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Someone named Eva

by Joan M. Wolf


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780618535798]

Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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German war crimes are the basis for this historical novel, Wolf's first, more noteworthy for its subject matter than for its execution. In 1942, in the small Czech town of Lidice, 11-year-old Milada has just finished celebrating her birthday when soldiers march into town in the middle of the night and order everyone from their homes. Separated from the men and boys, held for three days in another town, Milada and selected other children undergo a series of examinations; two of them, including Milada, are eventually transported to a special school where they are given German names and educated as proper German girls, eventually to be adopted by good Nazi families (Wolf models this part of the story on the Lebensborn program). Through all her ordeals, which grow to include secret knowledge of Czech prisoners held in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, Milada struggles to maintain her identity, hiding the star-shaped garnet pin her grandmother, Babichka, pressed into her palm that last night in Lidice (Remember who you are, Milada. Remember where you are from. Always, Babichka tells her with the prescience of old age). The drama of the events overshadows the serviceable characterizations, and because neither the razing of Lidice, explained in an endnote, nor the Lebensborn program will be familiar to the target audience, the history propels readers forward where the storytelling does not. Ages 10-14. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780618535798]

Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Starred Review. Gr 5–8—When resistance fighters assassinated the highest ranking Nazi officer in Czechoslovakia, Hitler sought revenge on the small village of Lidice. All 173 men and teenage boys were executed while the women were sent to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. Ten Lidice children, who exemplified Aryan traits, were selected for "Germanization." They were sent to Lebensborn training centers, forced to speak only German, given new names, and indoctrinated into the Nazi ideology. They were then adopted by German families. The rest of the children of Lidice were gassed. Based on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Wolf tells the heart-wrenching story of the fictional Milada, who is sent to a Lebensborn center and adopted by the commandant of Ravensbruck. Readers are quickly immersed into her character, gaining a painful understanding of her intense struggle to hold onto her true self and identity. Students who have read stories of Jewish persecution and survival during the Holocaust will be enlightened by this portrait of how Hitler's Final Solution affected these innocent children. This amazing, eye-opening story, masterfully written, is an essential part of World War II literature and belongs on the shelves of every library.—Rachel Kamin, Temple Israel Libraries & Media Center, West Bloomfield, MI

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 0618535799]

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BookList :

From BookList, September 15, 2007, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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*Starred Review* With all the books about children in the Holocaust, almost nothing has been written about the many young people selected for the Lebensborn program, which repatriated non-German children who had Aryan features and placed them with German families. Drawing on research with survivors of the small town of Lidice, Czechoslovakia, this first novel tells the story through the fictionalized narrative of blonde, blue-eyed Milada, 11 in 1942, when the Nazis tear her family apart. Though she tries to hold on to who she is, she's renamed Eva;taught German; adopted by a wealthy German family, headed by the commandant of a nearby concentration camp; and raised as a good German girl, with a loving mother and sister. There's some contrivance: the constant metaphor of the stars that help her find her way home is a bit much, as is the motif of her grandmother's pin, which Milada/Eva holds dear as a reminder of her other life. But the ending isn't saccharine in the least; the outcome is not only honest about lost family and culture but also about the heartbreaking parting with an adoptive parent and sibling. Rochman, Hazel.

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