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Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport (Encounter: Narrative Nonfiction Stories) Paperback – February 1, 2017
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About the Author
Emma Carlson Berne has written numerous historical and biographical books for children and young adults, as well as young adult fiction. She lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two sons.
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Top Customer Reviews
The physical book is designed with the look and feel of an aging family picture album. There are seven chapters that focus on individual children who were part of the 10,000 children rescued from Nazi controlled areas and relocated to the United Kingdom prior to the beginning of World War II. Their story is told in the third person but from the child’s perspective.
The first chapter begins with a poem “The Leather Suitcase” written by Tom Berman who was saved as a 5 year old child by a Kindertransport. Some background is given as it describes what it must have been like for such a young boy to be separated from his parents for a long trip to an unfamiliar country with a different language, not knowing if he would ever see them again. This chapter captures the reader’s interest immediately.
The next chapter, “From Kristallnacht to Kindertransport,” gives more historical details about the increasing persecution of the Jews and their limited options for survival. Then the book returns to the stories of individual children, ending with a chapter that briefly recounts what happened to each child after the Kindertransport. It might be specifics of their time living with another family, further emigration, or an ultimate career, depending on their circumstances and the source documents available. There is also general statistical information about the 10,000 children of the Kindertransport.
There are study resources at the end of the book. The “Timeline” integrates important historical dates of the war with major events related to the Kindertransport and the seven children whose rescues are detailed in the book. The “Glossary,” of course, defines unfamiliar terms such as “haftarah” and “pogrom” which are used in the book. Next is a page which explains The Kindertransport Association (KTA), whose president was a consultant for the book. The KTA is comprised of the rescued Kinders, as they call themselves, and their descendants. “Read More” lists three more books on the topic for young readers. There is a page of discussion questions to evoke higher level thinking and several pages devoted to bibliography, source notes, and an index.
Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport is a valuable teaching resource, drawing from original sources. The length of the chapters is appropriate for this age level as well as for typical time periods in the school day. It could be used for independent reading or group study, but because of the difficult nature of the subject matter and the age of the intended reader, I definitely suggest adult support. The author handles the ugly reality of Nazi Germany with restraint without hiding the brutal truths of beatings, interments, and death. Being drawn into their stories will be troubling for some youngsters, especially those for whom this is their introduction to Holocaust studies.
I highly recommend Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport as an integrative teaching tool combining reading with social studies, especially history and geography. It abounds with possibilities for discussions to stretch young thinkers to make make new connections and offers opportunities for deep enrichment of vocabulary. Even as an adult, I found the book well written, interesting, and a source of new learning.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Capstone Press for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
With personal narratives and recollections dotting the pages, Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport is the story of some of the ten thousand Jewish children. Rescued from Nazi occupied Germany and other surrounding areas, the children were brought to the United Kingdom from 1938 until 1940. The children, babies on up to the age of 17, were placed on all modes of transportation without supervision or guidance. Their transport had to be paid by private citizens or aid organizations, as the British government needed to stay neutral on the subject. Great Britain was allowed by Germany to accept the children, as they were not wanted by their homeland. Britain would not grant them citizenship, but the temporary visas would keep them in the country until the war was over.
The first kindertransport arrived in Harwich, England on December 2, 1938. The last transport from Germany was in September 1939 and the last from the Netherlands was in May of 1940. Through the stories of Tom Berman, Kurt Fuchel, Harry Ebert, Irene Schmeid, Hans Schneider, Ursula Rosenfeld, and Jack Hellman, readers are able to appreciate both the scale of the operation and its effectiveness.
Escaping the Nazis on the Kindertransport was written with younger readers in mind, as the stories definitely show a more uplifting side instead of just the horrors. I would recommend this to younger readers or for adults to use to get acquainted with the subject matter.
This is an excellent book for tweenies and teens - possibly even younger children. It explains the kindertransport and the reasons behind it and the night of breaking glass without graphic details. The photos of the children and their parents that were packed in their suitcases before they were placed on the train are exquisite. The fact that they never got to see their parents again is heartbreaking.