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Benno and the Night of Broken Glass (Holocaust) Paperback – January 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
On the Sabbath it was time to visit the Adler family in 3A. The candles were lit and young Sophie would sing before she "fed him scraps of chicken." On Sundays it was time to visit the Schmidts across the hall where Inge, Sophie's friend, "sneaked bits of schnitzel to him under the table." When the girls were off to school he would wend his way around the neighborhood to get his ears scratched, his nose rubbed or take at nap at Mitzi's. Everyone loved him, including Professor Goldfarb in 2G. Who didn't even seem to notice when he curled up on top of his papers. Such was the life of a mottled orange and white cat named Benno who lived in Berlin.
Something was wrong when those who once had time for him no longer cared or shooed him away abruptly. There were bright orange and red flames that spread eerie shadows along the brick walls of the neighborhood and lit up the night and books were added to fuel the fire. People were somehow not where they were supposed to be and faces were downcast, sad and frightened.Read more ›
Looking at the cover, a reader would instantly think it was designed for a younger audience. A harmless prancing cat is seen in front of broken pane of glass. Without knowing that the term "the Night of the Broken Glass" refers to Kristallnacht, it would be impossible to realize that the content of the book revolves around the start of the Holocaust. Kristallnacht, the beginning of the Holocaust, occurred on November 9 &10, 1938. The terror and violence that affected almost all of the Jews in Germany was an extreme reaction to the assassination of a German official. Approximately, 100 Jews were killed, 7,500 Jewish-owned businesses were destroyed, and 30,000 arrests were made.
Using this point in history, Meg creates a story that weaves together factual elements from Kristallnacht with fictional characters and a curious cat named Beeno. The Jewish and Gentile characters of the story are introduced as Beeno wanders around a Jewish neighborhood near the Neue Synagogue in Berlin. The peaceful nature of the community in the days prior to Kristallnacht are contrasted with the chaos that occurred as a result of Kristallnacht. Josee's pictures show how the lives of the main characters were changed. An afterward and a bibliography provide useful information to anyone who wants to learn more details about Kristallnacht.
This book is well suited as an introduction to the Holocaust for upper elementary and middle school students.
Benno the Cat lives in an apartment building where he wanders freely among the apartments. The inhabitants of the apartments are a mixed bunch, including both Germans and Jews, who seem to get along quite well together. The German girl Inge and her Jewish friend Sophie walk to school and play games together. All the residents, and all of the business owners on Rosenstrasse, welcome Benno and care for him, from the grocer's wife Frau Gerber who scratches his ears to Mitzi Stein the dressmaker who lets him sleep in her shop window. Life is very pleasant.
But then things take an unpleasant turn. People shoo him out of their apartments and stores. They no longer have scraps for him or the time to scratch him. The have other concerns and worries. Inge and Sophie don't play together any more. Then one night the sounds of screams and breaking glass fill the air. Shops - at least certain ones - are destroyed and looted by men with brown shirts and heavy black boots. The Neue Synagogue is set on fire. Herr Goldfarb is dragged away in the night, trying to protect his books.
In the morning, Benno waits for life to return to normal. But Sophie's family's apartment is locked. Herr Goldfarb doesn't come back. The butcher is never seen again. But Frau Gerber still scratches his ears and Inge still leaves for school every day.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Kristallnacht marked the beginning of the Holocaust for many and for Benno; the life around him has been shattered. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Live Outside
Good to use during Jewish history month to teach a hard to understand concept to young people. Good also to use different perspectives for teaching the hard concept of... Read morePublished 10 months ago by frances
I read this to my students as part of my Holocaust instruction. I teach 5th graders, and I walk a fine line of being truthful without sugarcoating or being too graphic. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Ms. B
I really liked the inferences that this novel made the students draw. I used it with a self contained class of eighth graders, and it worked well for those higher level... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Marielle
Told through the perspective of a neighborhood cat, <i>Benno and the Night of Broken Glass</i> describes how life in Berlin was presiding Nazi occupation, the horrors of... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Shelli
It shows the before and after for the lives of those living in Berlin both Jewish and non-Jewish. It depicts the emotion, damage, and fear that reigned that night. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jenice Grzeszczak
I had to read this for my adolescent literature class. I it is a wonderful book.Published 18 months ago by Melissa Shirley
My nine-year-old daughter and I read this book tonight, and I thought it apt since January 27th marks International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Read morePublished on January 27, 2014 by Z Hayes
I bought it for my 12 year old grandson and I think it was a start for him to (gently) understanding the Holocaust!Published on September 12, 2013 by Jimmy L. Johnson