Fiction, Historic Fiction, Holocaust
Meg Waite Clayton
September 10, 2019
January 28, 2023 February 2, 2023
10 Books in Translation in 2023, Reading by the Numbers, The Backlist Reader, Translated Book Goals
In 1936, the Nazi are little more than loud, brutish bores to fifteen-year old Stephan Neuman, the son of a wealthy and influential Jewish family and budding playwright whose playground extends from Vienna’s streets to its intricate underground tunnels. Stephan’s best friend and companion is the brilliant Žofie-Helene, a Christian girl whose mother edits a progressive, anti-Nazi newspaper. But the two adolescents’ carefree innocence is shattered when the Nazis’ take control.
There is hope in the darkness, though. Truus Wijsmuller, a member of the Dutch resistance, risks her life smuggling Jewish children out of Nazi Germany to the nations that will take them. It is a mission that becomes even more dangerous after the Anschluss—Hitler’s annexation of Austria—as, across Europe, countries close their borders to the growing number of refugees desperate to escape.
Tante Truus, as she is known, is determined to save as many children as she can. After Britain passes a measure to take in at-risk child refugees from the German Reich, she dares to approach Adolf Eichmann, the man who would later help devise the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” in a race against time to bring children like Stephan, his young brother Walter, and Žofie-Helene on a perilous journey to an uncertain future abroad.
About the book
The book is about a true story even if a little fictionalised, in the sense that the author, as she says in the final part, added her own, especially where it is not known exactly how the story went.
What I think
The book is very beautiful, the hope that you read is very heartfelt and knowing this part of the history made me happy. I knew the rough outlines of the help England gave to Jewish children, but I didn’t know the story that deep.