Bad Times, Good Friends: A Personal Memoir

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9780152055288: Bad Times, Good Friends: A Personal Memoir

The author of Tikhon describes what it was like living in Nazi Berlin during World War II and her experiences as a member of a network of friends who secretly worked against Hitler and risked their lives to help others survive.

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From Publishers Weekly:

This outstanding work examines an underrepresented subject: the attitudes and actions of anti-Nazi Germans. Vogel, a German artist "approaching 30" in the last years of the war, describes how she and her friends in Berlin resisted Hitler in ways small and large--and always risky. Feigning a severe limp as part of an elaborate scheme to avoid being drafted, Rudolph shares books by "forbidden" authors like Kafka; during an air raid, Oskar forges ration coupons and government documents at a printing press in his building's bomb shelter; and the author herself sweet-talks the police in order to give the outlaw hiding in her apartment enough time to escape. Riveting as these episodes are, the most striking aspect of Vogel's work is her complete candor. Uninterested in convincing the reader of her heroism, she relates moments of both fear and fugitive glee, and openly examines her problematic loyalties. Her resolutely undramatic tones enable her to incorporate otherwise sensationalistic themes (wartime promiscuity, the comforts of drink) as inevitable parts of the landscape of a nightmarish time. Ages 14-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 9 Up-- Vogel was a small-town girl who moved to Berlin in the early '40s, following a scandalous, disastrous marriage. Although an active anti-Nazi, she was actually safer in Berlin than in her hometown, where everyone knew everyone else's business. Through the years of hardship, she was able to struggle along with the help of the good friends she writes about here, not all of whom survived. The major disappointment with this book is that readers never really get to know Ilse. Her friends come to life: Rudolph, who was so thin and could never eat enough to satisfy his hunger; Fred, who manages to deceive his way out of the army; and Hajo, a half-Jewish friend of a friend of a friend who becomes an unwelcome houseguest. Unfortunately, the author herself remains a nonentity. The book's structure is not chronological; instead each chapter focuses on a different person. The effect is rather like looking through an old photograph album with a distant, elderly relative, with each photo spurring on reminiscences from her youth. --Susan M. Harding, Mesquite Public Library, TX
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Vogel, Ilse Margret
Published by Harcourt Childrens Books (J) (1992)
ISBN 10: 0152055282 ISBN 13: 9780152055288
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