from their families and survived years of exhausting labor, scarce food, and cruel guards. The sources of strength that these teens found are shared in their feelings about God and hope.
Rescuers is a favorite topic amongst teens reading about the Holocaust. Many of the teens involved became rescuers when their parents opted to hid Jews. Yet, there are the stories, such as Teresa Prekerowa who rescued a little girl in Warsaw and hid her even from Teresa's family. The stories of these brave teens, acting alone or with a group, are touching.
In The Ghettos chronicles the deportation of Jews into ghettos during the Nazi occupation. Included are narratives of three individuals who, as teenagers, lived in the ghettos of Lodz, Theresienstadt, and Warsaw and survived physical deprivations, abuse, and deportation to the death camps.
The Hitler Youth describes how many young Germans were drawn into the Nazi movement and how Germany came more and more under the total control of Hitler. How "lessons in hatred" became as normal as math. It allows the reader a glimpse into why the impossible became possible.
Escape tells the story of four teenagers who survived the horrors of that the Nazis perpetrated on Jews. An important chapter is "What It Means to Have Escaped the Holocaust." Even though they escaped physically, the Holocaust remains an event that changed their world forever.
The Hidden Children of the Holocaust describe in their own words, the experiences of Jewish teenagers hiding from the Nazis. How did these teens hide? What did they give up for their lives? Stories of those who escaped and those who were caught are told.
Liberation alternates between two teenagers who survived the camps and two American soldiers who were unprepared for the horror that they found. The reader is overwhelmed with photos of camps and victims. Especially poignant is the story of Paul Parks, and African American soldier. He relates his own experience of racism and his work of burying the dead at Dachau.
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