Literature

A large part of this study was completed in regards to looking at the difference between German and American young adult literature that teaches any aspect of World War II and the Holocaust. There were multiple libraries in Berlin, but only one library had a section designated to children’s and young adult literature. DSCN1433

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While exploring the kinder- (children’s) and jugend- (youth) sections of the Haus Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek (American Memorial Library)- also known as the central and regional library of Berlin, it was learned that this library was very similar to American libraries. These children and youth sections had places for students to come and read after school. The library was very busy and not as quiet as a library in the states might be. Part of the noise in the youth section can be attributed to the after-school tutoring sessions that were being completed.

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A major question during this study centered around whether or not German educators use literature to teach the events of World War II. The employees at Haus Amerika-Gedenbibliothek made it clear that not only is this type of literature used to teach events of World War II, but there is also a great number of sources that educators can choose from. To read more about specific sources named from a previous student of Berlin, click here.

 

A few of the many sources available found at Haus Amerika-Gedenbibliothek:

Mit dem Rücken Zur Wand by Klaus Kordon

        With Her Back to the Wall- 15 year old Han is living in Berlin in 1932 and 1933. The story follows Han and his family throughout the trials they face during the Nazi regime. Because Hans family is communist, Han faces punishment from the SA even though he does not associate himself with being a part of the communist party. Han’s girlfriend is half-Jewish, which also leads to problems with the SA. When political tensions rise, members of Han’s family are arrested which encourages him to continue resistance.
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Wir Sehen uns Bestimmt Wieder by Sigrid Schuster-Schumah

We Will Probably See Each Other Again- The novel is from the perspective of an 11 year old girl living during the downfall of Germany at the end of WWII. Her experiences and fears about the surrounding environment are the center of the story.
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Als Hitler das rosa Kaninchen Stahl by Judith Kerr (available in English translation)

       When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit- This novel follows nine year old Anna and her family. Anna’s father thinks that Adolf Hitler will win the elections, so he fleas the country to set up arrangements for the family to join him if Hitler wins the election. The entire family ends up moving to Switzerland before Hitler wins the election (due to their Jewish faith). The story then follows her family through their move to Paris and then to London. Their safety is compromised when the Germans learn of her family’s moving around, so you will have to read the novel to see what happens!
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Ein Haus fur alle by Ursula Wolfel

A Home for All- This novel follows the life of two children living with disabilities during Hitler’s reign. They both face the fear of being euthanized because of their disabilities.
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Damals War es Friedrich by Hans Peter Richter

At That Time it was Friedrich- This novel follows the story of a Jewish boy, Friedrich, and is told by an unknown narrator. The story follows Friedrich during the events of Hitler’s reign u to his death due to a bombing when he was turned away from a bomb shelter.
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References for book information can be found here.

 

 

 

A few of the many sources available to students in America:

Boyne, John. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. United Kingdom: David Fickling Books, 2006. Print.

This story follows a boy named Bruno who leaves his home to move to a new house after his dad receives a promotion. While at the new house, Bruno does quite a bit of exploring and finds a large fence that stretches farther than he can see. Through his exploration along the fence, Bruno meets a young boy who is similar in age that wears striped clothing that looks like pajamas. Throughout the book, the boys grow a friendship before Bruno realizes who the boy in the striped pajamas is and why he is stuck inside the fence.
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Hitler Youth

Campbell Bartoletti, Susan. Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow. New York City, NY: Scholastic Nonfiction, 2005, Print.

This nonfiction piece of work introduces Hitler Youth and works through the cycle of the children who were raised under Hitler. The reader is able to see how and why members of Hitler Youth supported Hitler and the Nazi Reign through various facts given throughout the book. This work creates a point of view that is not often heard because it tells the story from Hitler’s supporters in training.
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Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1989. Print

The story follows Annemarie and her Jewish best friend Ellen as Annemarie’s family hides Ellen by pretending she is a part of the family. Annemarie sees the perspective of what it is like to be a part of a Jewish family during the Nazi reign and is forced to be brave in order to protect her best friend.
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Wiesel, Elie. Night. New York City, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1956. Print.

Night gives a first-hand experience of what it was like for the author and his father to live and work on a concentration camp. Throughout the story, there is a noticeable change in the author’s attitude toward life and religion which gives a strong message of the physical, emotional, and psychological abuse that was a part of the concentration camps.
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Zusak, Markus. The Book Thief.  New York City: Knopf, 2005. Print.

The story follows Liesel who is a foster child living near Munich during WWII. After her foster dad teachers Liesel to read, she finds a love of books that which causes her steal books. Throughout the novel, Liesel shares what she learns from the books with those around her. During bombing raids, she shares the books with her neighbors and she also shares them with the Jewish man who is hiding in her basement.
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