Alice, a German Jewish girl, has been protected by her family from knowing the fate of the Jews in war-torn Germany. As her journey to Auschwitz begins, she starts to understand why she has been kept in hiding for so long and to realize the threat to the Jewish population in Germany.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
Gr. 8^-12. What was it like in the railway cattle cars bound for Auschwitz? This novel, first published in Germany in 1992, tells it from the viewpoint of an 11-year-old Jewish girl. Alice Dubsky has spent two years in hiding in a basement, protected from the knowledge of the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Now suddenly, crammed with nearly 50 people in the hot, stinking darkness of the train car, she faces the fact that they are prisoners being taken to a camp. That must be why her parents disappeared months before. She sees her grandfather die and witnesses the miracle of a baby born in the excrement, even as she learns for the first time from a young woman how babies are made. People cling to their possessions. Some share and help one another. Someone else dies. The train stops at sidings; people outside hear the cries and do nothing.
Do we need another book about the Holocaust? Yes, if it is as good as this one. This is not a book for children, but teens and adults will find it compelling reading, an extension of the autobiographical journeys of Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz (1959) and Isabella Leitner's The Big Lie (1992). Crampton's translation is restrained; the dialogue rings true; the details are authentic. There is no exploitation; in fact, there is almost no direct violence. The end is quiet and devastating. They get there. The Auschwitz commander sends some to the right; Alice goes to the left, together with the other children, the old, the disabled, and the newborn baby. They strip for the "showers." Hazel Rochman
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Book Description Puffin Books, 1998. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0140378006