Tag archives for Holocaust
Night, by Elie Wiesel, is a heart-breaking memoir about his tragic times in the Nazi concentration camps.
Elie Wiesel is a 13 year old Jewish boy growing up in the village of Sighet located in Hungary. It is 1943 in the midst of the Holocaust, yet the Jewish families in Sighet believe that there is nothing to fear about Hitler and that the situation is not as bad as it sounds. But, one ordinary day in 1944, the Germans appear in Sighet and Elie knows that his life will change forever. Once at the concentration camp of Birkenau, Elie is separated from his mother and sisters, and his only family member with him is his father. Together, the two endure laborious work and starvation thrown upon them by the brutal Gestapo. Their only wish is that they do not get separated and to avoid selection. Through many tiring marches to different concentration camps, will Elie and his father manage to stay together?
The tragedy and history in Night is suitable for middle school and high school kids. Elie Wiesel brings out the inhumanity he faced in the camps, making this book a good primary source on the Holocaust. Elie Wiesel even uses lots of similes, metaphors, and foreshadowing to portray the situation. When he says, “We can’t let them kill us like that, like cattle in the slaughterhouse,” (31), I was shocked at how the mass murders occurred in the crematorium and learned that the prisoners were surrounded by death everywhere. This book truly passes the word that history must not repeat itself–genocides like the Holocaust should never happen again.
We felt the soul of the city the minute we arrived in Krakow, Poland. There were tons of charming cafes, restaurants, and cathedrals. We stayed in the center of the Jewish Quarter which is the more bohemian, residential part of town. The days were filled with so many fun things, and a couple of very sad things, too. We zipped around town in a golf cart with a college student who told us all about their history. Did you know that at one point Poland didn’t exist and if anyone even said Poland they would be shot by a communist leader?
On the tour we went to many churches, synagogues (Jewish temples) and museums. One of the churches had a stone water fountain. If you drink from the fountain you are suppose to live for at least 100 years. We tried it, but it tasted like rotten eggs… icky!
BOOK NAME: Number the Stars
AUTHOR: Lois Lowry
As Denmark surrendered to Germany during the war in 1940, life became harder for the Danish Jews. It was 1943. Annemarie Johansen and her Jewish neighbor Ellen Rosen were best friends. Annemarie had a little sister Kristi, and she had another sister Lise, who died in an accident two years earlier. Her parents never told her what had really happened to Lise. Ellen, the Jewish girl, was an only child.
Soon, the Germans started capturing Danish Jews and relocating them. Ellen came to live with Annemarie and the rest of the Johansens, and pretended to be part of their family. Peter, the boy who was originally engaged to Lise, helped hide Ellen’s parents in a safer place. It was very dangerous for a non-Jewish family to hide Jews in their homes. If they were caught by the Germans, they too would be killed! But even though times were tough for both families, through much courage, Annemarie managed to save her friend.
When the war ended, Annemarie found out that Peter was a member of a group that tried to destroy the Germans, and he was killed. That’s when the truth is uncovered about Lise. Lise was also part of that group, and the Germans had caught her, too. Annemarie decided to wear Ellen’s necklace with the Jewish star, until she sees her friend again.
I really enjoyed this book. The character I think I am most like is Ellen, because I am Jewish, just like her character was. I follow all the traditions she does in the book. I also loved Annemarie’s character, because I really admire what a great friend she was.
BOOK NAME: Hana’s Suitcase
AUTHOR: Karen Levine
Do you want to learn about a Jewish girl who suffered during the Holocaust by searching for clues of their life? This is exactly what a Japanese woman does to learn about the Holocaust victim–Hana Brady. This true story is told in Hana’s Suitcase by Karen Levine.
Fumiko Ishioka, the curator of the Tokyo Holocaust Center, teaches her students about the Holocaust by using artifacts from Jewish children who suffered, one of which is Hana’s suitcase. The children want to know more about Hana, so Fumiko goes to Holocaust museums in Europe where she learns about Hana’s fate, and also about Hana’s brother, George, who survived. Fumiko gets George’s address and writes to him about the suitcase. George then comes to Japan to tell the excited students about Hana’s sad story. Hana Brady was a Jewish girl who was growing up in the 1930′s in Czechoslovakia. Little did she know her life would change drastically as the Nazi soldiers invade her country. Her parents are sent to concentration camps. Hana and George are sent to Theresienstadt, under Nazi lookout, and then to Auschwitz, a concentration camp in Germany. What happens to Hana over here?
Hana’s Suitcase is an amazing book which shows the pain of the Holocaust by focusing on Hana’s life. Actual photographs bring to life this young girl who suffered terribly. This book is filled with suspense as to whether Fumiko will find more clues about Hana’s life or not. I like how this book keeps switching between Hana’s life in the 1940′s and Fumiko and George living today. Hana’s Suitcase is touching to the heart.